Optical Engineer VI

Job Details

Job Details

Job ID: 10836

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


With an unmatched history creating groundbreaking advances in science and technology, JPL has been in the space exploration business since the beginning. JPL offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.

We resonate with people who are looking for ways to go further and offer an opportunity to be part of a team of passionate and dedicated engineers working with some of the world’s best capabilities and cutting- edge technology in science, technology, and engineering. The pride of working at JPL’s (NASA and Caltech) innovative work culture; we offer a comprehensive benefits plan, relocation, tuition reimbursement and generous Caltech retirement contributions.


The Optics Section works on cutting-edge concepts and instruments for Earth-observing, planetary and astrophysical missions. Our teams within the section work on design, analysis, implementation and testing of complex optical systems, many of which use active and adaptive optics to compensate for changes in the intervening optical medium and/or in instrument environment. These systems lie at the core of instruments intended to provide high-resolution imagery and isolation of terrestrial and astronomical objects, e.g. propagation of seismic waves during earthquakes and planets orbiting other stars. The Section also develops imaging and spectrometry instruments for applications ranging from in situ laser-driven Raman spectroscopy of planetary rocks and soil to measurements of trace gases in Earth and planetary atmospheres. 


We are seeking a highly motivated and experienced  Optical Engineer Level 6  to be a member of the Optics team at the Section level. You will report directly to the Section manager.


Tasks will include but not limited to:

  • Support and provide guidance on optical design, analysis and delivery efforts on existing JPL projects, e.g. WFIRST Coronagraph.
  • Participate in design and development of optical systems for future NASA and other Government agency missions. 
  • Consulting for optical system design teams; development of requirements and error budgets for optical instruments; image-based analysis as a means of assessing instrument performance and conceptual design.
  • Planning for future active/adaptive optics-based instruments.


  • Bachelors degree in Aerospace, Optical Engineering, Physics or related technical discipline with a minimum of 15 years of related experience; Masters degree in similar disciplines with a minimum of 13 years of related experience; or PhD in similar disciplines with at least 11 years related experience.
  • Extensive understanding and demonstrated ability to apply principles, tools and practices of optical system design
  • Experience leading and managing technical teams
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills


Note: As a temporary position, this assignment may last up to 36 months in duration with approvals based on 12 month assignments. However, please note that you are not under any employment contract and your temporary employment status can be terminated at any time, with or without notice.



Preferred Skills:


Having one or more of the following skills and experience sets would be beneficial:

  • Current TS/SCI clearance
  • Experience with air- or space-borne optical instruments
  • Experience with one or more of the following: high contrast imaging; wavefront sensing and control; active optics using deformable mirrors; high-performance laser metrology systems; imaging spectrometers
  • Familiarity with NASA/JPL processes and practices

Work Authorization

U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

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