Astronomer / Scientific Programmer


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Huntsville, AL
Third Shift

Job Description

As posted by the hiring company

Job Overview:

Jacobs leads the global professional services sector delivering solutions for a more connected, sustainable world.  With $15.0 billion in combined revenue and a talent force more than 77,000 strong, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of services including scientific, technical, professional, construction- and program-management for business, industrial, commercial, government and infrastructure sectors. For more information, visit

Jacobs Space Exploration Group (JSEG) is comprised of 10 companies and is located at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL (ranked #11 in Best Places to Live by U.S. News). JSEG has been a primary contractor for NASA since 1989 and supports marquee NASA programs, including the Space Launch System, International Space Station, space optics fabrication, earth and space sciences and advanced propulsion system development. As a partner in NASA’s next generation of space exploration, our jobs are literally history in the making.



As an Astronomer / Scientific Programmer, the candidate will develop and maintain software codes, scripts, tools and databases to permit the analysis of meteor data aquired by the Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO), located at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The development/deployment platforms are Linux-based and the programming languages involved are Python/C/C++. An important part of the MEO’s mission is to provide space situational awareness, so the candidate will work with the team to characterize bright meteor events occurring over the United States and help maintain/develop tools used by the MEO to characterize these events. The candidate will also assist in meteor and telescopic observations of comets and the Moon and will be called upon to help maintain the MEO’s camera network.

Duties will include the following:

  • Developing and maintaining programs, scripts, and tools (local and web-based) for meteor data collection and situational awareness.

  • Delivering quick-turnaround characterizations of skyfall events to the MEO customer.

  • Assisting in the development of models of the meteoroid environment.

  • Analyzing observational data collected from telescopes, cameras, radiometers, or other instrumentation.

  • Conducting observations of meteors, their parent bodies, and the moon.

  • Configuring and replacing meteor cameras used at local and remote sites within the United States.

  • Presenting results to the NASA customer and at conferences.

  • Publishing results in appropriate journals.


Must have received a Master of Science degree in Astronomy, Physics, or Astrophysics or related field with at least 2 years of relevant experience. A minor or additional degree in computer science is desired.  A degree from an ABET-accredited university preferred.  Typically, educational requirements are a Masters with at least 3 years of experience. 

  • Must have extensive experience with: 

    • Object-oriented scientific programming in Python

    • Designing tools to facilitate rapid analyses of data (local and web-based)

    • Accessing data stored remotely via APIs and other interfaces

  • Linux operating systems (Debian/Ubuntu preferred)

  • The successful candidate also must:

    • Exhibit strong technical writing and presentation skills to present data to internal and external customers.

    • Have strong customer relations skills.

    • Possess the ability to multi-task and transition between quick turnaround assignments.

    • Show initiative and be proactive to make connections and build relationships with key players on the tasks.

    • Demonstrate the capability to plan and perform analyses independently and as a team.

  • It is desired for the candidate to have experience in C/C++.

  • It is desired for the candidate to possess hands-on experience with operating, assembling, installing, and troubleshooting modern astronomical instruments, such as cameras and telescopes.

  • It is desired for the candidate to demonstrate the capability to utilize compute clusters.

The Jacobs Space Exploration Group (JSEG) offers a partnership in which you can grow personally and professionally within a framework of strong leadership, competitive compensation, and rewarding career paths. Come join our team on the Engineering Services and Science Capability Augmentation (ESSCA) contract whose work is destined to have a long-range effect on future generations!

For more information on why Huntsville is known as “one of the smartest cities in the nation”, check out these websites:







Essential Functions

Work Environment: 

  • Hybrid telework, office, and observatory environment at MSFC in Huntsville, Alabama. The applicant should expect remote/on site work to be dictated by assigned tasks (at least 2 days per week on site), and is expected to live in or near Huntsville, Alabama. Requires the ability to provide clear, concise, accurate and timely communication, both verbally and in writing (100%). Requires ability to interact professionally with co-workers, management, and client (100%). 

Physical Requirements:

  • Sitting for extended periods at a desk to develop tools, write reports, and perform engineering tasks (60%).

  • Sitting for extended periods in meetings with peers, management, and with our client at NASA facilities to discuss technical issues (10%). 

  • Using stairs or elevators for access between floors and multiple buildings at NASA and Jacobs facilities (10%). 

  • Sitting at the ALaMO to conduct overnight astronomical observations (5%). 

  • Configuring cameras, telescopes, and other instruments at MSFC’s Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory (ALaMO) (5%).

  • Traveling to meteor camera sites in the United States to repair and/or replace meteor cameras (5%).

  • Traveling to other US government facilities and to conferences (5%).

Equipment and Machines: 

  • Requires ability to operate a personal computer, a telephone, fax machine, copier, calculator, and other general office equipment (100%).


  • Normal workday 7:30 – 4:30, Monday thru Friday. Minimal overtime may be required (10%) to meet schedule milestones and to support technical demands of the job. Regular attendance is a necessity, and adequate arrangements for delegating duties during absences are required. 

Other Essential Functions:


  • The ability to work independently with minimal supervision, and to make rational decisions, and to exercise good judgment is essential (100%). Grooming and dress must be appropriate for the position and must not impose a safety risk/hazard to the employee or others.


Proof of U.S. Citizenship is required.