Read Careers with STEM: Space 2021

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TERM 1, 2021





jobs you could land with a space science degree! p6

Software Engineer @Space Startup

How to launch your own space startup p8 Dream space gig on the Gold Coast p9



e c a p s is h t h c Wat A

of jobs to fit your passions y lax ga ole wh a ’s ere th d an t for lift off – Australia’s space sector is se

anthony murfett deputy head, Australian space agency

y seem out job in the space sector ma to a select ble ila ava of reach, or only ronaut. ast an be to few who want many are re the is, But the good news lls ski EM ST on w dra t space jobs tha ent developm , and areas like software tal fabricating. industrial design, and me our everyday Space jobs are a part of here on Earth. lives and ma ke life easier cy aims to en Ag The Australian Space an space ali str Au triple the size of the space jobs re mo 0 00 20, sector and create 10 years. But in Australia in the next ple like you we’re going to need peo the space – the next generation of ppen. ha it workforce – to ma ke are tor sec Jobs in the space ple peo e Som d. incredibly varie

work in space law, or spa ce medicine, while others have expert ise in manufacturing or coding , research or communication. If you have an interest or curiosity in space, the re cou ld be a job out there for you in the near fut ure. I encourage you to think about what your passions are, what kinds of things interest you, and what sor ts of jobs might use those skills. Do you like teaching, working with your hand s, or being outdoors? Do you want to work with data, design things, or ma ke scientific discoveries? There are spa ce jobs that fit all of those intere sts, and many more. The great thing abo ut space is that it’s a brilliantly div erse field, and it’s on ly getting bigger. When it comes to your spa ce career, not even the sky’s the lim it! Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head of the Australian Space Agency


If you have an interest or curiosity in space, there could be a job out there for you in the near future”

Experience STEM@Griffith Wherever your interest lies, Griffith University has a STEM degree that’s right for you. Our degrees across science, technology, engineering and the environment are built around hands-on, project-based learning so you can take advantage of the exciting opportunities in STEM, now and into the future.





nched inspiring spac Meet two people who’ve lau

e careers into the cosmos


Neutrons in space

Instrument scientist sely’s Dr Helen Maynard-Ca ons has obsession with icy mocareer led to a fascinating


nt into science is One of the reasons I we have a lot of I’d e because it looked lik ’s cer tainly had she d An . fun,” says Helen – she’s done plenty of fun in her career wn hedgehog do ng nti hu everyt hing from evised flea circus, to fleas for Britain’s first tel World Record for the helping set the Guinness necklace. longest glow-in-the-dark trument ins Now, Helen is a senior ntre for instrument Ce an scientist at the Australi ere wh O, ST AN at ) NS (AC Neutron Scattering equipment called she works with a piece of nickname because its WOMBAT. (It has a cute nsity neutron rea l name, the high-inte mouthful.) diffractometer, is such a es helping other Most of Helen’s job involv d chemists to an s scientists – from biologist experiment to AT engineers – use WOMB ting them to jec sub s, ial with different mater pressure, temperature extreme conditions like ing what happens to or a vacuum, and reveal the material as a result. MBAT for her own But Helen also uses WO ut icy planets and research, which is all abo an (the largest of Tit moons. For example, on


Sat urn’s 82 moons) there are dunes, volcanoes dr helen and oceans, but they’re de of the maynard-casely same materials as on Helen uses instruments

How do all these materials, which are nothing like rocks, act a bit like rocks?” Master’s in Science (Planetary Science), University College London

PhD in High Pressure Physics, University of Edinburgh


like WOMBAT to recrea te the conditions on moons lik e Titan to try and find out how these geolog ica l features are formed. “The big question that drives me is: how do all these material s, which are nothing like rocks, act a bit like rocks?” she says. During her undergradu ate degree, Helen spent a day at the UK’s equiva lent to the ACNS and was instantly inspired. “There were gangplan ks, thing s chugging away, things that go whoosh. I thought, this is cool, this is not equipment yo u can have in the lab.” She pursued a PhD that would let her spend more time investigating moons and experimenting with neutr on scattering, and then spent some time wo rking as a researcher, then as a science commu nicator for a few months (hence the fleas and glow sticks). She then moved to Australia to work at the Australian Synchrotron, and now the ACNS. “The best thing about my job is working with people from all sor ts of backgrounds. I’m a people person!” she say s. – Ch loe Wa lker


