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Job Details

Mission Support Specialist / Research Scientist

Science and Research



Webster, Texas, United States


Job Description:

Leidos has an opening for a Mission Support Specialist for our Webster, Texas office. The Mission Support Specialist will support a NASA contractor team executing Payload research missions aboard the International Space Station such as the Rodent Research (RR), Keyence Microscope (KERMIT) and miniPCR (BioMole) Missions on the International Space Station (ISS).

The MSS serves to integrate and facilitate the functions of the various stakeholders involved in the execution of the space research. A MSS works closely with a NASA contractor team to help mission investigators define, develop, and implement their research in space. MSS’s are assigned to several research missions simultaneously and are responsible for acting as a liaison between the investigators (or their representatives) and various stakeholders to represent their scientific concerns to various groups within NASA, and will help the investigator teams develop mission specific crew training techniques, crew procedures, plan inflight activities, obtains necessary approvals for experiment implementation, and provide a variety of related services. Additionally, an MSS may need to work during non-standard business hours to support real time operations with the astronauts and/or to control spaceflight hardware aboard the ISS (e.g., ISS Keyence Microscope or miniPCR).

The Mission Support Specialist will also develop and deliver general payload and mission specific training to astronauts who will conduct in-flight operations, perform skills assessments and evaluations to determine crew member readiness levels, and assist other trainers in preparing and conducting training events.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Understand science requirements developed by the science sponsor and/or principal investigator, work with mission team to define methods for implementing requirements in microgravity, and perform tasks to execute the experiment on the ground and in space.
  • Serve as a science liaison/advocate between principal investigators (PI) (or their representatives) and the REMIS RR and KERMIT Project, responsible for coordinating with PI Teams regarding schedules and implementation plans/issues, and communicating expectations to PI Teams.
  • Provide science discipline expertise to assigned missions including: (1) Definition and management of science requirements; (2) Science support at meetings; (3) On-Orbit Operations Console support for assigned projects/missions, as required, which may require participation in activities outside of normal business hours, including overnight shifts and/or on-call support.
  • Proactive schedule and technical risk management for all aspects of science operations support.
  • Write animal use protocols by coordinating with the PI Team and mission team, provide updates as required, and ensure that all training and data collection activities are in conformance with Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) animal use approval terms, for ground-based as well as in-flight activities involving animals.
  • Prepare for and support crew training by ensuring facilities, consumables, and hardware are available as required; coordinate with team members to ensure that support is available for crew training activities; lead the development of crew training materials/methods for new objectives.
  • Create and verify detailed experiment procedures, checklists, and cue cards (for both nominal and off-nominal scenarios); validate plans for crew operations.
  • Communicate directly with crew during real-time operations, including managing/flowing information from other console operators to the crew.
  • Personnel may be exposed to live animals, animal dander, sharp medical supplies, steam and hot water, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other hazards associated with rodent research.
  • May occasionally be required to travel to other NASA-affiliated sites across the U.S. in support of mission-related activities.
  • Assist in building kits with consumables used for use by the astronauts during in-flight activities.

Required Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences or Biomedical Engineering (other science or engineering degrees considered) and less than 2 years of relevant experience.
  • Previous experience in a team environment and ability to multitask, attention to detail, critical thinking, and adaptability are essential.
  • Familiarity with NASA project development and flight/ payload operations processes
  • Familiarity with real time console operations (e.g., console operator)
  • Demonstrated ability to teach or instruct
  • Willing to work non-standard work hours
  • Willing to travel (approximately 10% of time)

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated leadership ability, excellent oral/written communication & problem-solving skills.
  • Prior experience with animal handling and animal research
  • Familiarity with standard laboratory equipment and practices, and/or prior experience working in a laboratory environment
  • Astronaut training qualification or instructor capabilities.

Must be able to pass a Public Trust background investigation.

Pay Range:

Pay Range $53,300.00 - $82,000.00 - $110,700.00

The Leidos pay range for this job level is a general guideline only and not a guarantee of compensation or salary. Additional factors considered in extending an offer include (but are not limited to) responsibilities of the job, education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities, as well as internal equity, alignment with market data, applicable bargaining agreement (if any), or other law.