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Pipeline Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 9/24/2018

Job Snapshot

Job Description

The SOFIA Pipeline Software Engineer is primarily responsible for maintaining and modifying the CRUSH software used for reducing HAWC+ and HIRMES data. The software engineer will also design, develop, modify, and maintain other scientific data processing pipeline software and associated software tools used by the pipeline group. The pipeline software engineer will also support manual reduction of data, quality assurance assessments of the pipeline products, and archiving of the data products. The pipeline engineer will work under the direction of the DPS software development lead, who assigns tasks in coordination with the AD of Scientific Data.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Independently support and maintain the CRUSH data reduction code in Java.
  • Modify the CRUSH code to support reduction of data acquired in new observing modes of the HAWC+ and HIRMES instruments.
  • Independently conceptualize and design pipeline solutions including new algorithms, bug fixes, and improvements / upgrades to meet needs of SOFIA program.
  • Build, deploy, and verify the pipelines solutions in production and test environments; support the pipeline and instrument scientists during verification and validation activities.
  • Integrate and test pipelines within the DPS architecture; support any design, implementation, and testing activities for upgrades to the DPS pipeline Architecture.
  • Support reviews necessary for commissioning and acceptance of pipeline software.
  • Document system builds and application configurations; maintain and update documentation as needed.
  • Maintain pipeline software and pipeline algorithms.
  • Develop and maintain manuals describing software, algorithms, and usage.
  • Support and test the pipelines and pipeline algorithms, manual reduction of data, quality assurance assessments, and archiving of the data.
  • Support pipeline scientists using the data processing database for calibration and re-processing activities.
  • Follow team software development methodology.
  • Other job related duties as assigned.

  • Additional Responsibilities:
    • Ensure the protection of NASA and USRA intellectual property with respect to commercial and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) concerns through disclosures, patent applications, and adherence to NASA’s scientific and technical information dissemination guidelines.
    • Support efforts by USRA Management to ensure that USRA conducts its business operations in an effective, cost-competitive, and professional manner
    • Complete required trainings as scheduled

Required Qualifications:


  • BS in computer science, software engineering, physics/astronomy, or a related science/engineering field or equivalent, or combination of education and relevant experience.

Licenses, Certifications:

  • n/a


  • Expert knowledge of Java required
  • Experience with Unix/Linux Operating Systems, IDL, and Python required
  • At least 2 years of software development experience in science applications or related area.
  • Experience in astronomy related software position highly desired.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:  

  • Expertise in writing and supporting Java code.
  • Strong technical knowledge of Python and / or IDL with an ability to select, adapt, and effectively use a variety of programming methods.
  • Working knowledge in the application of software systems in the execution of scientific research
  • Expertise in designing, developing, testing, and deploying applications.
  • Proficiency with application design and data modeling.
  • Ability to define and solve logical problems for highly technical applications.
  • Ability to independently develop schedules with detailed milestones and complete projects as assigned on schedule.
  • Ability to work effectively and professionally in a team environment (co-workers, customers, and supervisors).
  • Excellent written and verbal communication in English is required with an ability to write routine reports and correspondence, speak effectively before groups of customers or employees of organization.
  • Ability to lead activities on structured team development projects.
  • Ability to effectively utilize MS Office suite: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint.


Working Conditions:

This job primarily operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. Extensive online usage. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit, use hands.  Keyboarding for large time spans each day will be a significant part of this position.

The job requires the ability to work onboard the SOFIA observatory, both on the ground and in flight.  Some aspects of the job may require night-time work, away from the home base.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee may occasionally be exposed to fumes or airborne particles.  The employee also may be exposed to moving equipment, vehicles and mechanical parts.  The noise level in the work office environment is typically mild.  The environment on the aircraft during flight operations may become noisy and tiring. The employee must be capable of performing all duties in a technical / scientific setting including offices, laboratories, shops, and aircraft maintenance facilities as well as on the aircraft / observatory, both while on the ground and during flights.  The employee may need to lift and / or move up to 50 pounds. 


This position is based at NASA AMES Research Center Moffett Field, CA but some travel may be required to Armstrong Flight Research Center and international business travel for significant lengths of time.

Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity


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