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Programmer - Embedded Software for High Energy Astrophysics instrumentation and BlackCAT satellite mission

Company: Penn State University
Location: University Park
Posted on: June 9, 2021

Job Description:


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The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of The Pennsylvania State University has an opening for a programmer/software designer with the high energy astrophysics detector and instrument group of Professor Abe Falcone.

A 4-year degree (or the equivalent) in computer science, electrical engineering, Physics, Astronomy, or a closely related field is required, with a preference for a candidate with at least 2 years of programming experience.

The position will entail the development of algorithms and software, for execution on-board the BlackCAT CubeSat X-ray astronomy mission, which is currently being developed and is expected to launch in 2024. These algorithms will be utilized to detect astrophysical transients on the satellite observatory and will also control and interact with key components of the instrument. A strong programming background is required, and experience with embedded systems, and/or flight software, and/or FPGA programming is highly desirable. Experience with the Linux kernel and/or real-time operating systems is desirable, as is experience with C/C++. Previous experience with X-ray astronomy data analysis of transient and highly variable objects using data from Swift, Chandra, or XMM would be a benefit but is not necessary. Candidates are encouraged to apply even if their experience is limited to just a subset of the topics listed above.

Candidates must be authorized to work in the United States without sponsorship.

The successful applicant will be responsible for meeting software delivery dates, while also being encouraged to undertake independent efforts. Title and salary will be commensurate with experience. In addition to the BlackCAT CubeSat, our current program includes the development and testing of state-of-the-art solid-state X-ray detectors for use in both near-term and long-term X-ray astronomy missions, as well as other instrumentation efforts and astrophysical studies for upcoming flight mission opportunities. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on these research projects.

Penn State is the lead institution for the recently approved BlackCAT CubeSat mission, as well as the ACIS instrument on Chandra, and for the X-ray Telescope on the Neil Gehrels Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer. The successful applicant could have access to other Penn State facilities.

Applications must be submitted electronically and include a CV, along with a cover letter that includes a statement of relevant experience and interests. In addition, please arrange for three reference letters to be sent to afalcone@astro.psu.edu.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. This is a fixed-term appointment funded for one year from date of hire with possibility of renewal. Please send inquiries regarding the position to Prof. Abe Falcone at afalcone@astro.psu.edu.

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusive excellence that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusive excellence as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.


Pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Pennsylvania Act of 1988, Penn State publishes a combined Annual Security and Annual Fire Safety Report (ASR). The ASR includes crime statistics and institutional policies concerning campus security, such as those concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. The ASR is available for review here.

Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies.

EEO is the Law

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applications without regards to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. If you are unable to use our online application process due to an impairment or disability, please contact 814-865-1473.

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University Park, PA

Keywords: Penn State University, Ellicott City , Programmer - Embedded Software for High Energy Astrophysics instrumentation and BlackCAT satellite mission, Other , University Park, Maryland

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