Employment at CPI

Radio Astronomer

Computational Physics, Inc., seeks a radio astronomer with experience in interferometry to support our work at the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) in Washington, D.C.

Background on the USNO

The USNO is responsible for the production and dissemination of precise parameters concerning time, star positions, and the earth’s rotation for the Department of Defense (DoD), the intelligence community, other U.S. Government users (such as the Coast Guard, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), as well as non-U.S. Government civilian and international users. These astronomical and geophysical parameters support navigation (GPS) and many other applications. This USNO mission includes maintaining, together with the Paris Observatory, the International Celestial Reference System (ICRS) and the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF).

Description of the Position

This position will entail calibration and analysis of radio observations, particularly from the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), to maintain a Web-accessible data archive of radio-frequency sources (the Fundamental Reference Image Data Archive, or FRIDA). Intrinsic structure models will be derived from the radio images to contribute to defining and maintaining the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF), and ICRF sources will be assessed for astrometric quality. In the future, data on ICRF sources at multiple wavelength ranges will be incorporated.


  • PhD with at least 3 years’ experience in radio interferometry is required.
  • Experience in the collection, processing and analysis of astronomical data taken in the radio portion of the spectrum is required.
  • Specific experience with the VLBA and the supporting software and data processing systems is highly desirable.
  • Experience in the use of radio astronomy to support celestial reference frame or geodesy observations is desirable.
  • U.S. Citizenship is required by our contract with the Navy

Location, Salary, Benefits, COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

The position is located at the USNO in Washington, D.C. A small amount of travel may be required. Full vaccination for covid-19 is required for staff assigned to the USNO (with some limited exceptions). Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. CPI offers an excellent package of benefits, including health insurance and retirement benefits.

Please send your resume in confidence to employment@cpi.com. In the subject line, please write "Radio Astronomer." A cover letter is optional.

CPI is an Employee-owned Company and an Equal Opportunity Employer

Cal-val Scientist for Passive Microwave Remote Sensing

The Weather System Follow-on Microwave (WSF-M) satellite will be the next-generation operational environmental monitoring platform of the U.S. Department of Defense. CPI seeks a scientist to provide expert support for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Remote Sensing Division (NRL RSD) for the calibration and validation (cal-val) of the WSF-M microwave radiometer.

The work is expected to involve (but may not be limited to): analysis and validation of data resampling methodology; analysis and validation of antenna pattern corrections; application of statistical techniques for the identification and reporting of radio frequency interference (RFI) over the ocean; and assisting in the validation of sea ice and soil moisture retrieval algorithms. Formal and informal reports of the findings for both expert and non-expert audiences will be required. Cal-val tools must be developed and tested well before the currently scheduled launch time-frame of early 2024. Coordination with other WSF-M cal-val team members must be established as early as possible.

The work will require occasional travel to meet with other team members in locations such as California and Colorado.

The position is located at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. However, the work may be performed remotely, provided that the successful candidate has computing and communications facilities that can support Microsoft Teams. In a remote-work scenario, occasional travel to NRL in Washington may be necessary.

CPI will consider applications for part-time work for this position, provided that the candidate can credibly propose to complete the needed work on a part-time basis.

Salary will be commensurate with experience. For full-time employees, CPI offers an excellent package of benefits that exceed the regional standard in our industry, including health insurance and retirement benefits.


  • 5+ years of experience in the calibration and validation of spaceborne passive microwave (PMW) sensorsfor space-based environmental monitoring.
  • Experience developing and validating algorithms to estimate geophysical quantities from PMW measurements. Quantities of particular interest include ocean surface vector winds, sea ice concentration, sea ice age and soil moisture.
  • Experience with antenna beam corrections and with the use of fully polarimetric PMW data.
  • Experience with radiative modeling of the ocean surface and the atmosphere at microwave frequencies.
  • Experience with RFI detection tests for PMW measurements over ocean and land.
  • Experience with the handling and processing of large data sets.

To Apply

Please send your resume in confidence to employment@cpi.com. In the subject line, please write "microwave cal-val." A cover letter is optional but not required.

CPI is an Employee-owned Company and an Equal Opportunity Employer