Greetings fellow space travelers. When the news hit that NASA was shutting down the 30-year-old shuttle program back in July, quivers were sent across the American spine. No more Mr. Spocks, Captain Kirks, Lt. Uhuras and forget about the Klingons. They simply docked and disengaged. Is that so? Perk up your Vulcan ears, because it’s not over until it’s over.
On July 24, 2011 the shuttle program ended and The Obama administration refocused the space program on deep space and asteroid exploration. For now, the only way for Americans to reach orbit will be by hitching seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of $60 million a pop. You heard right 60 million a pop. That’s a lot of green backs. On the horizon, enters the entrepreneur.
Within a few years the job of getting Americans to reach orbit will be taken over by private companies such as; SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, Virgin Galactic or Boeing. Are they hiring? Yes they are. They are hiring for all space exploration related jobs.
SpaceX has a slew of job openings for propulsion engineers, manufacturing engineer, launch engineer, electrical engineer and GSE engineers. SpaceX was founded in 2002 by non-other than PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, now that is betting on a winner.
Virgin Galactic in April announced openings for pilots. They must be experienced graduates of a test-pilot school. “Who are broadly experienced with both high-performance fast-jet type airplanes and large multi-engine types (“Prior spaceflight experience is desirable,” the ad says.)They have since opened other positions.Virgin Galactic is owned by billionaire Sir Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin records.
Sierra Nevada Corporation has a boat load of engineering jobs, such as- software engineer, systems engineer, project engineer, and various other space exploration jobs. Sierra Nevada is run by, media shy, CEO Fatih Ozmen.
Other helpful websites:
Space Careers is a website that lists a large number of space related jobs, a space industry directory and a new and resource guide.
European Space Agency (ESA) This website primarily recruits astronauts. Remember to be an astronaut you must have advanced degrees in the sciences, and you have to be mentally and physically very fit. When I say physically fit, I mean athletic all-star fit. They do have other positions for those whose fitness lies elsewhere.
So, whether you want to be the engineer that designs the space ship or the space cowboy that rides it, there is something for you. Take a step forward, do your homework, and get back in the driver’s seat. May the force be with you.
J. Chacon is a Senior Employment Counselor that specializes in placement for Workforce Solutions – Northeast. She has over 10 years of experience in workforce development and recruiting.