4 mins read 04 Sep 2020

Calling Future Space Agents

Ever dreamed of working within the Space industry? The opportunity may well be within your reach as the Australian Space Agency releases new STEM learning resources as well as information and inspiration about a myriad of career paths within the Space industry now and in the future.

Kids taking part in the annual week-long coding event called Moonhack

Sparking an interest

The Space Agency aim to triple the size of the sector in Australia and to create up to 20,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. With that in mind, they are reaching out to our future space agents still at school.

‘Space facts for future space agents’ is the theme of the three resources bundles released by the Australian Space Agency as part of Science Week this year. The information sheets are aimed to bounce out quick facts to spark an interest in younger kids along with some colouring in pages just for fun.

The secondary school resource sheet is focused on career options and more importantly, how to engage in the space industry now, as a steppingstone to future studies and career options. The resource sheets are available from the Australian Space Agency website.

The Australian Space Discovery Centre

Feeding that spark of interest, The Australian Space Agency is due to open the first Australian Space Discovery Centre in 2021 which will be located in Adelaide, home of the Space Agency. Its aim is to ‘create a public place to inspire, educate and engage anyone who aspires to a career in space’.

The centre will combine spaces for hands-on interactive displays and information as well as career paths information and spaces for workshops, discussions and guest lectures.

Future career paths

As the Space Agency helps Australia move towards a thriving space industry, the skills required in supporting this industry is wide and varied. Careers vary from the more expected such as Astronauts and Engineering through to the lesser known specialist careers such as space doctors, archaeologists and anthropologists.

Our very own Space Australia resident writer, Vi Tran is combining her love of space with a medical degree and is working towards becoming a ‘space doctor’ and expert in the field. Through the University of Adelaide, Vi’s thesis involves determining what bedrest does to the gluteal muscles in the hip, and whether artificial gravity has any effect on the results. She is analysing data from the Artificial Gravity Bed Rest study at the European Space Agency (AGBRESA) to simulate the effects of microgravity on the body.

Vi’s interest in space began with a visit to an observatory as a child but it was meeting former astronaut and NASA administrator, Charles Bolden at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in 2017 in Adelaide that sealed the space deal for her.

"He told me that, as a space doctor, I could well be an ‘expert’ in my field and from then, I was hooked!" said Vi. "Whether it takes me to an Antarctica research analogue, the flight surgeon’s seat at Mission Control, or to outer space itself, I’m ready for it."

Vi’s tips for a career in space include seeking out interest groups, professional associations, and networks both in your area of interest and in the space industry.  Be proactive in seeking out opportunities.

Sage advice which the Australian Space Agency echoes with suggestions such as:

  • Join your local space, astronomy or engineering group like the National Space Society of Australia, Mars Society or Space Association of Australia,
  • Get involved in citizen science projects and challenges like the National Youth Science Forum, and
  • Participate in school challenges like the Australian Space Design Competition

Find out more from the Australian Space Agency