Sign In
 [New User? Sign Up]
Mobile Version

Electronics Engineer

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Job Type:
  • Electronics Engineer
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Save Ad
  • Email Friend
  • Print

Job Details

Job Title: Electronics Engineer

Job Keywords:  electronics, analog, digital, instrumentation, FPGA, components, motion control, systems


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is part of the Smithsonian Institution, and a partner with Harvard University in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. We explore fundamental questions ranging from the formation and evolution of planets, stars, black holes, galaxies, and large scale structures in the Universe. Smithsonian scientists and engineers have developed some of the world’s most sophisticated telescopes and astronomical instruments, which are used to probe the universe at wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum from radio to gamma rays.

SAO invites applications for a staff position to provide expert electronics engineering support to the development of advanced instrumentation for ground based and space borne astrophysical and astronomical data collection on various projects as assigned.

Salary Range:  $94,520 - $125,235, depending upon experience

  • At least 10 years experience in Electronics Engineering position


  • Conceives, designs, and oversees development of complex state-of-the-art electrical/electronic systems, subsystems, modules, and components.

  • Independently conceives, plans, and conducts high-level technical investigations of  complex electrical systems for scientific instrumentation.

  • Works with scientific investigators to establish the electrical/electronic requirements of new projects. Works directly with scientists to translate requirements into engineering solutions to be applied to the development of advanced astronomical/astrophysical instruments, and will ensure the translation of these concepts into functional hardware.

  • Evaluates manufacturers’ performance data for electronic components, subsystems, and systems. Incorporates analysis results into design decisions.

  • Analyzes scientific instrument requirements, and creates system diagrams and engineering specifications for development of instrument components internally, or through external design resources.


Required Skills:


  • Mastery of the principles and practices of electrical and electronics engineering

  • Familiarity with the specification and design of FPGA - based digital and analog signal processing systems

  • Experience using  one, or more, standard  schematic CAD systems and familiarity with board layout CAD/CAM tools

  • Experience with bringing electrical and electronic designs to working hardware stage (component specification, wiring specifications, fabrication and test techniques).

  • Knowledge of analog and digital design techniques, including design simulation tools (i.e. SPICE simulators)

  • Ability to troubleshoot and analyze complex technical problems.

  • Experience using common electrical test equipment for troubleshooting hardware (oscilloscopes, meters, logic analyzers, etc.)

  • Skill in project leadership and ability to provide technical direction in design, fabrication, assembly, and test activities 

  • Working knowledge of related engineering fields such as thermal, mechanical, optical and/or structural in order to resolve design and instrument packaging problems

  • Ability to generate realistic project budgets and schedules and support multiple projects simultaneously

  • Significant professional experience in overall systems design, including electrical systems design and analysis, system resource and error budgeting, documentation, proposal preparation, sophisticated computer modeling and fabrication and test activities

  • Facility with MSOffice business software (MSWord, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.)

  • At least 10 years experience


Preferred Skills:

  • Proficiency in Mentor Graphics Digital Designer or OrCAD and PADS software

  • Experience with software development for hardware control

  • Proficiency in the area of FPGA development

  • Experience with EtherCAT system control systems and hardware

  • Prior experience in space based or ground based scientific instrumentation

  • Experience with the design of electronics for space application (low power, radiation hard, redundant design, etc.)

  • MSEE or higher educational level


Benefits Include:

  • Comprehensive health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance 

  • Generous retirement contributions

  • Holiday, vacation and sick leave

  • Commuter benefits


For a complete list of benefits see:

For more information about SAO visit:

To apply for this position go to:

To apply directly through USAJOBS :         The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.