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The universe awaits

Systems Engineer

Systems Engineer
  • Full-Time
  • Engineering
Pasadena, CA
Position code


The Giant Magellan Telescope is the most powerful ground-based telescope ever engineered. It was designed to push the boundaries of human knowledge and discover the unknown. With unmatched image quality, seven of the world’s largest mirrors will launch our view into the universe to uncover the cosmic mysteries of dark matter, investigate the origins of chemical elements, and search for signs of life on distant exoplanets for the first time.

The 30-meter class telescope is under construction at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the best locations on Earth to view the heavens. From this unrivaled vantage into the southern sky, the Giant Magellan Telescope will produce the sharpest and most detailed images ever taken of our universe.

When complete in the late 2020s, the Giant Magellan Telescope will be the largest public-private funded science project in history. The endeavor was founded by an international consortium of leading universities and research institutions representing five countries, and is managed by the GMTO Corporation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pasadena, California. Our culture is impactful, inclusive, and fearlessly innovative. We solve the most difficult engineering challenges and scientific questions with talented individuals who share a passion for revolutionizing humanity’s knowledge of the universe.

We invite you to join our team and leave your mark on astronomy’s future and beyond.

The Universe Awaits.


Systems Engineering


Lead Systems Engineer


Reporting to the Lead Systems Engineer, the successful candidate will contribute to the Systems Engineering (SE) organization by working with the team to write and maintain system level requirements, coordinating interfaces between subsystems, process change requests, and manage technical budgets. System Level requirements are updated periodically by Systems Engineering to ensure that the higher-level science requirements are achievable and that the telescope meets its functional and performance requirements. Subsystem requirements are maintained by the various subsystems and instrument payloads.  The candidate will facilitate negotiations between the subsystem and system level requirements. Requirements that need the most amount of negotiation include Utility allocations for things such as Power, Communication Lines, Air, Refrigerants, and Coolants. In addition, the candidate will work with the Subsystem and Instrument Payload teams to define interfaces and document them in Interface Control Documents (ICD), especially as they pertain to Utilities. Finally, the candidate will help to process Change Requests and assess their associated cost, schedule, and technical impacts to the project.

The candidate will work on Utility budgets and requirements and how budget allocations are distributed throughout the telescope. This includes optimizing those budgets and performing trade studies to support decisions on setting the allocations for the respective subsystems and instrument payloads.  The GMT project is currently at a Preliminary Design level and optimizing these budgets is in the interest of the entire telescope as it moves into the final design phase.  The candidate will audit subsystem and payload utility budgets and then make recommendations on where allocations might be adjusted. The candidate will also make recommendations on the design of the utilities, especially as they relate to areas where the design can be optimized for space, weight, and their routing.

In addition, the candidate will work on the development of Verification and Validations Plans.  This includes working with the Lead Systems Engineer in developing processes for verifying requirements from the subsystems to the system level, and then validating that the telescope functions and performs as is intended. This effort also includes working with the Assembly, Integration, Verification and Commissioning (AIVC) manager to develop a plan for how system level requirements are verified for Utilities. The candidate will develop strategies for how verification artifacts are generated and then linked with their respective requirements, develop a process for their final acceptance, how to handle waivers, and work with subsystem contractors to review their deliverables to ensure that they have met their requirements before final acceptance. The candidate should be proficient in IBM Engineering Requirements Management DOORS Next or equivalent software for managing requirements and interfaces. The candidate will validate that Utility budgets have been properly flowed down to the subsystems and instrument payloads.


  • Process Change Requests
  • Develop System Level requirements
  • Write technical documents in support of trade studies and analyses
  • Advance ICDs in the area of Utilities
  • Manage Utility budgets (Power, Air, Communication Lines, Coolants, and Refrigerants)
  • Coordinate management of utilities work between the Enclosure, Telescope, and AIVC teams
  • Update and release the one-line diagram for Utilities on an as need basis
  • Participate in the design and review of cable wraps, trays, and conduits for all subsystems
  • Assist in the development of Verification and Validation plans and processes


  • BS degree in Electrical, Mechanical, Systems Engineering, or equivalent technical discipline
  • A minimum of 8 years of experience working with ground-based telescopes, spacecraft, or equivalent industries that have complex utility systems
  • Demonstrated leadership, organizational, and management skills
  • Demonstrated critical thinking
  • Detail-oriented
  • Ability to prepare documents, reports, and oral presentations
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively within a group setting
  • Knowledge of standards and current practices in industrial power, electronics, and utilities
  • Experience working on verification of requirements and interfaces


  • M.S. degree in Electrical, Mechanical, Systems Engineering, or equivalent technical discipline
  • A minimum of 10 years of experience working with ground-based telescopes, spacecraft, or equivalent industries that have complex utility systems
  • Experience with ground-based telescope utility systems
  • Experience using the SolidWorks CAD, or equivalent, for utilities routing
  • and travel to GMTO member locations, vendor premises and the GMT site in Chile when necessary to accomplish goals.


Open plan engineering office. Travel as needed by the project.


No direct reports


  • Medical insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • 401(k)


GMTO has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective March 14, 2022, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with GMTO-approved exemptions for religious or medical reasons only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” for Covid-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine. GMTO management may revise the definition of Fully Vaccinated in this Policy based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force or other relevant Government or Health agencies. Any changes will be communicated to all employees before its effective date.

As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation.


$115,000- $155,000

The salary for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, internal equity, experience, education, and training.


To apply send your resume and a cover letter to

If your skills and experience are a match for the position or if we need additional information, we will contact you. If we do not see a suitable match between your qualifications and the position, we will keep your information on file in the event future positions become available that are more suitable to your qualifications.

We are an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.


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