Senior Scientist, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)

Greenbelt, Maryland
$126,148 to $189,600.00 (relocation (PCS) may be authorized)
June 11 2018
Physical Sciences
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type
Senior Scientist


NOAA is where science gains value for the Nation.  The NOAA mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our Nation's economic, social and environmental needs.  The National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Services division (NESDIS) administers an integrated program for the development and use of all operational civilian satellite-based environmental remote sensing systems and the national and international acquisition, processing, dissemination, and exchange of environmental data. This program includes the design, development and operation of a series of operational civilian satellite systems for the purpose of observing land, ocean, and atmospheric conditions and the sun; as well as processing and distribution of satellite products and services to domestic and foreign users on a recurring basis.  NESDIS is responsible for acquiring, processing, archiving, analyzing, and disseminating environmental data from satellites and other sources for use by government and commercial organizations, scientific and engineering communities, and the general public. 

The GOES Program Office is an integrated program organization within NESDIS and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  The GOES Program Office conducts requirement definition studies; provides systems planning; performs conceptual and detailed engineering; manages the acquisition of major system elements for the GOES satellites (spacecraft, instruments, launch services, and ground systems); and coordinates the integration, installation, and acceptance of the GOES systems.  The Office administers comprehensive requirement identification and analysis processes and translates requirements for data, products, and services into specifications for system modifications and developments.  The Office develops budget requests, justification and procurement documentation; manages program funds; and manages the acquisition of the GOES systems.


The Senior Scientist for GOES serves as a spokesperson among top level scientists of NOAA and other agencies in meetings leading to the identification of significant research projects and the establishment of research and applied science objectives.  As an internationally recognized expert in satellite remote sensing and related sciences, the incumbent chairs and/or serves on committees and teams which greatly influence the direction of future satellite remote sensing capabilities and scientific research.  The incumbent identifies national and agency needs for the use of satellite data to study atmospheric and oceanic problems, and is sought after on important questions such as the scope and content of applied scientific programs, or the advisability of undertaking particular geo-satellite remote sensing activities and research programs.  The incumbent reviews, analyzes, and evaluates new and existing plans, programs and proposals for research initiatives as submitted by various NESDIS/GOES researchers.  The position plays a major role in formulating and leading NESDIS' expanding responsibilities in national and international scientific assessment activities that support major elements of NOAA's satellite programs and contribute in understanding weather and other environmental processes around the world.

Key duties include:

  • Provides principal scientific guidance during the formulation of performance requirements and architectural stages, as well as safeguarding those scientific requirements during the implementation phase.  Serves as the key adviser in decisions impacting performance, cost, and schedule as well as decisions that trade among competing instrument suites and operational constraints on the spacecraft in order to optimize scientific performance.
  • Serves as independent expert and representative of the science and user communities responsible for ensuring the scientific integrity at all stages of satellite development.  Supports the formulation of the mission-level architecture of spacecraft and instruments to optimize scientific return.  Provides scientific rationales to define the instrument suites with performance requirements for measurements and derived products that satisfy user needs.  Reviews mission-level scientific performance during the implementation of the mission.
  • Evaluates user requirements, and transforms these requirements for data, products, and services, into GOES applicable technical requirements.  As Chair of the GOES Operational Requirements Working Group (GORWG), works with the NOAA, NESDIS and GOES user community to define the users' needs, operational requirements, and science data product requirements for the GOES mission through the GORWG.  Assures the mission serves NOAA's vision and goals, operations, and user requirements defined by the GORWG. Provides leadership in assuring that the instrument data are effectively used by the ultimate clients of the mission through education and proving ground techniques.
  • Maintains technical liaison with NASA and other agencies, ensuring approved programs have the required capability to sustain NESDIS/GOES satellite remote sensing.  Participates in technical and engineering support for international cooperation with U.S. operational remote sensing satellite systems, including compatibility of space systems and ground data processing functions.
  • Communicates with interagency and international counterparts on matters of scientific coordination including WMO and EUMETSAT.  Convenes science and application working groups to suggest revisions of the system requirements for senior management review and to review program accomplishments.
  • Evaluates and recommends approaches to science algorithm development.  Evaluates and recommends improvements in the instruments and ground processing.  Communicates findings and recommendations to the Director, to other NOAA scientists, and to the data users.  Responsible for the study and projection of present and future needs, establishing goals, the formulation of alternative policies and ways of meeting these needs, and reevaluating progress to assure that plan objectives are realized in putting the plans into effect.
  • Directs systematic, critical, intensive investigation toward the development of new or fuller scientific knowledge.  Develops the principles, criteria, methods, and a body of data of general applicability for use by others.
  • Establishes requirements for technical objectives and characteristics, devises and evaluates concepts for design approaches, and develops standards and test plans to assure reliability, system compatibility, and to demonstrate under realistic operating conditions that the product works and is effective

