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The A-Z of space careers

James-Bevington-Astrobiologist-1

Australia’s space sector is taking off, and there are loads of ways you could be a part of it

With the space industry predicted to triple in size over the coming decade here in Australia, space-related careers are on the up! Lookout for these out-of-the-box next-gen roles. Astronaut not included…

A is for astrophysicist

Applies the laws of physics and chemistry to explain what’s going on with the solar system.

B is for business manager

Keeps up with the science world to create lucrative opportunities.

C is for cyber security specialist

Typically earth-bound, implementing security measures to protect important computer systems.

D is for data scientist

Uses analytics to look for business opportunities, track climate change insights or streamline processes!

E is for electrician

Same deal as on earth – but in space. Construct, install and repair electrical systems in spacecraft and satellites.

F is for fabricator

The tradies of the galaxies! Fabricate, fit, assemble and weld equipment used in spacecraft, satellites and ground stations.

Phil Bland
Next-gen space expert Phil Bland is a planetary scientist. Cool, huh?!

G is for game developer

Programs interactive systems that can be used in training! Think: Virtual Reality (VR).

H is for health and safety officer

Ensures compliance with health and safety systems… for space-related stuffs.

I is for instrumentation engineer

Specialise in the design and development of unique spacecraft instruments, like circuit boards, and sensors!

J is for journalist

Technical journalists present complex info in a way the public can understand.

K is for kinesiologist

Creates fitness plans for astronauts that consider insane things like microgravity!

L is for lawyer

Space lawyers provide advice and prep legal docs to ensure compliance with international space laws and treaties.

M is for mechanical technician

Installing machinery, parts and equipment onto space aircraft.

N is for network administrator

Configuration, installation and maintenance
of computer systems – with co-workers who are literally out in space!

O is for optical engineer

Develop different optics that would be used in a spacecraft or satellites, sensing X-rays to infrared rays.

P is for propulsion engineer

Test and manufacture spacecraft propulsion systems (AKA the science that makes them move).

QUT
QUT PhD student Vanessa Zepeda’s love for biology grew from life on earth to the life in the cosmos. Image: Ben Ashmole

Q is for quality assurance specialist

Examines materials, products, equipment, and other devices for any type of defects or irregularities. Eye for detail = essential!

R is for robotics engineer

Build and operate robots, robotic devices and systems used in anything space-related.

S is for space flight controller

A walking, talking comms channel between the crew, flight director and various specialists.

T is for test technician

Testing is a huge deal in aerospace engineering. Everything from equipment, vehicles, machinery and even workflow processes are trialed, again and again.

U is for undergrad space science student

Not technically employed yet – but they’re on their way to landing an awesome next-gen role!

V is for vehicle engineer

Designs and tests brake systems, engines, fuel tech and transmissions on spacecraft, robotics and rockets.

W is for weather analyst

Monitor sunspots and solar flares to provide impacts to power grids and satellite operators, as well as emergency response comms on earth.

X is for (e)xtreme high-altitude jumper

Supersonic free-falling essentially means jumping from space! Qualifications? Craziness!

Y is for YouTuber

Got science smarts and love sharing your knowledge? Carve a career in space + socials.

Z is for zzzzz

This is the space gig you’ve been dreaming of! Chances are if you kickstart the right study path you can totally get there.

Meet STEM space stars

Vanessa Zepeda, PhD student, QUT : “My journey as an undergraduate exposed me to all the sciences and my love for biology grew from life on Earth to the possible existence of life in the cosmos,” she says.

Professor Phil Bland, planetary scientist, Curtin University: “I hope that Australia engages with the science of space exploration in the way that other nations do. Those nations fly challenging missions because it benefits their space industry sectors in multiple ways. It’s jobs and growth via science.”

James Bevington, astrobiologist, UNSW: “Science is done with different labs across the world, reproducing each other’s experiments and adding knowledge incrementally. I’m trying to make planetary exploration a bit more like that, so anybody can send a mission to Mars.”

This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Space 2022 – the flip cover to Careers with STEM: Science 2022

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