5 jobs you could land with a space science degree

Space science degree
The RMIT rocket team. Credit: Gail Iles

RMIT University’s brand-new Bachelor of Space Science will have you ready to launch into any one of these awesome space jobs.

If you’re one of those people who’s had your head in the stars since you were a kid and always knew a space career was on the radar – then a specific degree like RMIT’s new Bachelor of Space Science could be the perfect match.

Years in the making, the space science degree was launched in 2020 and offers up a tailored mix of physics, engineering, geospatial science, mathematics and specialised space studies. 

The three-year, full-time degree also includes a 12-week industry placement at one of the university’s big-name partners, like the Bureau of Meteorology Space Weather Services, CSIRO or Defence Science and Technology (DST) Space Systems. There is also an opportunity to take part in the European Space Agency’s Young Graduate Trainee program. 

RELATED: Why space careers matter in a post-pandemic world

Here are just a few of the awesome gigs a degree like this could set you up for… 

1. Satellite engineer

Satellites are a huge part of humanity’s technological progression, and are used in everything from communications to GPS and scientific research. As a satellite engineer, you design and manufacture satellites and even help write software to remotely control them from Earth. During the Bachelor of Space Science, you’ll also learn how to build nano and micro satellites. Companies like Optus, Sitael and Lockheed Martin hire satellite engineers.

2. Space weather analyst

Wondering if the Sun is going to explode any time soon? Or what impact those sunspots are going to have on us back on Earth? As a space weather analyst, you’ll monitor sunspots and solar flares to provide early warning of impacts to power grids and satellite operators, as well as emergency response communications on Earth. Training kicks off during your degree with courses developed in conjunction with the Bureau of Meteorology’s Space Weather Services.

Space science degree

3. Payload scientist

‘Payload’ means all the extra stuff loaded on a vehicle (we’re talking spacecraft). It could be equipment or a science experiment. A payload scientist or specialist is a member of a team chosen for their specific expertise in operating or working with a particular payload – for example, they might be the one conducting the experiment that is the whole point of  the mission, or operating some vital equipment on the spacecraft. Big public research organisations like CSIRO and DST are always on the lookout for scientists to help build payloads.

4. Propulsion technician

Can’t count backwards from 10 without screaming, “LIFT OFF!”? Then this could be the gig for you. Propulsion technicians or engineers are the brains behind propulsion systems – think rocket and jet engines. You’d be responsible for designing and manufacturing these machines to be safer, faster, more efficient or more powerful. You could land a job at one of RMIT’s industry partners, Black Sky Aerospace or Equatorial Launch Australia.

5. Flight or mission controller

NASA calls this job “the people behind the astronauts”. They play a crucial role in every space mission, monitoring and controlling all aspects of space flight in real-time, from launch to landing. Course subjects such as mission control, computer programming, and signal and systems engineering are all offered in the Bachelor of Space Science, setting you up for this seriously cool gig. Saber Astronautics – the company building the Australian Mission Control Centre in Adelaide – is also a partner on the RMIT degree. 

RELATED: First commercial spaceflight could open up new space careers

This post is brought to you in partnership with RMIT. Check out their Bachelor of Space Science degree here. If you have just finished year 12, discover what’s next at RMIT here

Gemma Chilton

Author: Gemma Chilton

Gemma is the Managing Editor of Careers with STEM magazine. She has previously worked as Digital Managing Editor at Australian Geographic and a staff writer at Cosmos science magazine.

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