The universe awaits

Systems Engineer – Primary Mirror Subsystem (M1)

M1S Systems Engineer
  • Full-Time
  • Engineering
Tucson, AZ or Remote
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.


Primary Mirror Subsystem


Primary Mirror Subsystem Manager


The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) project is seeking a Systems Engineer (SE) to join the Primary Mirror Subsystem (M1S) team who are responsible for the active optics, static support, and thermal control systems of the primary mirror. The active optics control system consists of pneumatic actuators that support the weight and controls figure error of the mirror segments and linear actuators that position the mirror segments. Additionally, thermal figure error is controlled by actively regulating each mirror segment temperature using air handler units with CO2 refrigerant.  The M1S team is currently testing the prototype active optics control system and preparing for bench testing of the prototype air handler unit. The M1S team is seeking a Systems Engineer to work on the Assembly, Integration, and Test (AIT) Plan, link requirements to the associated test activities, track non-compliances of requirements, prepare the M1S team for design reviews, maintain subsystem requirements in IBM DOORS, maintain Interface Control Documents (ICD), manage technical budgets, work with quality assurance to develop processes, and manage M1S risks.

The candidate will be responsible for implementing GMT SE processes and best practices.  The candidate will work closely with the M1S and Systems Engineering teams to make sure that key performance requirements are properly flowed down to M1S.  In addition, the SE will work closely with other elements to define interfaces, operational behaviors, and Assembly, Integration, Verification and Commissioning (AIVC) plans and procedures.  The candidate will coordinate all M1S reviews and will be the liaison between the M1S team and its review committee.  This includes writing Terms of Reference (ToR) before the reviews, and formal close out of actions (RFA) afterward.  The candidate will work with the M1S team to identify new risks and regularly status the current set of risks.

The candidate must be experienced in working with multidisciplinary teams that have successfully delivered complex, high-precision opto-mechanical systems. The candidate will be responsible for coordinating the M1S team with weekly technical discussions. The candidate will work on high level documentation such as the M1S Requirements document, the M1S Architecture document, and all lower-level requirement documents that establish the baseline design of the subsystem.  The candidate must have good communication skills and be able to represent the M1S team in a professional manner both internally and externally to GMTO.  The candidate is expected to be a motivated self-starter who can work with and lead engineers to resolve technical problems and establish approaches for solutions.


  • Develop documentation such as: requirement specifications, interface control documents, AIT Plan, AIVC Plan, Verification Plan, procedures (assembly and test), terms of reference for reviews, change request, and technical notes.
  • Manage requirements in IMB DOORS. This includes flowing down requirements, linking of requirements between child and parent, setting verification methods, describing the rationale for the requirements, and maintaining the overall structure of the document.
  • Manage interfaces between M1S and other telescope elements. This includes coordination with the M1S design team to set design envelopes, locations of the interfaces which includes maintenance of feature coordinates and developing/maintaining interface control identifiers (ICIs) within the ICDs.  Coordination with the other elements to report proposed changes within the M1S design that may affect the other side of the interface. Check the M1S design meets those interfaces and help resolve any non-conformances.
  • Manage M1S verification and validation. Working closely with SE to implement the V&V process for M1S, support generation of test reports, identify areas of non-conformance, and track and help resolve non-conformances.
  • Coordinate Design Reviews. This includes writing Terms of Reference documents with associated charge questions. Coordination of the M1S team to prepare presentations and document deliverables.  Setting up chart flips and dry runs to prepare the team for their presentations. Performing final review of documents before material is sent to the review committee. Setting up a tool to capture reviewer comments and M1S team responses before the start of the review (RIXs).  Being the liaison between the M1S team and the review committee to schedule the review, solicit signed NDAs, providing responses in a timely manner, following up the review with responses to RFAs, and soliciting a report from the review committee afterwards.
  • Manage technical budgets. Budgets are flowed to the M1S from the Observatory Architecture Document and its applicable documents.  They include mass, utilities (power, communication, air, refrigerant), and range of motion (operational and seismic).  These budgets are periodically reported at design reviews along with the margin to their respective allocations.
  • Managing risks. This includes writing risks statements, assessing impacts if risks are realized, and developing mitigation strategies to burn down the risk from the design phase to AIVC.  Risks are updated when a new risk has been identified, a risk has been realized, or when a mitigation step has been completed.


  • BS in Systems Engineering or equivalent technical discipline is required.
  • 5-10 years of related experience required
  • Experience writing technical documents
  • Experience in coordinating and leading design reviews
  • Experience with IBM DOORS
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Possess good written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience working in cross-functional teams, is collaborative, and a team player
  • Listens effectively and possess initiative to accomplish assigned tasks in a timely fashion
  • Self-starter, ability to work with minimum supervision and deal with ambiguity


  • MS degree in Systems Engineering or equivalent technical discipline with experience in design and construction of precision mechanical and electro-optic systems
  • Experience in ground base telescope mirror cell design, production, integration and test a plus
  • Knowledge of precision pneumatic actuator systems
  • Knowledge of thermal environmental control systems
  • Demonstrated engineering leadership and management skills in large projects and/or international project collaborations
  • Demonstrated experience in the design and delivery of complex mechanical systems for scientific or defense applications
  • Experience in product and quality assurance requirements for optical systems


  • Team and development activities located in Tucson, remote work is acceptable
  • Periodic travel to Tucson required
  • Normal office environment


  • 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

Motion Control Software Engineer
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time
Project Controls Specialist
  • Project Management
  • Full-Time
JavaScript and Web Developer
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time
Engineering Risk Management Lead
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time
Quality Assurance Manager
  • 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.