Research Fellow, Australian Synchrotron

Instrument Scientist, ANSTO




ington james beiolvog ist



Life on Mars

Career launch path


lowed James says he’s always fol signing t an me ich wh , his interests tems up for a degree in biosys g a Master’s rin du , en Th . ing engineer ing at the eer in Environmental Engin ame bec he University of Georgia, thetic biology. syn in d ste increasingly intere crobes to become litt le “Basically engineering mi lains, which meant chemical factories”, he exp remes”. And it doesn’t get studying “life at the ext n life outside of Earth. much more extreme tha astrobiology. “I describe James then switched to edges and trying to it as studying life at the ndaries are,” he says. bou understand where the

To the future and beyond... James dreams of going into space for real and is working on a space startup to send mini satellites on exploration missions. Sending satellites to space is currently the domain of big agencies like NASA, but “that’s not how science is done,” says James. “Science is done with different labs across the world, reproducing each other’s experiments and adding knowledge incrementally. I’m trying to make planetary exploration a bit more like that, so anybody can send a mission to Mars.” – Gemma Chilton

I describe it as life at the edges andstudying trying to understand the boundaries are” where


Master of Science (Space Studies), International Space University Master of Environmental Engineering, The University of Georgia


thand experience ames Bevington has firs t… sor t of. living on the Red Plane m the US to James had just arrived fro SW Sydney UN at D Ph Australia to kick off his rt in a mock pa e tak to SA when he applied to NA ing eight months living mission to Mars – spend lcano in Hawaii, at on the side of a remote vo and he got in! 2500m above sea level – and took up the post of James deferred his PhD, Mission V to help commander of HI-SEAS team dynamics NASA understand how fare in an and human psychology extreme environment.

Bachelor of Biosystems Engineering, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

With engineering undergrad and Master’s degrees under his belt, James completed a Master of Science (Space Studies) at the International Space University in 2015 – two years later he was living in cramped quarters, commanding a crew of five and conducting experiments ‘on Mars’. James says he and his crew all agreed it was one of the most important experiences of their career. The work James was doing on the simulated Mars mission slightly shifted his research focus at UNSW when he returned to Australia. James’ PhD – which he’s almost finished – involves conducting experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) to study life at the edges and the plausibility of life on Mars. For example, he recently sent a plant to the ISS that had been engineered to have a controllable circuit in it. “We could flick a switch in the plant and it would turn from green to white,” he explains. Experiments like these could help humans on real-life missions to Mars in the future – like enabling us to use engineered plants to synthesise medicines, 56 million km away from Earth.

Commander, Mission V, HI-SEAS

PhD, Space Life Sciences, UNSW

obiologist Engineer turned astr EM career James Bevington’s ST is out of this world


dr david flanneresysor

adjunct Prof

t s i t n e i c s r a t s k c o R s r a M o t n o i s s i m a on PIC CREDIT / SHUTTERSTOCK

QUT researcher Dr David Flannery is living his dream career – helping NASA on its next Mars rover mission t eer rocks, literally. An Adjunc r David Flanner y’s STEM car NASA’s of er mb me key a also is – he Professor at QUT in Brisbane mis er sion. Mars 2020 Perseverance Rov science team working on the llion-km -mi along its seven-month, 480 The rover is more than halfway land in February 2021. journey to Mars and is due to eobiology and astrobiology pala y, David is using his geolog ect and Planet rocks the rover will coll expertise to decide which Red e tak will er rov the t out the path tha analyse. He is also mapping ds nee er rov The ks. roc se get to tho across the Martian surface to e on tim its ing dur can it dge ic knowle to get the most useful scientif ks to study is crucial. Mars, so choosing the right roc some of the rocks this mission “What’s also exciting is that id. transported to Earth,” says Dav samples will be the first to be re futu n the , them on this mission “We will find them and collect do ady alre can here. The rovers missions will transport them lly rs itself but if we want to rea Ma on nce amazing in-situ scie lyse ana to d nee we t, t and presen understand the planet’s pas th.” Ear on e those rocks her


Do what you love

e Do something you ar in, and be genuinely interestedme risks” prepared to take so bachelor of science (geology), Macquarie University

