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How to Pursue a Career in the Space Industry?

New Space is a vast, ever-evolving industry with cascades of innovation; it is projected to reach a trillion-dollar mark by global annual revenue in 2040, and dozens of new space tech companies are emerging year by year.

Engineers at JPL install the starboard legs and wheels on the Mars 2020 rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Engineers at JPL install the starboard legs and wheels on the Mars 2020 rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Having a space career is an exciting journey. Taking part in projects and solving issues that are of world-changing importance as broad as enabling the exploration of the universe and scientific discoveries, to improving services and quality of life on Earth.

While the media and stories most of the time showcase astronauts as the most common space-related career path, that is hardly the case. In fact, out of over one million professionals that the space industry employs today, just over 600 have been in space.

Space careers consist of technical and non-technical segments. The technical segment consists of all types of engineering jobs:

  • Aerospace engineering;

  • Cybersecurity;

  • Telecommunication engineering;

  • Software engineering;

  • Statistical engineering;

  • GIS engineering;

  • Mechanical engineering;

  • Electric engineering project control;

  • Software engineering;

  • Payload integration engineering;

  • etc.

Space companies are always seeking for new talent. (Image credit: Blue Origin Photo)
Space companies are always seeking for new talent. (Image credit: Blue Origin Photo)

While non-technical careers include:

  • Financial administration;

  • Communication;

  • Marketing;

  • Office support;

  • Human Resources;

  • Business development;

  • Sales;

  • Legal and regulatory fields;

  • etc.

As you see, space activities consist of quite a few segments, where each requires a different set of skillsets and specialties. In most cases you will need: Fluency in English and/or the language of the country where the company is based at; 2 to 4 years of relevant professional experience in a relevant field; Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant field.

Artist’s impression of the Carbonite+ satellite. (Image credit: SSTL)
Artist’s impression of the Carbonite+ satellite. (Image credit: SSTL)

Here are some of the actionable steps that can help you navigate your desired career choice and aid you in acquiring the skillset and experience that will help you stand out in the competitive applicant pool:

Step 1: Define Your Field of Interest

The first step will be to research the space industry and acquire an understanding of where it’s been and where it’s going. To this end, you can attend the International Space Convention 2023, and hear from over 150 leading companies and organizations as they discuss the uprising trends, technological advances, and issues in the industry. Additionally, you can subscribe to our Altair Insights Podcast, where joined with the industry’s most prominent experts, we decipher the success stories behind New Space companies and share insights about different segments of the industry and space business overall.

Step 2: Take Your Education to New Heights

A Background in STEM is vital if you’d like to get involved in the space industry. Look up degrees, courses, and certificate programs that are intertwined with the space industry. Even as a communications manager or a space lawyer, having a technical course background can help make you stand out on your path to a prosperous career.

Make sure to check out Altair Academy, where we offer a variety of courses from instructors from leading space companies and top-ranking educational institutions, providing you with a broad understanding of the new space industry, from spacecraft and launch vehicle design to applications, business models, communications, earth observation technology, regulatory and finance.

If you ever think about starting your own company in the space industry and would like to further deepen your understanding, download our free eBook - Space Business 101: 7 Steps to Position Yourself in the Next Trillion Dollar Industry.

''Space is for everybody. It’s not just for a few people in science or math, or for a select group of astronauts. That’s our new frontier out there, and it’s everybody’s business to know about space.'' – Christa McAuliffe (American teacher and astronaut, STS-51-L mission)

Step 3: Engage in Volunteer Activities and Participate in Space Competitions

Consider joining volunteer-driven non-profit organizations for the space industry and participating in hands-on projects and competitions like NASA International Space Apps Challenge, University Rover Challenge, or others.

Step 4: Expand Your Space Network

Building connections is crucial to succeeding in the search for your next space job. Attending industry-specific conferences and webinars, or interacting with space professionals on social platforms like LinkedIn or Space Impulse, is a great way of developing valuable relationships that may lead to recommendations and interview opportunities.

To jumpstart expanding your network, you can attend free monthly webinars held by Altair Academy, where leading experts of the industry discuss topics from planetary defense by deflecting the asteroids, to Earth observation technology and space power.

Step 5: Submit your Application!

Altair Careers acts as a direct connection link between the industry's top companies and professionals. By navigating through the Altair Careers Directory, you gain direct access to the hiring managers at the companies on the list, as well as getting to know their job openings.

Our platform allows you to submit your resume and display exactly why you are a standout hire, while our nurtured partnerships and astounding connections will give a boost to your search for the desired career in the space industry in the leading space organizations and companies, both nationally, and globally.

Stay on top of our jobs directory, as we are constantly updating new jobs.

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