Opto Mechanical Engineer

  Date of publication
  Deadline for applications
  Minimum qualifications:
Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering related field, or a combination of education and experience in mechanical related fields that ensures suitability for this position.
  Salary range
Please refer to position link


The Gemini Observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA's role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA.

This time, the Gemini Observatory is seeking an Opto Mechanical Engineer. The successful applicant will be a member of the Engineering Operations team based at Gemini South. This multi-disciplinary team consists of around 20 engineers & technicians that operate, maintain and implement upgrades to the telescope, instruments and all auxiliary systems, furthermore the engineering staff is involved in a variety of development projects.

Also, the successful candidate will be providing opto-mechanical engineering analysis, design and support in a multi-cultural environment for a wide variety of areas. Telescope maintenance, reliability engineering, continuous performance improvement and obsolescence mitigation are import aspects in this position. Furthermore, this position is expected to represent operational needs and past experience during the development of new instruments by participating in design reviews. Exciting opportunities through upgrades and improvements exist to keep our telescope up to date with modern technologies and in order to avoid and mitigate obsolescence.

The position is located at the Gemini South (GS) Observatory in La Serena, Chile. The working time will be divided between the telescope site and the sea level base facilities, some international travel may be required.

Tasks and activities
  • Provides mechanical (precision) engineering support to the operations and maintenance work on the telescope and instrumentation.
  • Provides mechanical engineering analysis, design, fabrication, integration and test support for ongoing and future development programs related to the telescopes and instrumentation. Represents operational stakeholder interests in design reviews.
  • Takes (cross-functional) responsibility for one or more systems and/or instruments.
  • Prepares technical reports, drawings, purchase requisitions, fabrication contracts and other forms of documentation related to the work.
Skills and experience


  • Precision (opto)-mechanical systems. Proficiency in mechanical engineering sciences like mechanics, precision engineering, mechatronics, dynamics, optics, opto-mechanics and machine shop processes.
  • Observatory experience
  • Some cross-functional experience (systems engineering)
  • Experience with optical coating & cleaning procedures
  • (Cryogenic) instrumentation
  • Numerical analysis software (Matlab/Mathematica or other)
  • Interaction with internal/external (scientific) stakeholders
  • Being part of multi-disciplinary work teams


  • Computer aided drafting/design (AutoDesk Inventor a plus).
  • Proficiency in Word, Excel, Microsoft Project, Adobe, Internet, etc.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Knowledge of the Spanish language is an advantage.
  • Requires a high degree of professionalism and discretion.
  • Must be able to work in a team environment and perform well under pressure of deadlines.
  • Ability to grapple with competing mechanical demands and ensure important issues get handled along with urgent or emergency issues.
  • Requires knowledge of and a proactive attitude toward safety.