Senior Scientist for Low Earth Orbit Observations

Lanham, Maryland
Jan 14, 2022
Jan 22, 2022
Full Time

This announcement is amended to extend the closing date of this announcement. This announcement is also amended to provided the following information: As required by Executive Order 14043, Federal employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee's duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject to such exceptions as required by law. If selected, you will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination by November 22, 2021 or before appointment or onboarding with the agency, if after November 22. The agency will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request of the agency a legally required exception from this requirement.

The Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Office is located within NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) functions as a scientific authority in the field of satellite instrumentation and environmental modeling. The Senior Scientist serves as a principal scientific authority and independent researcher in the field of satellite remote sensing and application. The incumbent is responsible for focusing on LEO research and development efforts and as such, conceives, plans, and advocates major research and development activities. The Scientist consults with the NESDIS Leadership, the NESDIS Senior Scientist, LEO leadership, and staff concerning the total program and results. Additionally, the incumbent monitors and guides the quality of scientific and technical resources and provides expert technical consultation to NOAA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and other government agencies, universities, and industry. The incumbent is responsible for providing the scientific link between the operational user communities and the LEO program office.


Conditions of Employment

  • Incumbent may be subject to geographic mobility.
  • Ability to obtain and maintain a Top Secret/SCI security clearance.
  • Newly appointed ST members must serve a 1 year probationary period.
  • Position is subject to pre-employment background investigation.
  • Public Financial Disclosure (OGE-278 filing within 30 days is required).
  • Position is subject to random drug testing.

All applicants will be evaluated by a panel to determine the degree to which they possess the Mandatory Professional/Technical Qualifications (PTQs). To be rated and considered for this position, applicants are requested to fully describe their experience in each of the following PTQs. When addressing the PTQs, please use the first person as you assess and describe your qualifications. PTQ Documentation should be attached under "Writing Example One" once you have completed the online questionnaire.


To meet the minimum qualifications for this position, you must possess all of the Professional/Technical Qualifications (PTQs) and the scientific qualifications of the position. These qualifications would typically be acquired through education, experience, and training which reflect progressive development and achievement in leading teams and/or projects for a comprehensive business program in a complex organization. An individual's total experience and education must demonstrate the ability to perform the duties of the position.

Professional/Technical Core Qualifications (PTQs):

PTQ 1: At least 3 years of comprehensive knowledge and experience in remote sensing satellites, their instrumentation, ground control, data acquisition and processing system, as well as high-level technical capability in the range of scientific disciplines as related 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 attainment.

Note: Responses to PTQs must not exceed 2 pages per PTQ, for a total of 4 pages.

Do not enter "Refer to Resume" to explain your answer. Applications directing the reader to search within the application or to "See Resume" are considered incomplete and WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. Failure to submit a narrative statement or address any of the PTQs is also considered incomplete and WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. As a result, you will be rated as "INCOMPLETE".

In addition to the PTQs, applicants must meet the scientific qualifications of the position:

1. The Researcher must possess significant experience in designing, directing, transitioning results to operations, 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 must contribute to NOAA's scientific mission. The Researcher must show advanced knowledge of satellite, radar, and other remotely sensed observations and in situ observations to develop initialization of such models from the 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.



A. Degree: 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.


B. Combination of education and experience -- education equivalent to one of the majors shown in A above that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Additional information

Background Investigation: This position is designated as Top Secret - SCI and requires that a background investigation be conducted and favorably adjudicated in order to establish security eligibility.

Financial Disclosure: This position is covered under the Ethics in Government Act, which requires comprehensive financial disclosures from employees. The appointee will be required to file a Public Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-278), within 30 days after his/her appointment, and then annually thereafter.

Mobility: You may be required to travel.

Due to COVID-19, the agency is currently in an expanded telework posture. If selected, you may be expected to temporarily telework, even if your home is located outside the local commuting area. Once employees are permitted to return to the office, you will be expected to report to the duty station listed on this announcement within 45 days. At that time, you may be eligible to request to continue to telework one or more days a pay period depending upon the terms of the agency's telework policy.

Direct Deposit: All Federal employees are required by P.L. 104-134 to have federal payments made by Direct Deposit.

Drug Testing: Applicants tentatively selected for employment in any position are subject to designated and/or random pre-employment and employment urinalysis. Applicants who refuse to be tested will be denied employment and/or removed from employment with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce.

False Statements: If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired, you may be fired after you begin work, or you may be subject to fine, imprisonment, or other disciplinary action.

The materials you send with your application will not be returned.

Please DO NOT put your SSN on pages within your application package. Privacy Act - Privacy Act Notice (PL 93-579): The information requested here is used to determine qualifications for employment and is authorized under Title 5 U.S.C. 3302 and 3361.

Signature - Before you are hired, you will be required to sign and certify the accuracy of the information in your application.

Selective Service: Male applicants born after 12/31/1959, who are required to register with the Selective Service under section 3 of the Military Selective Service Act, must be registered (or must have registered at the time they were required to do so) in order to be eligible for appointment. For more information, visit the SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM web site at .

Veterans' preference rules do not apply to Senior Scientist (ST) positions.

EEO: The Department of Commerce provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify Kimberly Bowden, servicing Human Resources Specialist, either by e-mail at or by telephone at 301-628-1881. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis. TTY users may contact us via the Federal Relay Service, 1-800-877-8339.

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.

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