The universe awaits

Lead Systems Engineer

Systems Engineering
  • 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, ten times greater than the famed Hubble Space Telescope and four times the James Webb Space Telescope.

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


Project Systems Engineer


The Lead Systems Engineer will report to the Project Systems Engineer (PSE) and assist the PSE in requirements development and flow down, interface control, and system verification.

This position will work closely with the rest of the GMT Systems Engineering team, as well as other GMT groups, partners and contractors to implement and enforce an effective system engineering program that is appropriate for the complex GMT system.

In addition, The Lead Systems Engineer is expected to continually monitor, refine and improve the systems engineering processes, tools, and standards in her/his areas. This position will also be responsible for the planning, scheduling, and budgeting of requirement engineering, interface control, and verification activities, as well as coordinating activities with the rest of the systems engineering team and other GMT groups.

It is expected that the Lead Systems Engineer will develop a comprehensive understanding of the technical aspects of the project, including the telescope, enclosure, instrumentation, adaptive optics, software and controls, and how the systems will perform under various operating modes and environmental conditions. The Lead Systems Engineer will be actively involved in system level decisions and design trade-offs as designs progress, and in subsystem and system level design reviews.


  • Establish and enforce an effective systems engineering program in the areas of requirements development and flow down, interface control, and system verification
  • Contribute to the change control process
  • Continually monitor and improve the effectiveness of the systems engineering efforts in the areas they oversee
  • Plan, schedule and prioritize the systems engineering activities where applicable
  • Supervise systems engineers
  • Coordinate and facilitate technical discussions where functionality crosses group areas of responsibilities, and coordinate trade studies where needed.
  • Contribute to the assessment of technical risks on a regular basis for the PSE
  • Participate in sub-system technical design reviews. Specifically, at the sub-system reviews, (a) evaluate the compliance of design and construction with the relevant requirements, (b) verify that interfaces and dependencies are appropriate and documented between sub-system and (c) asses the consistency of sub-system requirements with the system level requirements


  • An engineering or science degree in a technical field such as controls, optics, or structures or equivalent experience
  • 10 years of post-degree experience of systems engineering for complex optical systems
  • A strong working knowledge of systems engineering techniques as applied to large projects
  • Demonstrated leadership and management experience
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and proven ability to work cooperatively in a team environment
  • Good computer skills
  • Willingness and ability to travel to foreign and domestic vendor, partner, and observatory locations as the need arises


  • Experience with ground-based astronomical observatories


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


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.

The GMTO Corporation is an equal employment opportunity employer.

Similar Positions

JavaScript and Web Developer
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time
Project Coordinator
  • Administrative
  • Full-Time
Motion Control Software Engineer
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time
Senior Systems Engineer, SEF
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time
Senior Electrical Engineer
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time

This Website Uses Cookies

We use cookies that are essential for our site to function. We do not collect personal identifiable information. By using our site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.