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Research Scientist I-II in Mountain View, CA at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 7/24/2018

Job Snapshot

Job Description

The NAMS Aviation Systems team is developing multiple aspects of the project to meet the demands of air traffic service providers. Given recent increase of interest in developing new vehicle types and new operations, it is projected that the National Airspace System will increase in complexity and become more challenging to manage. There’s a need for more autonomous air traffic control systems to not only ensure their safe integration but enable denser safe activities.

The broad objective is to define a candidate operational concept as well as basic algorithms that can provide autonomous ATM services to all types of airspace users. The work is focused on developing a software platform that hosts the algorithms necessary for autonomous operations in both En Route and Terminal Area airspaces. The concept is targeted for a future ATM system where clearances and trajectories generated by the autonomously operating algorithms can be sent to aircraft via a secure data link.

Position Summary:

Researchers and service providers must find ways to increase airspace capacity and flexibility. The mission is to research, develop, and test solutions before they are field-tested and eventually deployed.

The Research Scientist’s primary responsibility will be to:

  • Research requirements and propose a software development plan that considers current simulation software platforms
  • Develop and test concepts and algorithms for Air Traffic Management system
  • Develop concepts and technologies in a realistic environment for Air Traffic Management
  • Explore, develop, and evaluate advanced air transportation concepts

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Conduct research, development, and evaluation of advanced air traffic control and management automation concepts
  • Conduct research into defining algorithms to support autonomous air traffic management services
  • Research requirements and propose a software development plan that considers current simulation software platforms
  • Plan out and modify appropriate platforms or development of a new simulation tool
  • Perform fast time simulation of Air Traffic Management concepts
  • Propose new automation concepts, help identify issues, and provide solution recommendations
  • Work closely with other project engineers in identifying, evaluating and devising solutions to software and functionality issues
  • Provide guidance and support for Intern researchers involved in the project as needed
  • Interact with senior researchers and customer (i.e., NASA) to develop and execute research plans, including requirements, design & development, schedules, milestones, deliverables, and satisfaction
  • Deliver monthly progress report and metrics
  • Publishes as first or second author in peer-reviewed technical papers and journals
  • Presents own research at seminars and conferences


Other job related duties as assigned

Required Qualifications:


  • PhD degree in Aeronautics, Aerospace Engineering or related field



  • 2 to 4 years of experience
  • Demonstrated excellence in related research and development experience and a sustained record of academic publications
  • Strong analytical skill is required
  • Prior experience in air traffic management, aircraft control, aerodynamic modeling, flight simulation, and trajectory optimization   
  • Advanced background and experience in numerical analysis, algorithms and scientific computation
  • Directly related experience in air transportation system operations and dynamics, and decision-support tool development and testing

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:  

  • Demonstrated professional experience in the following areas:
    • Aerospace engineering
    • Control Systems and System Dynamics
    • Linear and non-linear Optimization
    • Simulation and modeling of dynamic systems
  • Advanced background and experience in dynamics, modeling and control as applied to multiple engineering domains
  • Knowledge and experience in one programming language such as C, C++ or Java
  • Ability to collaborate across multi levels of staff and management ranging from high level managers/planners to system component developers
  • Ability to prioritize and self-manage work to meet critical project timelines in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability and/or experience directing the work of support staff


  • Strong oral and written communications skills
  • Basic and advanced programming skills


  • ATM systems adaptation skills
  • ATM Data analysis
  • Advanced systems’ problem analysis and resolution
  • Technical skills: Java, C, C++
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and its applications.

Working Conditions:

This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. Extensive online usage. This is largely a sedentary role.


Minimal travel

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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