David also helps work on one of the instruments on the Perseverance Rover’s arm: the planetary instrument for X-ray lithochemistr y, or PIXL for sho rt. PIXL is an X-ray fluorescen ce spectrometer and high-resolu tion imager which maps elem ents to help tell us what Mars is ma de of. PIXL is led by QUT alu mnus Dr Abigail Allwood, who is bas ed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Cal ifornia. “QUT has a ver y exciting role to play in the mission,” David says. “We hope to participat e in NASA operations and con tribute to the science because that’s what we really have to offer.” Not only is David flying high with his career, he’s also doi ng what he's passionate about! “What I do is a huge amoun t of fun and if it wasn’t fun I wou ldn’t do it,” he says. “It mig ht sound cheesy but if you foll ow your interests you’ll be good at it and you’ll apply you rself well.” David also says the pathway to the right career may not be straightfor ward. “To be honest, I had no master plan when I was younger but I studied things that interested me. I had a bit of a meandering journey through a variety of fields to where I am now. “So, my advice is: do someth ing you are genuinely interes ted in, don’t expect riches – at least not immediately – and be prepared to take some risks.” – Matthew Brace

Visiting Research Scholar, MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences

Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar / full-time Research Scientist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)


PhD in astrobiology, UNSW

Adjunct Professor / Research Fellow, QUT





jobs you could land with a space science degree

RMIT University’s brand-new Bachelor of Space Science will have you ready to launch into any one of these awesome space jobs

who’s had your head f you’re one of those people kid and always knew in the stars since you were a ar – then a specific a space career was on the rad helor of Space Science degree like RMIT’s new Bac . could be the per fect match ce science degree Years in the making, the spa rs up a tailored mix offe and was launched in 2020 spatial science, of physics, engineering, geo space studies. mathematics and specialised ree also includes The three-year, full-time deg ent at one of the a 12-week industry placem rs, like the Bureau university’s big-name par tne er Ser vices, CSIRO of Meteorology Space Weath log y (DST) hno Tec or Defence Science and opportunity an also is re Space Systems. The ce Agency’s Spa an ope Eur to take par t in the gram. Young Graduate Trainee pro awesome gigs a degree the of few a just Here are .. like this could set you up for.


#1 Satellite engineer Satellites are a huge par t of humanity’s technological pro gression, and are used in everything from communications to GPS and scientific research. As a sat ellite engineer, you design and manufacture satellites and even help write sof tware to remotely control them from Earth. Dur ing the Bachelor of Space Scie nce, you’ll also learn how to build nano and micro satellites. Com panies like Optus, Sitael and Lockhe ed Martin hire satellite engine ers.

#2 Space weather analyst

Or what impact those g to explode any time soon? Wondering if the Sun is goin r analyst, you’ll k on Ear th? As a space weathe bac us on e hav to g goin are sunspots of impacts to power grids es to provide early warning flar r sola and ts spo sun r monito munications on Ear th. l as emergency response com wel as rs, rato ope e ellit sat and ped in conjunction r degree with courses develo Training kicks off during you s. gy’s Space Weather Ser vice with the Bureau of Meteorolo

#4 Propulsion technician

#3 Payload scientist


‘Payload’ means all the extra stuff loaded on a vehicle (we’re talk ing spacecraft). It could be equ ipment or a science experiment. A pay load scientist or specialist is a me mber of a team chosen for their spe cific expertise in operating or wor king with a par ticular payload – for exa mple, they might be the one conduc ting the experiment that is the whole point of the mission, or operating som e vital equipment on the spacecraft . Big public research organisations like CSIRO and DST are always on the lookou t for scientists to help build payloa ds.

Can’t count backwards from 10 without screaming, “LIF T OFF!”? Then this could be the gig for you. Propulsion technicians or engineers are the brains beh ind propulsion systems – thin k rocket and jet engines. You’d be responsible for designing and manufacturing these machin es to be safer, faster, more efficient or more powerful. You could land a job at one of RMIT’s ind ustry par tners, Black Sky Aerosp ace or Equatorial Launch Aus tralia.

#5 Flight or mission controller NASA calls this job “the people behind the astronauts”. They play a crucial role in every space mission, monitoring and controlling all aspects of space flight in real-time, from launch to landing. Course subjects such as mission control, computer programming, and signal and systems engineering are all offered in the Bachelor of Space Science, setting you up for this seriously cool gig. Saber Astronautics – the company building the Australian Mission Control Centre in Adelaide – is also a partner on the RMIT degree. – Gemma Chilton


CRICOS: 00122A | RTO: 3046

Be part of SPACE 2.0 — RMIT’s Bachelor of Space Science is a specialised STEM degree designed for the next generation of scientists to enter into an exciting career. The space industry is rapidly growing and as a leader in space science and engineering research, RMIT can teach you the skills needed to work in the $495 billion dollar industry. You’ll learn in custom-designed facilities, utilise industry-ready products and work with companies in Australia such as the Australian Space Agency, Saber Astronautics, Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, DST, Black Sky Aerospace and Equatorial Launch Australia. Be part of what’s next in Space 2.0.

