Sandia National Laboratories Test Operations Engineer (Experienced) in Albuquerque, New Mexico


Department 6782 seeks to hire a Test Operations Engineer to be the lead for a satellite thermal vacuum (TVAC) environmental test facility. The TVAC Facility has a comprehensive suite of chambers which simulate the acute hot and cold temperatures, and high altitudes, of a space environment, characterizing designs and assessing payload space flight survivability. This is an exciting time to join the Team as we recently took delivery of a new custom-built 7x10 ft. chamber and are preparing for a new series of payload tests that will span the next 10+ years. We anticipate ongoing facility maintenance and enhancements in advance of next generation sensors. Operations revolve around a dynamic work schedule and occasional non-standard work hours.

On any given day, you may be called on to:

  • You will be responsible for operational and safety aspects of multiple thermal vacuum test operations.
  • Integrate experimental and production hardware/instrumentation with facility capabilities, ensuring customer requirements are completed successfully.
  • You will maintain and lead technical issues, including hazard challenges, ensuring all problems are addressed expeditiously and safely resolved.
  • Oversee the efforts of associate test personnel, as well as be the point of contact for facility users – conduct activity planning, scope negotiation, and test execution.


  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering or closely meaningful technical discipline plus five or more years of experience, or equivalent experience and/or achievements that demonstrate the knowledge, skills and ability to perform the duties of the job.
  • 5 years current experience working with, and troubleshooting, electro-mechanical hardware and instrumentation.
  • Experience conducting complex work, planning, and control (engineered safety) involving hazardous lab/facility operations.


  • Two years’ current experience (within last 5 years) with thermal vacuum chambers (TVAC), including engineering, operations, maintenance and troubleshooting.
  • Current Sandia pressure safety training, Sandia Pressure Safety Advisor, and knowledge with complex pressure/vacuum systems.
  • Experience with the engineering and operations of a Thermotron.
  • Software programming experience in Programmable Logic Controller and National Instruments LabVIEW.
  • Basic qualifications with laboratory-level machine shop tools and liquid and gaseous nitrogen.
  • Experience with materiel sourcing, selection and procurement and working successfully with Teams.
  • Strong problem solving skills, and a willingness to submit work for peer review.
  • History of being action-orientated, and following through on assignments to ensure successful completion, while producing consistent, high-quality work.
  • Ability to prioritize and balance challenging activities, and to be comfortable working with varying degrees of ambiguity.
  • Proven communication, documentation, and organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated technical Team leadership managing to a strict budget, tight schedule, and demanding performance requirements.

Department Description:

The Fielded Systems Engineering Department (Org 6782) performs key test and post-delivery activities with a focus on the United States Nuclear Detonation Detection System’s (USNDS) Global Burst Detector (GBD) Space Segment. We support the satellite payload checkout and integration and test at space vehicle factories and launch sites. These activities include monitoring sensor behavior during space vehicle integration, such as during thermal vacuum acceptance testing and EMI. Once launched, we support early orbit turn-on and checkout of our payload sensors. We have a team of analysts that conduct state-of-health and performance monitoring, development of commanding, and triage/investigation/resolution of anomalies for the 24+ on-orbit satellite constellation. Our flight/space function is conducted in unison with ground systems engineering and the mission user community. The department staffs and handles satellite environment test facilities (e.g., TVAC and LAZAP). The Thermal Vacuum (TVAC) Facility has a comprehensive suite of chambers that simulate the acute temperatures, and high altitudes, of a space environment, characterizing designs and assessing payload space flight survivability. The Laser Applications (LAZAP) Facility is used to propagate visible high-powered lasers through the atmosphere with a large aperture beam director, testing optical sensor mission readiness on earth orbiting satellites.

About Sandia:

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work withamazingimpact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide
  • Extraordinary co-workers
  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world
  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities
  • Flexible schedules, generous vacations,strongmedical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:

*These benefits vary by job classification.

Security Clearance:

Position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) granted Q-level security clearance.

Sandia is required by DOE directive to conduct a pre-employment drug testing, and a pre-employment background review that includes personal reference checks, law enforcement record and credit checks, and employment and education verifications. Applicants for employment must be able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by the DOE, rendering the inability to perform the duties assigned and resulting in termination of employment.

EEO Statement:

Equal opportunity employer/Disability/Vet/GLBT