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Above & beyond – Defence careers in space

Defence careers in space

The Defence Force’s latest operational domain is space – and you could be part of it!

If you’re interested in a future-focused career that’s out of this world, a STEM job with Australia’s new Defence Space Command should be on your radar.

Established in early 2022, the Defence Space Command brings together experts from the Navy, Army and Air Force, government agencies and private companies, with the joint goal of increasing Australia’s space capabilities, ensuring our access to space and promoting global security and a safe space environment. 

With a whopping $7 billion invested in the Defence Space Command over the next decade, there will be no shortage of career opportunities. From designing and launching satellites to working on hypersonic technology and electronic warfare, you’ll have the chance to work
with some really cool advanced technology. 

Defence careers in space – how to get there

• Check individual universities for minimum entry requirements, like prerequisite or recommended school subjects and ATAR cutoffs.

• Follow the application process for the sector of Defence you’re applying to – this can include an online application, in-person testing, interviews, physical and medical checks, and security checks. 

• Join the military. To attend ADFA as a trainee officer and complete your degree or join other ranks (technical) through general entry, you’ll need to complete the Defence Force recruiting process. 

• There’s a place for you! Defence careers are open to all Australians, regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnic origin or cultural background.

Launch your career

Secretary of Defence Greg Moriarty during a presentation to Defence Graduate Program participants at Adams Auditorium, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra. Image: Jay Cronan

The STEM Cadetship program and the Defence Graduate program are two opportunities offered by Defence public service to students, where you can study and work at the same time, gaining valuable skills and experience. These programs can lead you to exciting roles with the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO) or Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), working on cutting-edge technical projects like designing and launching satellites or analysing intelligence data.

Cosmos-cool projects

Check out some of the exciting innovation projects happening in the Defence space sector:

Cube Sat Mission
The M2 satellite mission is a collaborative project between the University of NSW Canberra Space and Air Force. These satellites are testing communications architecture and other satellite technologies built and developed right here in Australia!

Space Surveillance Telescope
The Royal Australian Air Force space surveillance telescope will survey the night skies, detecting and cataloguing objects in geosynchronous orbit (one that matches the Earth’s rotation on its axis) more than 30,000km above the Earth. This is a critical band for telecommunications satellites.

Start your career here

Defence + space study

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical) (Honours), UNSW (ADFA)
  • Bachelor of Aerospace Systems Engineering (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Mathematics
  • Air Force Avionics Technician initial military training and Cert IV in Aeroskills (Avionics)

Defence + space jobs

  • Air Force Aeronautical Engineer: $90,629*
  • Air Force Mission Controller: $80,857*
  • Air Force Intelligence Analyst (Geospatial): $79,555*
  • Army Telecoms Technician: $79,452*
  • Air Force Avionics Technician: $75,451*
  • AGO Grad Program: Starting salary of $71,207 and APS Level 4 salary of $77,739 on completion

* Pay on completion of initial military training and initial employment training.

This article was first published in Careers with STEM: Defence 2023. For more on Defence careers, head to our STEM + Defence hub!

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