Professional/Technical Qualification (PTQs)

Candidates must respond to each PTQ below which must provide specific examples that address
relevant experience and accomplishments.  Responses to all PTQs must not exceed 4 pages typed in 12 point font (i.e., no more than 2 pages per PTQ).  Applications directing the reader to search within the application, to "See Resume/Refer to Resume", or failure to address any of the PTQs will be considered incomplete and will not be considered.  As a result, you will be rated as "incomplete".

PTQ 1 - At least 3 years of comprehensive knowledge and experience in remote sensing satellites, their mechanisms, ground control, data acquisition and processing system, as well as high-level technical capability in the range of scientific disciplines as relate to state-of-the-art earth remote-sensing satellite development.

PTQ 2 - Demonstrated knowledge and experience in the area of applications of satellite data and services for end-user purposes with at least 1 year of experience in planning and executing specialized programs that show outstanding research attainments.

In addition to the PTQs, while the scientific qualifications listed on the following page must also be met, applicants are not required to address them in writing.

1. The incumbent must possess significant experience in designing, directing, and evaluating theoretical, experimental, and operational research studies of a complex and interactive nature. Studies must withstand the critical review of the scientific community and of management, and contribute crucially to NOAA's scientific mission.  The incumbent must show advanced research knowledge to develop mathematical prediction models of the atmosphere and joint ocean-atmosphere systems, as well as initialization of such models from available observations.

2. The incumbent must exercise the highest levels of creativity and critical judgment in order to initiate, review and/or advocate for the systematic investigation of theory, experimentation, and/or model simulation experiments.

3. The incumbent is a sought after expert on key scientific questions such as the scope and content of applied research programs, or the advisability of undertaking particular satellite programs.  Has earned a professional reputation in the field of earth remote sensing satellite development evidenced by citations, patents, publications (including refereed publications in relevant archival journals), which impact knowledge in the field.  Holds status in the profession as indicated by memberships and activity in professional and scientific/engineering societies; honor awards, and other recognition; and leadership in the scientific/engineering community.  Election as a Fellow of a professional and scientific society or other comparable national/international recognition is highly desirable.

4. The incumbent must possess a demonstrated ability to effectively communicate highly complex scientific concepts and topics, some controversial in nature, with executive level leadership, representatives of user communities and other lay audiences in order to advocate, promote and achieve mission objectives.

Location:  Greenbelt, MD

Education:  A degree in physical science, engineering, or mathematics that included 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science such as mechanics, dynamics, properties of materials, and electronics.


A combination of education and experience (education equivalent to one of the majors mentioned) that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Compensation:  $126,148 to $189,600.00 (relocation (PCS) may be authorized)

Travel:  Some travel required to meetings/conferences, etc.

EEO:  The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factor.

Additional:  U.S. Citizenship required and the selected candidate will be required to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance.  A public financial disclosure report is required within the first 30 days.  Position is subject to pre-employment background investigation.  Position is subject to random drug testing.
How to apply:            Please submit a complete application via USAJOBS at this link:  This includes a resume, responses to the 2 PTQs, college transcripts (unofficial), copy of SF-50 (federal employees only), and any other required documentation specified in USAJOBS by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on July 16, 2018.  The vacancy announcement number is NSDIS-GOES-2018-0003.


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