Mechanical Engineer I-II

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Charlottesville, Virginia



Position Description:


Position Summary

The Central Development Laboratory (CDL) at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announces an opportunity for a Mechanical Engineer. The Engineer will be responsible for carrying out and assisting in engineering analysis, design, and general execution of a project or whole system. Responsibilities include recommendations, coordination and assisting in decisions on such aspects as design, procurement, manufacture, erection, test and some degree of initial operation.


This position will be based at the Central Development Lab (CDL) of the NRAO which is located in Charlottesville, VA. The CDL has a long history of developing new technology to enable forefront research in radio astronomy. Current research and development programs include cryogenic, low-noise front-ends, wideband electromagnetic components such as antenna feeds and polarizers operating from below 1 GHz to nearly 1 THz, phased-array feeds, highly integrated receiver architectures that employ early signal digitization and novel encoding, wideband and scalable digital signal processing architectures, and photonic signal generation, time reference distribution, and data transmission.


Job Duties Summary

Key responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Producing drawings/models of parts, assemblies, devices;
  • Performing the electroforming and electroplating of parts produced at CDL;
  • Conducting or assisting in the mechanical and electrical measurements of devices produced;
  • Working from verbal instructions; interpreting and modifying sketches and drawings;
  • Understanding and using a variety of precision measuring equipment;
  • Documenting changes necessitated during fabrication;
  • Working closely with other department members, technicians and engineers, as directed; and
  • Working within and meeting established deadlines.

Work Environment

Work typically takes place in a machine shop or other specialized shop; the engineer may be occasionally required to work elsewhere.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

A Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering or the ability to obtain one within six months of hire.

Preferred Education

Additional background in Electronics and Chemistry. This position will share or perform other assigned duties in the plating lab. Experience with microwave components a plus.


Due to export control restrictions, this position is open only to US persons which include United States citizens and permanent residents. Proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures in own work area is expected.

Competency Summary

  • Proficient in the use of Autodesk and Autocad software
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office Word and Excel
  • Knowledge of various metals and metal properties
  • Familiarity with ANSI Drafting Standards and the ability to produce designs and drawings given basic information
  • Must have the ability to organize computer files, drawing logs, project notes, and reference material
  • Learns, perfects, and advances techniques in CDL’s chemical treatment and plating processes.
  • Familiarity with part tolerance and machine shop practice and capabilities
  • Must be able to communicate with team members to facilitate progress on projects
  • Excellent interpersonal skills are required

Physical Requirements

Required to stand and sit; use hands to handle or feel objects, or tools and reach with hands or arms. Regularly works near moving mechanical parts. Occasionally is required to climb or balance; and stoop, kneel, crouch. May occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Must be able to communicate clearly and in writing. Specific vision requirements include close vision, distance vision, color and depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button below. Applicants are required to submit a CV/Resume and cover letter describing interest and suitability for the position. Please upload your CV/Resume with the ‘Add Resume’ button and your cover letter with the ‘Additional Files’ button at the beginning of the application process.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer. Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply. To view our complete statement, please visit If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.