Science and Technology

Job Details

Number: 1751

Title: Structural/Controls Systems Engineer

Element: Integrated Modeling team, Systems Engineering

Type: Full time, professional

Location: GMT Project Office, Pasadena CA

This exciting job opportunity is with the GMTO (Giant Magellan Telescope Organization) located in Pasadena, California. The GMT is being developed by a group of leading university and research centers from across the globe. The GMTO Corporation has been formed to design, construct and operate the GMT Observatory which will be located in the Andean mountains at Las Campanas Peak in Chile. The GMT is the next generation astronomical observatory with the capability to have 10 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. The project is entering the formal construction phase with scientific operations expected to begin in 2023.


The successful candidate will be an employee of the GMTO Corporation and must be able to meet pre-employment requirements including any background and reference checks and the successful candidate must be a US citizen or eligible to work in the United States and at least 18 years of age. GMTO provides competitive salaries and a generous benefits package.

Job Summary:
The Structural/Controls Systems Engineer will be part of the Integrated Modeling team. This group is chartered with building models to predict the performance of the entire telescope system in both an open loop sense and when all the local and global control loops (ie M1, M2, thermal, active optics, and adaptive optics) are operational. This model, when complete, will enable rapid evaluation of sensor specifications, structural modifications, and control algorithms to develop a system which efficiently meets its image quality requirements.

We are looking for an analyst who can design modern MIMO control systems and help us combine them with flexible elements derived from finite element analysis into an integrated telescope simulation which is capable of predicting mirror deformations for temporal or frequency domain analysis. This includes writing software to allow finite element models to be combined with actuator, sensor, and noise models, and to perform other analytical tasks to help realize this integrated modelling goal.

The integrated model will be used (among other things) to predict imaging performance in the presence of wind jitter and to predict survivability of subsystems during earthquakes. Both passive and active damping of the structure are key to working in both of these environments. Experience with jitter modelling, earthquake engineering, and passive and active damping are highly desired.

This position will also include writing technical specifications, supporting design reviews, and creating requirements and procedures.

Additional responsibilities will include interfacing with project management, systems engineering, sub-system leaders, and other technical staff as required, writing reports summarizing work accomplished, interpreting results and presenting those results to project management in formal and informal presentations, and developing/purchasing software necessary for the efficient integration of the modeling network.

Job Duties:
• Create and analyze detailed control system models for all aspects of the telescope structure and optics
• Integrate models into the optics and controls simulation
• Test simulation results to assure results are accurate
• Analyze structures for static, jitter, seismic, and/or thermal performance
• Model the structural performance of optical assemblies including supports for optical elements in the context of building integrated system level models
• Monitor, review and confirm the designs and analyses of the telescope systems being performed by contractors by adding as designed/as built models to simulations to ensure that the final designs meet performance requirements.
• Document results in technical reports, notes and presentations at reviews and meetings

Essential Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
• A BS degree in Controls Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, or an equivalent technical discipline
• 5 years of relevant experience in controls system modeling and analysis
• Strong analytical skills and MATLAB, Python, etc., coding skills
• Controls analysis experience is required
• Strong analytical ability with demonstrated written and oral communication skills in English
• Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively in a team environment

Desired Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
• Advanced degree in Controls Engineering, Physics, or an equivalent technical discipline (MS and/or PhD)
• Ground-based telescope and optomechanical experience
• Knowledge of NX NASTRAN and FEMAP
• Line-of-sight and wavefront error analysis of flexible systems experience
• Earthquake structural analysis experience
• Thermal analysis experience
• Hands-on lab experience

Applicants should send a Letter of Interest and a Resume to
Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please refer to the Job Number in the letter and in the email subject line.

GMTO is an equal opportunity employer.