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Job Title:
Electronics Technician, IS-0856-09; $58,049 - $75,461 per year
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Amado, Arizona
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION: Open to all qualified candidates eligible to work in the US.


The purpose of this position is to provide maintenance work and technical support for all electrical, electronics, and electro-mechanical systems related to the operation of the four 12-meter aperture Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes in the VERITAS array, and the co-located prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (pSCT). The position will also contribute technical support to the continued development and evaluation of the pSCT, which is a next generation gamma ray instrument.


1. Performs a variety of technician-support services, such as troubleshooting, electronics testing, calibration, and optical alignment and characterization in support of VERITAS and pSCT telescope operations. Assists with the development of new—or modifications to existing--electronic and electro-mechanical systems, equipment, and practices that will optimize the performance of instrumentation that facilitates the astronomical research programs of VERITAS and the pSCT.

2. Guided by project scientists, designs, fabricates, installs, commissions, and maintains a variety of electronic, electrical, and electro-mechanical systems and components for use at VERITAS and the pSCT. These include: multi-layer circuit boards and associated chassis; high and low voltage, and uninterruptible power-supplies; telescope mount control systems including servo-controllers, cabling, motors and safety interlocks; chillers and other environmental control systems; and test and calibration instruments and systems. Assists with the evaluation of commercially available systems and components and the determination if they will satisfy technical requirements or if a custom-built system is necessary.

3. Participates in the development and/or modification of the electronic systems of instrumentation for gamma ray astronomy, from conception to operation and maintenance; and assists with the development of schematics, documentation, and test procedures when they are either unavailable or inadequate

4. Participates with VERITAS IT staff in developing new software and modifying application programs in data-taking systems to facilitate telescope operations, maintenance, and calibration. Advises software developers such as students from collaborating institutions as required.

5. Assists with management of the gamma-ray electronics and mechanical shop, and helps ensure that all its equipment is operational and that supplies are stocked or ordered as needed.

6. Assists new/visiting users in performing emergency telescope procedures. Ensures that these procedures are performed in accordance with safety protocols and the necessary equipment / documentation is readily available.

7. Operates telescopes for engineering tests and for scientific data taking as requested.

8. Performs other related duties, including providing occasional support to FLWO telescopes, as required.


Individual Occupation requirements: 

  • Knowledge of the techniques and theories characteristic of electronics, such as a knowledge of basic electricity and electronic theory, algebra, and elementary physics;
  • Knowledge of electronic equipment design, development, evaluation, testing, installation, and maintenance; and
  • Knowledge of the capabilities, limitations, operations, design, characteristics, and functional use of a variety of types and models of electronic equipment and systems related to, but less than, a full professional knowledge of electronic engineering.

Electronics technicians may have gained experience assisting in work situations including:

Maintenance - Developing maintenance standards and procedures for use by others. Analyzing repair practices and developing procedural instructions for use by others on methods and steps to repair equipment.

Installation - Planning and directing the installation of complex systems and associated facilities, particularly where there are site selection and construction problems, dealings with contractors and public utilities, and the possible need to modify equipment for novel site characteristics.

Fabrication - Designing and analyzing circuits, determining design feasibility, evaluating equipment performance under varying environmental conditions, and collecting performance data. Designing or modifying designs to achieve performance and cost objectives. Evaluating the adequacy of equipment for such purposes as repair, calibration, and testing.

Testing and Evaluation/Research and Development - Developing or evaluating new or modified electronic systems. Completing testing, evaluating data, and determining acceptability of equipment modifications, validity, test procedures and data, or legality of operation. Technicians support professional engineers in performing experiments, research, and developmental activities requiring an in-depth knowledge of technical engineering methods, applications, practices, and principles to work on concepts, prototypes, and experimental projects that are without precedent and support state-of-the-art research.

Sustainment - Developing, performing, evaluating, or modifying calibration and test equipment, systems, and procedures. Reporting, analyzing, and archiving test data. Performing complex calculations and manipulations of test data to improve performance of systems, instrumentation, measurement standards, techniques, and procedures.

Troubleshooting - Analyzing and diagnosing faults in the operational configuration of electronic systems and equipment. Interpreting circuit wiring, logic cable diagrams, drawings, specifications, and schematics of complete systems and equipment to understand the function and interconnections of the various assemblies and troubleshoot the system.

Qualification requirements include one year specialized experience at the next lower grade level. Specialized experience at this level typically include: Assisting scientists and/or engineers in installing, testing, and maintaining a variety of electronic, electrical, and electro-mechanical systems and components such as multi-layer circuit boards and associated chassis; high and low voltage, and uninterruptible power-supplies; including servo-controllers, cabling, motors and safety interlocks; chillers and other environmental control systems; and test and calibration instruments and systems. Constructing simple multi-conductor and coaxial cable assemblies; utilizing a variety of tools and equipment such as oscilloscopes, multimeters, soldering equipment, hand tools, drills, power tools, instrument handling/lifting equipment, vacuum pumps, and gauges; and composing basic documentation.

For qualifications, please visit opm website at

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and its impact on your application, click on Smithsonian Institution’s Frequently Asked Questions.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications online for this position. To view the complete vacancy posting, requirements and the procedures to apply, please visit USAJOBS

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.



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