Learn more Decide What’s next...





y n a p m o c e c a p s n Build your ow Do you love space? Think galactic and create your own startup!

flavia tata nardini space engineer


into the ‘new space age’ ustralia has blasted off megrown new-space and there are loads of ho startup scene, too. pioneers on the science

Find your passion

co-founder and CEO of Flavia Tata Nardini is the s. After an illustrious Fleet Space Technologie space engineer and international career as a moved to Australia. business developer, Flavia ng in the space industry, She wanted to keep worki local companies to choose but there weren’t a lot of ild my own,” she says. from. “So I decided to bu

STEM stars in startups Check out this stellar lineup of Aussie space entrepreneurs… Could you be next?

Dr Anastasia Volkova (FluoroSat) Anastasia is an aerospace scientist and engineer who founded her Sydneybased startup to improve food security with data from drones and satellites. “I believe the world can be a better place if we make smarter decisions,” she says.

Cosmic view

us to create a digita l ‘nervo Flavia started Fleet Space ites ell sat to rth Ea on ice dev system’ to connect every ings (IoT). Th of et ern Int the through t four shoebox-sized The launch of Fleet’s firs ts, was a first for an satellites, called cubesa to pany – and Flavia plans com Australian private ve ha ll wi “It s. 140 satellite grow the constellation to y, erg en ge na ma way we a profound impact on the says. she s,” rce ou water and res

Dr Alex Grant (Myriota) Electronic engineer, entrepreneur and researcher Alex co-founded Myriota to pioneer a new way of sending information between nanosatellites and devices worldwide. “Ninety per cent of the Earth’s surface lacks connectivity,” he says.

The time is right!


rs in ter time for entrepreneu There’s never been a bet u yo t bu , alia, says Flavia the space sector in Austr ess sin bu e know-how. Th need to have tech and biz t you don’t have to do it bu – nt rta side is more impo t nd a business partner tha on your own, she says. “Fi h bot nd sta der un you can completes you. Toget her d thinking big is a must. An .” on ati equ the parts of is a big step into the “Space entrepreneurship ver y high – the higher ion bit un known. Keep the am – Nadine Cranenburgh the better,” Flavia says.

Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering, University La Sapienza, Italy

Dr Patrick (Paddy) Neumann (Neumann Space) Paddy is a physicist and aerospace engineer who started Neumann Space to commercialise his research into miniature electric propulsion systems for spacecraft.

Masters of Space Engineering, University La Sapienza, Italy

Propulsion Test Engineer, European Space Agency, Netherlands

Consultant CubeSat Development, University of Adelaide


Co-founder and CEO, Fleet Space, Australia

Business Developer – International Relations, TNO, Qatar


s r a t s e h t r Reach fo r... ays to launch your space caree thw pa – e ers div d an – e om es Get inspired by these three aw fascinated by rowing up, Thomas Ireland was pulling toys ays alw was how things worked. “I ool sch h hig apart,” he says. After of he signed up for a Bachelor Software Engineer, fith Grif at rs) nou Engineering (Ho Gil mo ur Space Technologie cal and s University, majoring in electri his t of electronic engineering. As par cement at Gilmour degree, Thomas did work pla ospace startup based Space Technologies – an aer – which turned into st on Queensland’s Gold Coa tware engineer and sof a a full-time gig. He’s now building a rocket set par t of a team designing and ds by 2022. to deploy commercial payloa working on some Thomas loves his job and is ts. “I never really super-exciting space projec ce industry. I didn’t think imagined working in the spa e to home,” he says. there’d be companies so clos



Thomas Ireland

Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Electrical & Electronic), Griffith University


Undergraduate Engineer, Gilmour Space Technologies

Souza Paulo De , Griffith University Head of ICT

nt ingredient uriosity is the most importa , says Grif fith eer car M STE l for a successfu lo De Souza. University’s Head of ICT, Pau one of the of e nam the also is Curiosity t have travelled Mars rovers– spacecraft tha PhD in on the Red Planet. During his sor used sen a Germany, Paulo worked on rit and Spi ers rov by NASA aboard the Mars on NASA d rate abo coll Opportunity. He has now rs. yea rover missions for 15 went to small, Paulo grew up in Brazil and


Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering, Federal University of Espírito Santo, Brazil

PhD, Natural Sciences, Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany

Software Engineer, Gilmour Space Technologies

remote schools in the Amazo n. He signed up for a degree in electrical engineerin g but switched to physics because he wanted to learn about the fundamental nature of how things work. Space projects continue to be par t of Paulo’s day job at Grif fith University , which has par tnered with Gold Coast-based aerosp ace company Gilmour Space Technologies to design and build the largest-ever Australian-ma de satellite, due for launch in 2023. “There’s so much happening in Australia’s space sector righ t now, and there’ll be so much happening over the nex t 10 to 20 years,” Paulo says. “There are more opportunities than people available in Australia to take them up.”

Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO

Head of School (ICT), Griffith University

3 Jessie Christiansen Research Scientist, NASA

h school, n amateur astronomer in hig idea her Jessie Christiansen had no d to a career lea ld wou zing rga sta passion for ld cou get paid to at NASA. “I didn’t know you d it was an lise do this job. As soon as I rea ,” she says. ited exc actual career, I was really vanced (Ad e enc Sci With a Bachelor of er her und sity ver Uni fith Studies) from Grif and y om ron ast in PhD a belt, followed by


astrophysics, Jessie has wor ked at NASA in the US for more than eight yea rs. As a research scientist at NASA’ s Exoplanet Science Institute, she spends her days looking for planets around oth er stars. “I love discovery. I love being the first person to look at the data and go, there it is, there’s a new planet, or planet -like system or Ear th-like planet,” she says. –Gemma Chilton

Bachelor of Science (Advanced Studies), Griffith University

PhD, Astronomy and Astrophysics, UNSW


Research Scientist, NASA




s b o j e c a p s g Bringin down to Earth

Now hiring!

Ag ri-space roles to apply for on Earth: AI special ist Data scientist Electrica l engineer Machi ne lea rning engineer Software engineer Satel lite engineer

ming career than studying far d an d foo a to re mo ’s ere Th ng smarts are needed in mi far n ge xtNe . ps cro d an il so e space out-of-this-world industries, lik

To infinity and the fa rm

Forget the tractor-driving ste reotype – these days farmers are flying drones and rocking wearable tech. But the coolest thing abo ut Old MacDonald’s 21st century upg rade, is the fact that agricul ture roles are no longer reserved for physica l farms – or even Ear th in gen eral. Space companies are crying out for STEM grads with an advanced kno wledge of farming processes and sys tems to manage crops and wat er supplies via sophisticated space system s. And the awesome news for rec ent high school grads? It’s the per fect time to think about kickstartin g a study path into the indust ry, with Australia and New Zealand bot h recently establishing dedicat ed space agencies and committing to growing their industries.


cool space tech uses

New tech from the space sector is revolutionising farming, and there are loads of roles for STEM grads in creating it. Here are just a few of the coolest examples driven by data scientists, computer scientists and software engineers.


Harvesting space data

g out in space, Although satellites might han e bonus to those the data they collect is a hug ds on Ear th. fiel in agricultural and farming soil in a par ticular of te Har vesting info on the sta temps – all from er wat and area, pollution levels olutionising the rev is – ups setaccurate satellite e. accuracy of the landcare gam




Farmers have been tagging and tracking cattle for years, but thanks to a new reliance on space tech, their systems have come a long way from manual monitoring. In one of the coo lest research projects to com e out of 2020, large herds of wild water buf falo in the NT are being tracked and managed by next-gen space tech to generate data that rangers can use to reduce the impacts of the cattle on the environment. Hit up for the full story.

Driverless tractors


Yep, these are a thing! In the US, self-driving tractors cultivat e the majority of farmlands, with ma ny of them relying on sof tware stra ight out of NASA. In fact, the highly acc urate GPS signal errors and increas ed location smarts, makes this tech one of the space agency’s most gam echanging contributions to life on Ear th.

Tracking and tagging

Satellites for mapping

have al science agency, the CSIRO Experts at Australia’s nation -sensing ote rem to ing ord Acc ddocks. developed a new product – ePa rd for the tech will set the standa specialist Dr Franz Waldner, -use land e rov imp to ts duc pro iculture future geospatial digital agr ough alth , e satellite images we use maps and to track species. “Th lyse ana and re some to download, sto publicly available, are cumber one ds nee y onl d explains. “Our metho by the average person,” Franz ns.” isio dec and data-driven processes satellite image and relies on a science have my, satellite imagery and dat ono agr CSIRO staff skilled in t? – Cassie Steel the agri-tech. Space age, righ all had a hand in developing


discover more space careers on