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Systems Engineer-Flight Tests (Experienced)

Sandia National Laboratories

Tonopah, Nevada
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Full Time
  • Communications
  • Computer Programming/Systems
  • Electromagnetics
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Research
Sandia National Laboratories
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Job Details

The TTR mission operations team is seeking an Engineering and Operations Systems Engineer to plan, execute, supervise, and provide overall operations leadership to a diverse group of communications, electromechanical technologists, radar/optics/telemetry technologists, safety, and technical integration and development professionals. The role requires a detailed understanding of project planning and management, flight safety, flight test management and reporting, and operations center functions. A successful candidate must have a demonstrated ability to organize, plan, lead, and integrate multiple disciplines into a cohesive test team to ensure critical flight tests are executed to successfully meet customer requirements. The position requires working with legacy testing systems as well as experimental programs and processes, to develop procedures to ensure proper test execution and documentation is completed before and after test events. In addition, this position requires strong management and computer skills to include all Microsoft applications including OneNote.

As a member of the Mission Operations project team, the successful candidate will work with and lead/supervise a dynamic group of field test support personnel to ensure the successful completion of the Laboratories’ flight test mission. Members of this team are responsible to the Range Manager for activities that maintain the Range’s suite of instrumentation in a test ready status. All MA team members are trained and qualified to perform an operational role during test activities. Each team member is responsible for following established range processes and procedures to ensure that all compliance requirements regarding the operation, facilities and infrastructure are met with quality. Incorporation of all corporate safety and work planning processes are inherent in this activity.

Plans, conceives, and conducts flight testing for Sandia's customers and sponsors; directs systematic data collection efforts toward the evaluation of the nation’s nuclear stockpile readiness program. Provides and encourages new understandings and capabilities by using the scientific method's hypothesis, test, and evaluation techniques; critical review; or similar engineering research and development methods to collect test data information.

Duties include, but not limited to:

  • Coordinating with new and existing customers to understand and implement operational requirements to tailor flight test event organization to support mission requirements;
  • Maintain a fundamental understanding of the range data collection sensors and how they integrate to collect Time Space Position Information and event data while maintaining a range safety footprint;
  • Be able to coordinate range infrastructure to include Telemetry, Communications Systems and fiber/legacy Networks, radars, optical systems, neutron detectors, and spectrum analyzers for supporting remote field testing as required;
  • Maintaining overall situational awareness of mission support and operations readiness with a focus on mission accomplishment;
  • Developing and implementing equipment and process innovative upgrades to keep the mission capabilities aligned with current customer and range requirements;
  • Leading, mentoring, and supervising a diverse group of personnel comprising the mission assurance and mission support teams; responsible for mission success to the Operations Lead and the Range Manager.

Basic Position/Inter-Personal Requirements

  • Willingness to reside in either Tonopah or Las Vegas, NV.
  • Ability and willingness to reside on-site in a remote location up to 4 days and 3 nights per week, with the ability to work modified schedules as mission requirements dictate.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as a part of a team and independently in a dynamic work environment.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including effective leadership, delegation, teamwork, negotiation, conflict resolution, and coaching/mentoring skills.
  • Ability and willingness to perform under a structured Work Planning & Controls process.
  • Knowledge of project management principles.
  • Ability to work in a high-stress environment and meet tight deadlines.
  • A professional attitude and critical problem solving skills.
  • Demonstrated experience working with competing priorities.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the development and delivery of presentations, proposals, and reports.

Department Description:

Department 02915 operates the Tonopah Test Range for the National Nuclear Security Administration under Sandia’s Prime contract. The Department consists of 20 Sandia personnel and 35 contractors responsible for the technical operations associated with the nuclear weapons flight test mission and the maintenance of a 280 square mile integrated test range facility with an instrumentation suite of precision tracking radars, telemetry ground stations, optical tracking mounts, meteorological data systems and numerous pieces of support, test and communications equipment.

Work locations exist at both the Tonopah Test Range and Nevada Site Office in Las Vegas, with the normal work week running Tuesday through Thursday, 13-14 hours a day. Deviations to the normal schedule occur to facilitate mission requirements and may require personnel to remain away from home 4 days and 3 nights or possibly longer at this remote location. Work schedules may change/shift as required to meet organizational needs.

About Sandia:

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work withamazingimpact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide
  • Extraordinary co-workers
  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world
  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities
  • Flexible schedules, generous vacations,strongmedical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:

*These benefits vary by job classification.



  1. Bachelor’s degree in an applicable STEM discipline;
  2. Ten or more years of aviation operations, range operations, and flight/industrial/occupational safety experience;
  3. Thorough knowledge of, and demonstrated expertise with, designing, planning, and executing research, design, and flight test projects;
  4. Thorough knowledge of, and applied experience with, scientific and engineering methods, including the discipline's standards for ethical conduct of research and testing;
  5. Detailed knowledge of operations center integration, functional organization, and supervision of real-time tactical and heavy aircraft flight operations and flight testing;
  6. Ability to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance.


Highly Desired

  1. Master’s degree in relevant STEM discipline;
  2. Highly experienced in missile assembly preparations, launch operations, and safety controls and operations at a remote site environment;
  3. Thorough understanding of the range scheduling process and the timelines required to secure airspace for range testing;
  4. Basic understanding of AFI 13-212 and relevant Nellis supplement;
  5. Ability to maintain situational awareness during mission execution to ensure the successful and safe collection of test data;
  6. Demonstrated ability to team across multiple technology disciplines.

Other Desired

  1. Experienced in UAV/RPA and command and control operations environments;
  2. Ability to translate customer requirements into tasks for range mission support;
  3. Understanding of the range infrastructure (ie radars, telescopes, cinetheodolites, telemetry and communication) and how they tie together to meet testing requirements;
  4. Project Management Professional certified.

Security Clearance:

Position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) granted Q-level security clearance.

Sandia is required by DOE directive to conduct a pre-employment background review that includes personal reference checks, law enforcement record and credit checks, and employment and education verifications. Applicants for employment must be able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by the DOE, rendering the inability to perform the duties assigned and resulting in termination of employment.

EEO Statement:

Equal opportunity employer/Disability/Vet/GLBT

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