The universe awaits

Principal Mechanical Engineer

Primary Mirror Subsystem
  • Full-Time
  • Science
Tucson, AZ
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.


Primary Mirror Subsystem


Primary Mirror Subsystem Manager


The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) project is seeking a Principal Mechanical Engineer 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. The M1S team is currently testing the prototype active optics control system and seeking a Principal Mechanical Engineer to help with upcoming integration activities of the pneumatic system, applying lessons learned of the prototype support actuators to their design, qualifying the updated design with prototype regression testing, preparing for a final design review, production planning, and overseeing production of the support actuators.

The Principal Mechanical Engineer will be responsible for providing innovative mechanical design and manufacturing expertise that meet the design requirements, leading product development, and leading production mechanical systems including the active and static support systems. This position will work closely with cross-functional engineering and partner organizations. It will manage subcontracts and procurement of associated hardware for prototype testing and production, and will also manage the M1S active and static support product development to meet GMT project cost and schedule constraints.

This individual must be experienced in working with multidisciplinary teams that have successfully delivered complex, high-precision mechanical systems. Responsibilities include producing SolidWorks 3D models and 2D drawings using full ANSI Y14.5 GD&T and hands-on lab prototype development and testing experience. In addition, this role will be responsible for producing technical reports, requirements documentation, statements of work, and presentations in their area of responsibility at project meetings and design reviews.

The Principal Mechanical Engineer must be capable of working closely with suppliers, partners, and other technical teams to design, develop, and procure the various subassemblies within the system.  The successful candidate will be a motivated self-starter who can work with and lead engineers to resolve technical problems, establish approaches for solutions, and complete product development scope of work on-time and within budget.


  • Develop requirements documentation, interface control documents, 3D models, 2D detailed drawings using GD&T, and specifications of the M1 subsystem active optics and thermal control subassemblies and test support equipment.
  • Participate in the procurement process for engineering services and fabrication of these systems, including identification of potential vendors/suppliers, preparation of technical specifications and statements of works, participation in the selection process, and overseeing fabrication.
  • Participate in integration, test, and resolving and dispositioning of non-compliances of mechanical systems in the laboratory and on the telescope.
  • Write and/or review procedures for assembly and test operations for component level and assembly level mirror support components and the thermal control system. Analyze results and document in test reports.
  • Ensure compliance with GMT quality assurance and safety requirements within their area of responsibility.
  • Write technical reports and prepare and deliver technical presentations.
  • Evaluation and checking of technical drawings.
  • Lead and own the design, documentation, and implementation of GMTO M1 subsystem mechanical hardware.
  • Conduct peer reviews and be responsible for ensuring that the product can be built within the required schedule and budget.
  • Lead subcontractors and manage subcontracts required for the development of GMTO related equipment.
  • Ensure the consistent application of engineering best practices and that all activities undertaken under your control are conducted to common standards in accordance with GMTO processes.


  • BS in Mechanical Engineering or equivalent
  • 10 or more years of related experience
  • Experience in structural design, drafting, solid-modeling, and FEM analysis
  • Experience with GD&T
  • Proficiency in CAD/CAM tools: SolidWorks preferred.
  • Experience in design, manufacturing, and integration and test of pneumatic systems
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Experience working with machine shops and manufacturing subcontractors
  • Experience with quality control, process improvement, and value engineering
  • Possess good written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience working in cross-functional teams, is collaborative, and a team player
  • Effective listening skills and initiative to accomplish assigned tasks in a timely fashion
  • Self-starter, ability to work with minimum supervision and deal with ambiguity


  • MS degree in Mechanical Engineering or equivalent technical discipline with experience in design and construction of precision mechanical and electro-optic systems
  • Experience in ground-based telescope mirror cell design, production, integration and test
  • Knowledge of pneumatic actuator systems and precision mechanics
  • Demonstrated engineering leadership and management skills in large projects and/or international project collaborations
  • Knowledge of HVAC systems for thermal control of the primary mirror
  • Knowledge of mechanical and thermal control systems
  • Demonstrated experience in the design and delivery of complex mechanical systems for scientific or defense applications




  • Position is based in Tucson, AZ with periodic travel to Pasadena, CA and supplier locations required
  • Occasional trips to suppliers and Chile when production cell integration begins
  • Normal office and laboratory environments


  • 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.

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