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World Space Week 2021: 5 Careers You Didn’t Know You Could Explore in Space

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06 October 2021   |   by Explore Careers
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You’d have to have been living on another planet this year if you didn’t see at least a little bit in the news about Jeff Bezos taking off into the Earth’s orbit!

Beyond multi-billionaires, this year also saw the very first civilian mission into space. On September 15th, SpaceX successfully launched Inspiration4, dubbed the world’s first all-civilian mission by the private spaceflight company, making space flight history.

It’s an exciting time that will undoubtedly create some changes across the entire field of space travel – and with it, some exciting changes in space careers.

And what better way to celebrate and explore than through the vast array of events for World Space Week 2021!

What is World Space Week?

World Space Week (WSW) runs annually from October 4 to 10 in over 95 nations worldwide. The UN chose to run WSW during these dates to commemorate two key events in space history:

  1. October 4, 1957: Launch of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, opening the way for space exploration.
  2. October 10, 1967: The signing of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.

World Space Week is officially defined as: “an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition.”

According to the WSW website, there are six key goals the week aims to achieve:

  1. Provide unique leverage in space outreach and education.
  2. Educate people around the world about the benefits that they receive from space.
  3. Encourage greater use of space for sustainable economic development.
  4. Demonstrate public support for space programs.
  5. Excite young people about science, technology, engineering, and math.
  6. Foster international cooperation in space outreach and education.

5 Careers You Didn’t Know You Could Explore in Space

We all know some of the big scene careers within space travel and space exploration – astronaut being the main one – but getting a spacecraft into space, keeping it up there and bringing it home is a huge task.

One that requires a multitude of talents, expertise and skills.

Here’s a quick look at five careers you might not traditionally associate with space:

  1. Space Lawyer: Individuals and companies operating in space still need to abide by specific laws. The development of the commercial space sector has resulted in an increased need for lawyers who specialise in space law. Start-ups and companies in the space industry need legal advice to ensure their activities are compliant with relevant regulations. Space lawyers provide advice, prepare legal contracts and documentation to comply with Australian and international laws for space travel and exploration.
  2. Intelligent Games Developers: Intelligent game developers build, program and utilise systems and games in virtual reality, augmented reality and simulations. Simulation environments already play a significant role in training pilots in the aviation industry and they’re becoming vital for space flight preparation. In the space industry, simulations will help space operators practice missions before deployment in the real world.
  3. Flight Surgeon: Flight surgeons are specialised doctors assigned to manage and oversee the health of aerospace personnel like astronauts or pilots. Space travel poses various health hazards around weightlessness, diet and nutrition, travelling at speed and exposure to extra-planetary radiation, among other factors.
  4. Machine Learning & AI Engineer: Technology has come a long way since the first space missions; machine learning and AI being two giant leaps forward that can directly benefit space missions and exploration. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are specialisations within software development. These engineers teach computers how to analyse large amounts of data and find meaningful connections and patterns. These roles require knowledge of current industrial-level computer operating systems and coding languages like Python, Java and C++.
  5. Space Education Outreach Officer: As the field of space travel, exploration and careers grow, educating different audiences about what’s happening will be of high importance. Space Education Outreach Officers work across schools, universities, research departments, government and businesses to keep everyone up to date with what’s happening. Education outreach officers also plan to deliver educational event activities for school and higher education students. Events might be part of excursions at a museum or take place at an organisation’s premises.

Where to Find Out More

These roles are just a tiny peek at everything you could get involved in within the space industry!

You can find out more about the career opportunities and different job roles available via the Australian Space Discovery Centre here.

Don’t forget there are many exciting and educational events happening all this week for World Space Week, which can help you further build your knowledge of what’s happening in the space industry and hear from some fantastic individuals in the sector.

Here are a few taking place in Australia:

Check out the complete global list of events via the WSW website here.

Pathways into these careers will follow the usual pathways for most of these professional roles. For example, engineers will need to follow the accredited degree pathway, specialising as they go, likewise with doctors and lawyers.

Top tip: Check out our industry profiles to start learning all about how to get started in these career sectors!

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