Orbital scientist or engineer

Job Summary

Scientific / Technical Staff
Computational Physics, Inc.
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)

Springfield, VA
United States

Job Description

Computational Physics, Inc., anticipates an opening in late February or early March for a scientist or engineer with expertise in orbital analysis to support our work at the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) in Washington, D.C.

A new aspect of the USNO's mission is to create and sustain a navigation reference frame that utilizes satellite orbit ephemerides to enable navigation in GPS-denied environments. To support this work, the USNO is developing and deploying a system that uses observational data to calculate satellite and Near Earth Object (NEO) orbits. CPI is seeking an orbital analyst to support USNO’s development of a satellite-based reference frame. The reference frame is derived from observations of Resident Space Objects primarily by optical instruments, but is also designed to support integration of radio frequency and other data sources. The satellite navigation reference frame depends on the ability to convert such data into high-accuracy orbits. The successful candidate will use his or her subject matter expertise in orbit determination to support the development, deployment and testing of the astronomical observing systems and data processing algorithms used to generate the satellite reference frame.

The position will be located at the USNO in Washington, D.C. A small amount of travel may be required. Telework may be authorized depending on Observatory policy; at the present time, hybrid mode is in use at the Observatory. Salary will be commensurate with experience.

    • Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, engineering or related field. (A master's degree plus three years of experience can substitute for a Ph.D.)
    • At least 7 years’ experience in satellite mission planning or orbital analysis/orbit determination of natural and/or man-made NEOs.
    • At least 3 years’ experience converting optical astronomical data of NEOs to high- accuracy orbits. Experience with supplementing optical data with radar datasets is desirable.
    • Subject matter expertise in Space Domain Awareness, Space Situational Awareness , or Space Traffic Management.
    • Expertise in the development and use of orbit determination systems. Knowledge of Ansys Orbit Determination Toolkit (ODTK) or NASA’s General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT) is desirable.
    • Expertise in the use of high-level software programming languages. Knowledge of Python is desirable.
    • Expertise in the use of astrodynamics software libraries (e.g., Standardized Astrodynamic Algorithm Library [SAAL], OreKit).
    • Experience with the Linux operating system.
    • Knowledge of optical instrumentation and telescope operations is desirable.
    • Understanding of software development practices and principles is desirable.
    • U.S. Citizenship is required by our contract with the Navy.

Please send your resume in confidence to [email protected]. In the subject line, please write "Orbital science." A cover letter is optional. Applications will be reviewed as they come in and the position will be filled when an offer is made and accepted.

Compensation and Benefits

Included Benefits

Health insurance, annual leave, sick leave, Federal holidays, 401(k) plan, profit sharing, Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), tuition assistance and more.

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2024 Jan 24
Application Deadline
2024 May 29


Richard Cember