Space has long been thought of as “the final frontier,” an unimaginably vast realm for contemplation and exploration for humanity now that we have mapped, photographed, and claimed practically every inch of our home planet Earth. Learning about outer space can be an important source of inspiration for those interested in the structure of the universe as explained by astronomy and astrophysics, the quest to discover extraterrestrial life through the lenses of chemistry and astrobiology, or the technical feats of astronauts, satellites, and space telescopes exploring solar systems near and far.
Space is also increasingly regarded as an important sector for business, with new possibilities emerging for low-cost satellite launches, mining and resource extraction of rare and valuable materials, and even space tourism. The burgeoning space industry includes giants like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin as well as prominent startups like SpaceX, Blue Horizon, and Rocket Labs, creating excellent opportunities in space for established businesses and entrepreneurs alike.
Space offers incredibly exciting career paths for engineers and other professionals and entrepreneurs with ambitions to lead the way in expanding the frontiers of humanity. Engineers with expertise in the kinematics and other principles of spacecraft motion required to build satellites, spaceships, and missiles can find terrific work opportunities in the private sector as well as federal government agencies like NASA and the Department of Defense. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, aerospace engineers earn a median annual salary of $116,500.
Absolutely. You can learn about a wide range of science and engineering topics on Coursera, including courses and Specializations spanning multiple courses on space. You can learn about physics, aerospace engineering, astrobiology, and other important topics for a career in space from top-ranked universities like the University of Arizona, University of Colorado Boulder, and University of Houston. And, since you can learn for a lower tuition cost than on-campus students, Coursera lets you build your knowledge of space without blowing your budget into the stratosphere.
If you're fascinated by all things related to the cosmos or if the idea of a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and/or math) college curriculum makes your heart skip a beat, then space studies may be the perfect career path for you. The field of space studies welcomes all kinds of people including builders, fixers, analysts, researchers, and explorers.
If you're up for a rigorous course of study, you can become an astronaut, a person trained to travel on a spacecraft. All crew members aboard a spacecraft have different jobs which include commander, astronaut pilot, mission specialist, payload specialist, and flight engineer. If you become an astronomer, you'll be using equipment like telescopes or space probes to study objects and phenomena within the cosmos like stars, planets, eclipses, and black holes. Then, you'll analyze the data you collect. If you become an astrophysicist, you'll focus on the study of time, space, matter, and energy and using the laws of physics to understand the universe. As an aerospace engineer, you'll be involved with the design and construction of aircraft and spacecraft, and as an avionics technician, you'll work with navigational and communications systems inside aircraft or spacecraft.
If you're interested in working for the government, you can set your sights on the military or NASA. If you're keen on working in the aerospace industry, you can apply for jobs at companies like Boeing or Lockheed Martin. If you want to get involved in commercial space flight from the ground up, then a job with a company like SpaceX or Blue Origin may be just right for you.
There are a variety of topics to study that intersect with the field of space studies, including telecommunications, robotics, earth science, meteorology, laser technology, radar technology, and sonar technology.
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