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Engineer 1 (Flight Controller's Path)

Job No. GCS-213
Job Title Engineer 1 (Flight Controller's Path)
Job Description

BASIC FUNCTION: Engineer I (Flight Controller’s Path)

This engineer is an entry-level engineer on the Flight Controller Path mastering training associated with certifications for Flight Controller responsibilities. An individual in this position will work as an International Space Station (ISS) flight controller and serve as a technical expert for the assigned area. Flight controllers are responsible for operating systems onboard ISS from a flight control console located in the Mission Control Center (MCC) Houston. These individuals are also responsible for training astronauts, cosmonauts, and peers on ISS systems content. Personnel will be expected to complete NASA led flight controller and instructor certifications. Initial training and duties will be as an entry level flight controller or Operator often working evening, night and weekend shifts during non-complex operations. After a period of time (usually 1 to 2 years) as an Operator, the employee will be trained as a Specialist and/or as an Instructor. As a Specialist the individual will work primarily day shifts, complex operations, and on-call during Operator shifts. As an Instructor the individual will support shifts as needed, develop training materials and instruct astronauts and flight controllers. It is anticipated that personnel will eventually achieve all 3 certifications (Operator, Specialist and Instructor). Specific Operator duties include maintaining a safe environment for astronauts onboard ISS to work and live; monitoring of real-time status and performance of ISS systems; controlling ISS system operations from mission control; reporting status and anomalies to mission managers; determining mission impacts and implementing corrective actions; test and verification of operational products and analysis; integrating requirements with other systems and organizations. Individuals in this position interface directly with the NASA customer, subcontractors and international partners and are expected to have an awareness of the company's competitive position and the impact of failing to meet schedule or quality requirements.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS: Engineer I (Flight Controller’s Path):
This entry-level position function is to support Division Flight Controller responsibilities per assigned FOD division/disciplines and master the various levels of certification required to meet division requirements. Areas of certification include the following cert flows:

  • Operator Flight Controller: Operator training flow (typically 18-24 months) for their ISS discipline and are certified as an Operator Flight Controller (known as Operator), they enter into the Mission Control Center (MCC) console shift rotation. Operators are expected to perform all routine, quiescent ISS operations and if a failure, emergency, or off-nominal situation occurs, they are trained to safe the vehicle and call in a Specialist Flight Controller to take over control of their ISS System from them. Operators will typically support evening and overnight weekday console shifts and weekend console shifts, excluding complex increment operations. In their off console time, the Operators keep up with what is happening on the ISS as well as certifying to teach basic Crew and Operator lessons and if pertinent to their discipline, train to do analysis functions. Certified Operators also train to become Subject Matter Experts, attend technical meetings as discipline representatives, and update documentation like procedures and Flight Rules. They are also expected to maintain their systems knowledge and operations proficiency within their discipline during the time they serve under the Operator certification per DA-WI-16 FOD Flight Personnel Certification Guide and their discipline specific requirements.
  • Specialist Flight Controller: It takes approximately 6-9 months of dedicated training time to achieve the Specialist Flight Controller (known as Specialist) certification for each ISS discipline. Specialists are trained to handle more advanced failures and off-nominal trouble-shooting of their systems and equipment. They are scheduled to be on call whenever an Operator is on console and should the situation warrant, take over ISS vehicle control from their Operator counterpart. They are also trained to operate the ISS under more complex operational scenarios e.g. rendezvous, docking, EVAs, visiting vehicles.
  • Instructor: After working as a certified Operator or Specialist, based on organizational needs and an individual’s aptitudes, an Operator or Specialist will then undergo a dedicated 6-12 month training flow to certify as an Instructor. They will already possess detailed knowledge of vehicle systems, but will need to learn more advanced instructional techniques, including how to do evaluations. Additionally, the training would include how to operate the models in the Space Station Training Facility (SSTF) and/or TS-21 facility, how to teach in different training situations or simulation facilities, how to teach with an interpreter, and how to develop discipline-specific material in the technical lessons and soft skills in the Space Flight Resource Management (SFRM) lessons
  • The expectation is that certified Instructors would retain proficiency in their Operator and Specialist positions. Thus, the Instructor would periodically support the MCC console as required to retain proficiency. By retaining proficiency, this will ensure that instructors remain tied in to operations on console and provide flexibility and depth for console support in case of illness, additional support requirements, and untimely attritions.

Once certified, this position is responsible for supporting the Spaceflight Systems Division Flight Controllers, Instructors, and Analysts perform Plan-Train-Fly (PTF) tasks for the International Space Station (ISS) including development of flight planning and preparation activities and products required to accomplish safe and successful vehicle and flight systems operations. This includes operations product development, mission/increment specific analysis, mission and training facility development, training product development, conducting and receiving training, and mission control console support and trouble shooting of onboard issues. Once certified, additional duties include:

  • Provide Real-Time ISS Mission Support- Provide safe, error free, and on time real time console support
  • Complete mission prep and plan tasks per quality and schedule requirements
  • Maintain proficiency, valid flight physical, and security clearances
  • Provide product development and support special assignments as assigned by division

In addition to the technical knowledge required for each discipline to perform their job functions, Soft Skills are required to support each of FOD’s positions that require console certification. Must demonstrate and have the following skills:

  • Technical Situation Cognizance – demonstrate the ability to maintain awareness of past, current, and future technical situations and the appropriate prioritization of activities.
  • System Knowledge – demonstrate the ability to understand the nominal and off-nominal operations for a technical system and its interaction(s) with other systems as appropriate.
  • Problem Recognition and Resolution – demonstrate the ability to identify the existence of a problem and work with affected personnel in a timely fashion, including the ability to manage multiple issues at one time while still coming up with an integrated solution.
  • Communication Skills – demonstrate in both written and oral communication the following: Timeliness, Accuracy, Clarity, Conciseness, Confidence, Consistency, Professionalism, Pro-activeness, and Objectivity.
  • Leadership and Teamwork – demonstrate the ability to plan, prioritize, and coordinate tasks and resolve issues within the team and multiple organizations while understanding and following a chain of command.
  • Attitude, Effort, and Integrity – demonstrate the ability to accept personal responsibility, operate in a positive, calm and constructive manner, convey information consistently, operate effectively, encourage others, accept direction, and accept and provide constructive criticism.
  • Develop and maintain operations products in compliance with mission objectives, requirements and constraints for Crew and Ground related products
  • Safely perform all tasks and provide communication of all activities, planned and completed. Support IMOC-II administrative requests and initiatives. Complete training activity required for assigned job duties and complete assigned administrative tasks. Accurately complete timecards, consistently submit IMOC-II Activity Reports, and participate in IMOC department and GCS staff meetings. Incorporate safety into daily work by participating in safety activities and maintaining a safe working environment.
  • Follow established GCS policy and guidelines for company processes, timekeeping, leave requests, safety, and reporting
Qualifications & Experience

Requires a bachelor's of science degree in engineering, science, mathematics or other technically related area.

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