The space industry was worth $447 billion in 2020, up from $428 billion in 2019. It is more than 55 percent larger than it was in 2010.
The last decade has seen an explosion of job opportunities in the sector. What’s more, those wanting to explore the industry don’t need to be rocket scientists to get in on the action. There are roles available for people with diverse skill backgrounds. In fact, given the growing size of the industry, virtually any professional can get involved (even people who don’t have any experience in science or space at all).
Thanks to plummeting costs of off-world space missions, geologists are in high demand. These professionals are called upon for their knowledge of materials, geological features and events. Often, they are consultants in the construction of robots that traverse other planets. Public space agencies, such as NASA, regularly consult geologists to better understand the geology of neighboring worlds and how that might affect equipment design.
Space equipment, just like other aeronautical equipment, needs to operate flawlessly. Everything must come together into a seamless whole.
That’s why CAD designers are going to find their services in high demand in the future. These individuals understand how to use sophisticated 2D and 3D software to create prints and plans that space companies can then put into production. Their designs let space engineering firms accurately plan production and find designs that work.
Even writers can get in on the space industry. There is now tremendous demand for people who understand how elements of the space industry work and can communicate that to the public and other professionals.
For instance, companies in the sector may call upon writers for things like spacecraft safety procedure documentation, procedures for manufacturing spacecraft and even educational guides for companies still getting to grips with how the industry works.
Becoming a technical copywriter can be quite lucrative, particularly if you can create content rapidly. Firms want copywriters who feel comfortable writing press releases.
Systems engineers work to design space-related systems. They also put plans in place for maintaining equipment, supporting existing companies, sometimes in a third-party vendor capacity.
To become a successful systems engineer, you need to be the type of person who can see the big picture. You’ll also need an eye for safety. Space companies rely on systems engineers to provide them with workable:
- Payload delivery systems
- Ground communication systems
- Mission control systems
- In-flight docking systems
- Trajectory calculation systems
- Orbital recalibration systems
Space companies generate and require vast quantities of data. Data engineers are people who both analyze this data (putting it to good use) and maintain the systems that keep it.
For instance, space organizations call on data engineers to simulate the outcomes of missions before physically building any of the hardware. Using a combination of physical principles and data input, engineers are able to plot the likely outcome of missions.
Data engineers are exceptionally well-paid. However, to gain the skills for this role, you’ll need extensive formal education, particularly in statistics and computer analysis.
Public Relations Specialists
Space sector companies are receiving considerable bad press at the moment. SpaceX is a good example. Thanks to its Starlink scheme, astronomers are worried that satellites will block images of the night sky.
As a public relationship expert, your job is to keep the public informed about the latest space missions and discoveries. You’ll also extol the benefits of space projects (such as globally-accessible internet, manufacturing off-world, and so on). Channels for sharing this information include press releases, blogs on company websites, and even TV clips.
In the past, meteorologists provided essential shipping forecasts, telling various ocean-going vessels conditions in their vicinity. Now, similarly, the space industry requires professionals who can provide them with accurate forecasts of atmospheric conditions during rocket launches and satellite deployment.
As a meteorological technician, you’ll measure weather-related conditions relevant for space launches. Your primary role will be to measure risk associated with launch. You’ll need extensive knowledge of wind conditions in different strata of the atmosphere. In some cases, you may even be called upon to discuss space-based weather, such as solar wind.
Spending long periods of time in space isn’t easy for either the human body or mind. However, that’s the prospect currently facing explorers. Even if we are only to get as far as Mars as a species, it implies surviving the confines of a rocket for six months or more.
To this end, space requires psychologists. Specifically, it needs talented individuals who can probe the human mind and find ways for it to cope with restrictions imposed by long-haul missions. Interplanetary explorers going to Mars or even Jupiter’s moons need strategies and techniques that they can use to prevent their mental health deteriorating.
Related to this, there is a great need for sociologists. These individuals wouldn’t study so much the mental health of interplanetary explorers, but rather consciousness of entire off-world societies.
At first, a Martian colony might closely resemble that of civilizations back home on Earth. However, over time, it would inevitably evolve due to the unique environment and living conditions of the citizens living there. We could witness a situation similar to what happened when the United States broke away from Britain in the eighteenth century. At first, the relationship with Earth might be cordial, but over time, it might turn nasty.
Sociologists are also needed to help define the terms of a new society. They could advise on things like constitutional documents – how the emerging civilization should govern itself.
Lastly, there is a distinct need for graphic designers – people who can brand space companies and help them communicate their mission to the public. This job is less philosophical and more practical. Graphic designers do branding (including things like logos), video editing, photography and even interior design. They also regularly engage in training to become more fluent in using the latest tools and take Adobe exams in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.