Mechanical Engineer II-III (4455)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announces two new Engineering opportunities.  We are seeking to hire two Mechanical Engineers to work with engineers and other technical staff on the design and documentation of electronic and mechanical assemblies, module housings, and racks for the Very Large Array (VLA), the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), and for the Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA), that is being proposed.  The majority of the work will be the creation of technical drawings.


The NRAO is committed to maintaining its existing observatories while developing new technology to enable further research in radio astronomy. This system maintenance and development occurs in a collaborative environment involving technicians, hardware and software engineers, and scientists. By joining NRAO, an employee has a direct contribution to expanding the observatory’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment used by scientists around the world. An example of this is planning effort underway for the creation of the ngVLA, which will greatly increase the astronomical capabilities of the world.


The positions are based at the Science Operations Center in Socorro, NM on the campus of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology ( Socorro is a small, historical town in the Rio Grande Valley, 75 miles south of Albuquerque. In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Job Duties Summary

The successful candidates will work both independently and within a dynamic team environment to support ongoing maintenance activities for existing arrays and reference and conceptual design development for the Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA).


General Operations Duties:

  • Work with engineering staff on design development
  • Generate Autodesk CAD drawings, models, and bills of material.
  • Create detailed piece part drawings that meet engineering and documentation standards.


The positions will aid in the design, modeling, and documentations effort for the following areas:


  • Front End receiver dewars and hardware,
  • Antenna Electronics racks, bins, and metalwork,
  • Cryogenic compressors, refrigerators, and plumbing,
  • Interface diagrams for all Interface Control Documents,
  • Electronic assemblies, such as PCBs, and
  • Wire harnesses


Furthermore, drafting and technical documentation support will be required to support the development of concepts, block diagrams, and presentation materials for internal reviews and external conferences.


Other duties may be assigned.


Competency Summary

The successful candidates will have skills and demonstrated competencies in the following areas:

  • A strong foundation in mechanical engineering is required.
  • Experience working with Autodesk Inventor for the creation of 3D mechanical design and documentation.
  • Good general documentation and communication skills.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a laboratory environment, but the successful candidates may occasionally be required to work outdoors or on antennas.  They may be required to travel domestically and internationally by air carrier and to travel by car between NRAO sites.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

A Bachelor Science, Mechanical Engineering.


Preferred Education

A Master’s of Science, Mechanical Engineering.


Minimum Experience

One to two years relevant experience as a mechanical engineer.


Preferred Experience

Three or more years of relevant experience as a mechanical engineer. Experience with the creation, management, and delivery of different documentation is strongly preferred. Experience with module and packaging assembly drawing work is desirable.


Physical Demands

Most work is typically performed on a computer at a desk or at a lab bench for extended periods but may include field work on radio astronomy telescopes. The engineers will occasionally be required to squat, kneel, or crawl to measure or observe items.


Additional Requirements

Must possess a valid driver's license as the engineer may be required to drive Observatory vehicles. An applicant must pass any applicable knowledge/skills assessments.


Safety Sensitive

The selected candidate must successfully pass a post-offer, pre-employment/pre-placement drug screen.  Failure to pass the Screen will disqualify the candidate from employment consideration for a period of six months from the date of the results.


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button below.  Please be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a letter of application describing interest and suitability for the position.


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.