Principal Systems Engineer - James Webb Space Telescope

Job Summary

Science Engineering
Space Telescope Science Institute
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

Support NASA missions! The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is a multi-mission science and operations center for NASA’s flagship observatories – JWST, HST and Roman - on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus in Baltimore, Maryland. Learn more about our missions.  

This position can support hybrid work Candidates must reside in or be willing to relocate to our local market (MD, DE, VA, PA, DC & WV).

U.S. citizen or permanent resident is required for this position.

STScI is seeking a Principal Systems Engineer for both technical and project management leadership roles. Working as a member of the Systems Engineering Team, this is a role as Project Lead for the Operations Scripts Subsystem (OSS), which is a component of the Science and Operations Center (S&OC) for the NASA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The OSS Team is responsible for developing, testing and certifying operational scripts that execute science instrument and spacecraft functions onboard JWST, considering existing design constraints and limitations.

Principal Systems Engineer / Project Lead for the OSS Team Role

This is a dual role consisting of technical and project management leadership and systems engineering consulting.

As Project Lead: Responsibility and oversight over all team activities and deliverables, responsibility for stakeholder management, interfacing with program management and NASA and responsibility for all other essential project management planning and oversight.

As a Principal System Engineer: In addition to serving as the Project Lead, provide systems engineering expertise and oversight to the team for operations concept changes, requirements management, verification and validation, quality and risk management and operations execution. You have a proactive disposition for cross-functional collaboration to interact with engineering and science groups.


A technical degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Astronomy, Physics, Astrophysics or a related scientific field.  The level of the position will be determined during the hiring process, however, is expected to be at a principal level, with a minimum of 10+ years of experience with the following:

A strong technical background and understanding of these listed skills:

Expert level of skill and competency of systems engineering, software engineering lifecycles, project management, with a strong technical background, and good verbal and written communication skills.

Must have experience and be able to effectively and efficiently manage work across teams, systems, units and multiple stakeholders.

A prior background involving NASA spacecraft ground systems and/or operations is strongly preferred.

Extensive and demonstrable experience in software development, operations or testing of spacecraft systems, or an advanced technical degree will be considered in exchange for traditional systems engineering years of experience.

Ability to model appropriate behavior to create a positive environment and motivate other staff to succeed, mentoring or guiding the work and ability of others.

Experience gathering data and others’ input when making decisions, while considering lessons learned from experience, differing needs and the impact of the decision on others.

Candidates must be a US citizen or Permanent Resident who is able to obtain access to ITAR data.Compensation is commensurate with education and experience. 

TO APPLY: Please complete an online application with your resume and cover letter. Applications received by October 12, 2023 will receive full consideration. Announcement will remain open until the position has been filled.

Direct Link: Principal Systems Engineer - James Webb

STScI offers a flexible and welcoming workspace for all. STScI embraces the diversity of our staff as a strategic priority in creating a first-rate community. We strongly encourage women, ethnic minorities, veterans, and disabled individuals to apply for these opportunities. Veterans, disabled individuals, or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process can contact us at [email protected] EOE/AA/M/F/D/V.

As a leader in the astronomical community, AURA is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the workforce

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA and all of the centers do not discriminate based on race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below, as well as the requests for self-identification, are required under these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements for protection and assisting us in our record-keeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation Range
$135,000USD to $155,000USD
Included Benefits

Our excellent benefits include:

Employer retirement contribution – direct STScI contribution of 10% of your salary from your first day

12 days sick leave, up to 24 days’ vacation, and 10 paid holidays

Comprehensive medical/dental/vision/prescription plans, and more!

Compensation Notes

Our Robust and Competitive Benefit Programs

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2023 Sep 19
Application Deadline
2023 Oct 18


Michelle Abrams