LCO Mechanical Engineering Specialist

The Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) of the Carnegie Institution for Science Observatories - a world-class astronomical institution - has an opening for an engineering specialist to work on the du Pont 2.5 m and the Swope 1 m telescopes.  The successful candidate will work with an international team supporting the telescope/instrument operations and astronomical programs.

LCO offices and administrative headquarters are in the city of La Serena, while the observatory facilities are located in the Andes mountains 150 km north of La Serena. 


Job Description 

 The engineering specialist will primarily support servicing and maintenance of the telescopes and their mechanical infrastructure. The successful candidate will have an active role in the troubleshooting and repair of failures, as well as observatory upgrades. Assistance in coating and washing of telescope mirrors and carrying out telescope tests is also expected.

Starting next year, as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the duPont telescope operations will be transitioning to a full survey mode. The focal plane will be equipped with new state-of-the-art, robotic, multi-optical fiber positioners with fibers feeding the BOSS optical spectrograph and the APOGEE2-S infrared spectrograph. The successful candidate is expected to participate in the commissioning of the new instruments and integration into telescope operations in order to maintain continuous operations.

This position requires experience in troubleshooting, operation, and/or design of a range of mechanical equipment and instrumentation (including servo-control, opto-mechanical, pneumatic and HVAC systems).  Experience in operating machine tools is also desirable.  The work responsibilities also require a shift of 8 days at the Observatory and 6 days off. Occasional domestic and international travel may be required. This is a full-time position based at LCO, Chile.


  • An advanced degree in degree in engineering, physics, or astronomy
  • Engineering experience working with large ground- or space-based optics may be substituted for some degree requirements


  • Ability to communicate and cooperate in a team environment and to speak and write effectively, including technical reports and protocol documents
  • Fluency in written and spoken English. Knowledge of Spanish is an asset.
  • Valid driver’s license (Chilean B)
  • Ability to work at 2300 meters

Application Process:

Carnegie is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Complete job description is contained in this advertisement – no phone calls please.  Only electronic applications submitted through our website will be considered. Thank you for submitting your application by clicking on the "Apply Now' button below:

Please, necessarily include in the application form, the desired salary range.

Note: The hiring will be through a national contract in Chile, at the Las Campanas Observatory. Therefore, you must be able to be authorized to work in Chile (Chilean nationality, residence visa or visa subject to a work contract).

Application review will begin on 06 January 2022 and continue until the position is filled.

Only select candidates who meet our requirements will be contacted.

At Carnegie, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. We believe academic environments should be places where diverse groups of people with a variety of viewpoints and ideas can thrive and work together. As such, we encourage applicants from under-represented groups and backgrounds to apply.

The Carnegie Institution is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration of employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, veteran status or any other protected group status.


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