Telescope Mechanic I (4815)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The Engineering Services Division of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory announces an opportunity for a full-time Telescope Mechanic at the Very Large Array (VLA).  Under direct supervision, the Telescope Mechanic provides routine maintenance service to scientific investigations through the construction, installation, test, repair and maintenance of a radio telescope and associated equipment used to collect radio astronomical data for a variety of observers. The appointment is expected to be made at the level of Telescope Mechanic I; in exceptional cases, a higher rank will be considered. This is a Safety Sensitive position.


The position is based at the VLA, 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico.  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

  • Responds to routine maintenance, installation, testing, calibration, repair, and troubleshooting of mechanical, electrical, and limited electronic components issues on all telescopes and related equipment.
  • Provides limited assistance, as qualified, in the operation and testing of telescope and operating equipment, when required.
  • Assists in the functional evaluation of newly installed equipment to evaluate system performance under actual operating conditions.
  • May assist Telescope Operators with receiver/equipment changes.
  • Assists in taking and maintaining inventory of parts.
  • Maintains records of maintenance activities, uses PC as required.
  • Assists with indoor/outdoor painting, when required.
  • Maintains tools and equipment in safe operating condition.
  • Assists other maintenance and support personnel as assigned.
  • Uses hand and power tools; works from verbal or written instructions, sketches and prints
  • Proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures in own work area is expected.
  • Other duties may be assigned.


Work Environment

While performing the duties of this job, the employee works both outdoors on buildings and indoors in a shop. The employee works in high places, outside in all weather conditions, near moving mechanical parts and electrical equipment. Work is performed at a high altitude (7000 ft.) environment.  Must be able to work in a high noise area with PPE’s.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

A minimum of a High School diploma or general education degree (GED).


Minimum Experience

Two years related experience; or equivalent combination of relevant education and experience.


Preferred Experience

Mechanic work, industrial or other; maintenance of heavy equipment; some welding; industrial spray painting.


Additional Requirement

Must have received or be willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by September 1, 2021 to be considered for U.S.-based vacancies.


Must hold and maintain a valid NM Driver's license (Class A CDL preferred).


Competency Summary

Strong verbal communication skills are necessary for effective consultations with coworkers and the ability to participate effectively as a member of a team. Must be able to use the NRAO online time reporting and requisition system.  Ability to read and interpret documents such as schematics, blueprints, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.  A working knowledge of machine shop, welding, and electrical techniques and procedures.


Physical Demands

The ability to climb antenna stairs and ladders to heights of above 100 feet, lift equipment up to 50 pounds (unassisted) is essential. Must possess visual acuity (corrected is acceptable) and manual dexterity to be able to perform work on small pieces or areas of work material, and hearing acuity in order to perform work safely with instructions and guidance being given over hand-held radios and/or during operations of loud machinery. Work is performed outdoors, at heights and near moving machinery.


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:


Click the “Apply” button below.  You will need to 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 [email protected].

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