Fri, 29 Sep 2023

6 Exciting Career Paths to Consider If You Love Space

08 Jun 2023, 18:24 GMT+10

Space has always fascinated humankind. The mysteries of the cosmos and the technological advancements that have enabled space travel and exploration stir our imagination. If you share this passion for space, there are several exciting career paths to consider. From the outside, it may seem too complicated but with the right qualifications and the appropriate field, you can truly succeed and find a career you're passionate about.

Aerospace Engineering

Designing and developing spacecraft and satellites requires highly skilled aerospace engineers. They conceptualize, design, build, test, and maintain spacecraft for communications, defense, or scientific research applications. With experience, aerospace engineers can take on more responsibilities leading design teams or research projects.

Conducting research in space technology is a key part of the job. Aerospace engineers explore new concepts like advanced propulsion systems, alternative fuels, lighter and stronger materials, and robotic systems. They test prototypes and computer simulations to evaluate options before integrating new technologies into spacecraft and space missions.


Studying the properties and behaviors of celestial objects like stars, galaxies, black holes, and neutron stars is the domain of astrophysicists. They observe these objects using ground and space-based telescopes, analyze the data to understand their physics and evolution and create theoretical models to explain their findings. Astrophysicists typically earn a doctorate in astrophysics or a related field like astronomy or physics.

Astrophysicists analyze space data from observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope. They search for clues about how stars and galaxies form and interact with each other, the geometry and fate of the universe, the existence of exoplanets, and the physics of extreme objects like neutron stars. Some astrophysicists operate space telescopes themselves or travel to work at observatories in remote locations.

Planetary Science

Dive into careers in space by investigating the origin and evolution of planets, moons, asteroids, and comets in our solar system and beyond. Planetary scientists, or planetologists, explore questions about how the solar system formed and changed over time. Most planetary scientists hold a Ph.D. in planetary science, astronomy, or a related field like geophysics.

By analyzing data on spacecraft like NASA's Cassini probe, planetary scientists investigate Saturn's rings and moons. They study the potential habitability of exoplanets and follow discoveries of new solar systems.

Fieldwork includes investigating meteorite impact sites, volcanic features, or polar landscapes on Earth that provide insights into planetary processes. Planetary scientists are involved with designing and proposing new space missions to explore our solar system.

Mission Operations

Managing and monitoring space missions requires mission operations specialists to work closely with spacecraft systems and flight control teams. They track spacecraft status, ensure systems function properly, and help solve any technical issues. During space missions, mission operations specialists relay communication between spacecraft and ground control, monitor data and telemetry, and coordinate with engineers and flight controllers if needed.

Mission operations specialists get to support exciting space missions from countdown to completion. They track new milestones in space exploration and play an important role in the success of crewed space missions.

Space Exploration and Astronomy

Participating in space missions as an astronaut is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers in space. Astronauts undergo intensive training to qualify for spaceflight and live on the International Space Station or future moon or Mars missions. At the same time, few become professional astronauts, and many support space programs as space scientists, flight controllers, instructors, and other roles.

Astronomers observe the night sky using ground-based telescopes and space telescopes like Hubble. They study cosmological phenomena like star formation, black holes, neutron stars, and exoplanets. Astronomers analyze collected data and images to expand our understanding of the universe and discover new celestial bodies and events. They typically earn a Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, or space science. Some astronomers travel to remote observatories, while others process data collected by space telescopes.

Space Policy and Law

Shaping policies and regulations for space activities is crucial as we enter a new era of space mining, tourism, and commercial spaceflight. Space policy analysts research and evaluate options for regulations and treaties on space traffic management, planetary protection, and space sustainability. They advise government agencies and private companies on policy directions and implications of space policies. Usually, a master's degree in public policy, international affairs, or space studies is required.

Addressing the legal aspects of space programs and commercial space activities is also important as space becomes more globally accessible. Space lawyers or space law specialists apply laws related to liability, intellectual property, contracts, and treaties to areas like space mining, space tourism, and satellite operations. They advise companies and space agencies on legal compliance and may help draft space-related policies, laws, and regulations. A law degree and expertise in space law are typically needed for this career path.


From exploring the cosmos to enabling space missions to shape space policies, there are many exciting careers for those passionate about space. While highly technical roles like aerospace engineering or astrophysics require advanced degrees, there are opportunities for various education levels. A thirst for discovery, problem-solving skills, and a vision for the future of space activities are useful qualities in any space career. The opportunities are vast and limited only by our imagination.

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