Eager to get off the planet? Perhaps you saw that NASA was looking for a new batch of astronauts, and you don’t meet the requirements? Or maybe you’d rather just work for the private sector? It’s hard to blame you, seeing as how men like Richard Branson, Paul Allen, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk are all throwing money at aerospace ventures. It’s clear that there is some sort of profit to be made in the heavens.
And you can be a part of it. Because it’s not just NASA that’s going to need astronauts and support staff — these private sector firms need talent as well.
As space opens up as a viable place for commercial activity, the aerospace industry is going to heat up. There will be companies shuttling tourists to and from the edge of the atmosphere, companies mining interplanetary bodies, firms designing and perfecting new propulsion systems, and those designing and perfecting the next stage of human space travel. It’s a rather remarkable time to be alive, and if you ever wanted to seriously go to outer space, your chances have never been higher.
Of course, these jobs are going to be in high demand, and overall, they’re going to be hard to get. Right now, most aerospace companies are in need of engineers, technicians, structural analysts, physicists, etc. But once these people lay the initial groundwork to make traveling to orbit as easy as boarding a Delta flight to Chicago, tons of other opportunities should open up too.
Someone will need to serve drinks on commercial space shuttles, after all.
But if you’re serious about a career in space exploration, there are many companies out there who need and want your talents. And we’ve put together a brief cheat sheet for you of where to look. Here are five companies that are leading the charge into outer space, and where you can look for opportunities to get you into the cosmos.
1. Planetary Resources
Want to make some serious money? Element extraction is where it’s at — and Planetary Resources is gearing up to literally mine space for precious metals and minerals.
That’s right — Planetary Resources is planning to mine asteroids. How could you not want to be involved with that? It’s like that movie Armageddon, without the nukes, A-list actors, and impending doom.
And Planetary Resources is on to something. There is an untold amount of money to be made from mining asteroids. Literally trillions of dollars. If something is scarce here on Earth, going out to space and mining it there is about to become a serious option. The company is not only hiring personnel to pilot vehicles and work in the lab, but looking at potential asteroid miners, too. Check out their listings here.
Who wouldn’t want to go work for Elon Musk? The man has all sorts of seemingly crazy ideas that he has the capital to finance, and without him, we wouldn’t have Tesla, or even the Hyperloop concept. And he has his own space company — because why not? SpaceX, as you may have heard, has been testing rockets for some time now, and has made some pretty tremendous leaps in terms of rocket science and engineering.
If you really want to aim big, SpaceX is the company to join. Its ultimate goal, after all, is to make it to Mars — and it doesn’t get much bigger than that. SpaceX is hiring for all kinds of positions, and the future looks bright for the company overall. Check here for current openings.
3. Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic had some recent bad press when one of its experimental aircraft crashed last year, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. Even so, the company is pressing on and trying to become the first company to offer commercial trips to space. And it’s well on its way to doing it.
If you’re more inclined to work in space tourism, rather than getting into the nitty gritty of the physics and engineering involved, Virgin Galactic may be the company for you. Though there’s still a long way to go before the company is firing on all cylinders, there are plenty of open jobs for technicians, administrators, and even cost analysts. Check here for the company’s full job listings page.
4. Vulcan Aerospace
If the coffers of Musk and Branson simply weren’t enough for you, how does working for a company under the watchful eyes of Paul Allen sound? Oh, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is involved too, with Stratolaunch Systems, another organization started by Allen.
That company is Vulcan Aerospace, a subsidiary of Allen’s Vulcan Inc. Vulcan Aerospace is hard at work “improving the convenience and reducing the cost of space access for the entrepreneur. This is the essential first step towards increasing the commercial use of space. It will be the next groundbreaking development for space transportation and exploration.”
As you can see from the photo above, Vulcan’s teams are working on building next-generation spacecraft, and they’re going to need talent. Check here for job openings.
5. Scaled Composites
Scaled Composites, a firm owned and operated under the Northrop Grumman umbrella, has been hard at work since the early 1980s. The company is based out of the Mojave Desert, where it works on designing and improving aircraft, and has worked in conjunction with many other aerospace companies, and the U.S. government, on several projects.
If working out of a desert hangar on some of the craziest aircraft imaginable sounds like it’s up your alley (and you can’t get hired at Area 51), Scaled Composites may be the company for you. The company is in need of structural analysts, engineers, and more.