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The universe awaits

Chief Engineer

Chief Engineer
  • Full-Time
  • Engineering
Pasadena, CA
Temporary remote work due to COVID-19
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.


Optics and Optical Metrology (OOM)


Optics and Optical Metrology (OOM) Manager


The GMT project office (located in Pasadena, CA) is seeking highly qualified Chief Engineer in the Optics and Optical Metrology (OOM) group, which is responsible for technical coordination of OOM subsystems, including: Primary Mirrors, Secondary Mirrors (ASM and FSM), Tertiary Mirror, Coating System, Corrector and Atmospheric Dispersion Compensator, and developing interfaces with other telescope subsystems.

Working under minimal supervision and reporting to the OOM Element Manager, this position will play a key role in the development, manufacture and test of all the OOM subsystems by performing, coordinating and supervising the technical tasks to be executed by the OOM and contracted engineering services.

The successful candidate will be required to be fully cognizant of all aspects of the design, manufacturing and testing of telescope optics and optical support systems and apply this knowledge to the coordination of the design, fabrication and test of the OOM subsystems.

The OOM Chief Engineer will provide overall engineering coordination across the OOM subsystems, and will write programmatic and technical reports and make presentations in their area of responsibility at project meetings, reviews, and conferences.

This position will require travel to various GMTO partner locations, vendor locations, and eventually the GMT site in Chile.


  • Provide technical leadership, engineering, programmatic planning and drive technical execution of design, fabrication, assembly, and test, of OOM subsystems
  • Coordinate requirements and negotiate shared performance budgets and interfaces with neighboring subsystems
  • Provide Cost Account Management/Contract Technical Management of OOM Subcontracts
  • Support CAMs in preparing and reviewing requirements documents, ICDs and other technical documents to support OOM contracts, write technical reports and prepare and deliver technical presentations
  • Develop and manage design requirements, Interface Control Documents, detailed drawings, and specifications for OOM subsystems
  • Coordinate the OOM schedules and acquisition plans for subsystems
  • Participate in the Element budget, manpower and other project planning tasks


  • BS degree in Mechanical Engineering or equivalent technical discipline
  • A minimum of 15 years of experience with the design, fabrication and test of large opto-mechanical systems
  • Experience in project engineering and project management
  • Excellent organization, leadership, interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to write clear and concise technical documents and performance budget
  • A cooperative team-player and mentor who strives to make the team successful
  • Ability to multi-task on a substantial number of parallel activities
  • Experience with opto-mechanical design and understanding of kinematic principles
  • Knowledge of structural mechanics and engineering materials
  • Understanding of manufacturing and assembly techniques for optical subsystems
  • Analytical approach to problem solving
  • Experience using Geometrical Dimensioning & Tolerancing per ASME 5
  • Knowledge of large-optics fabrication and testing methods
  • Developing and managing to schedules, budgets, and earned-value reporting
  • Experienced manager of contracts, greater than $5M
  • Flexibility to work outside of core business hours and travel to GMTO member locations, vendor premises and the GMT site in Chile when necessary


  • MS degree in Mechanical Engineering or equivalent technical discipline
  • 25 years of experience with the design and construction of large opto-mechanical systems
  • Hands-on expertise with optical/IR instruments and/or telescope optical systems
  • Substantial experience working with finite element models for optical elements and opto-mechanical assemblies, and using static, dynamic, and thermal analyses to validate designs
  • Experience with using optical sensitivities to develop mechanical tolerancing techniques
  • Thorough understanding of optical and mechanical manufacturing and assembly techniques
  • Experience in Systems Engineering processes for requirements development/flow down, optical and mechanical budgets, and Doors software
  • Experienced in management of technically complex contracts, greater than $10M
  • Experienced in product and quality assurance requirements for optical systems
  • Detailed knowledge and awareness of the current state of the art for production of large optical elements and systems for astronomy
  • Strong analytical ability with demonstrated written and oral communication skills in English
  • Demonstrated leadership and management skills in large projects and/or international project collaborations


  • 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.


$200,000- $235,000

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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