Careers with STEM: Space 2022

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TERM 1, 2022




A to Z of space jobs (astronaut not included!) p4 Meet the stars of space security p8 From marine science to hunting for life on other planets p5




Think Science. Think QUT. Rabecka Joseph chose to study a Bachelor of Science Advanced (Honours) at QUT, anticipating that it would lead to better work opportunities as a biological researcher after she graduates.

Now settled into her stride at QUT, Rabecka finds practicals to be the most challenging part of her course, and also the most beneficial. Opportunities to work with advanced technologies and future applications are inspiring and rewarding.

As a science-loving high school student, Rabecka was particularly drawn to QUT’s emphasis on practical learning, realworld applications, student support and passionate STEM staff.

To discover more of Rabecka’s story and learn about studying science at QUT, search QUT Science.




5 reasons to launch your STEM career into space Australia’s space sector is taking off – here’s why you should be a part of it

Demand is sky-high (and gr


ing) Australia’s space sector is rela tively young – the Australian Space Agency (AS A) was only launched in 2018 – which means there’s plenty of room for growth. The ASA’s goal is to create 20,000 new space-related jobs by 2030. Get on board!

1 no There’s a job for you… n! ss matter your skills or pay, bioiology, urit Whether you’re into cyber sec ion – or vat ser con or g health, engineerin think of – can you d fiel basically any STEM growing s lia’ tra Aus there’s a job for you in ck out Che tor. sec and super-diverse space for e pag our A-Z of Space Jobs over the a taster of what’s out there!

2 ory You could be part of hiantstlea p”


t “gi Want to be a par t of the nex exciting time to er sup a It’s ? for humankind space sector be studying and working in the milestones as we inch ever closer to big on Mars, aut ron like seeing the first ast sfully mining ces suc discovering alien life or . ces asteroids for critical resour dis or covery Or maybe the next big step happen? is waiting for you to make it

y You can go your own wa ce sector would’ve meant

spa Not long ago, a career in the agency like NASA, but – nt me ern gov big a working for y risation of satellite technolog thanks largely to the miniatu off, meaning you don’t need – the startup scene is taking an eccentric billionaire to to be a government or even a. Find out more about bui launch your big space tech ide

your own space startup lding at p

5 Space jobs are helping save planet Earth


Got your sights set on an eco-career? Then don’t dismiss a job working in the space, er... space. These technologies play an important role in protecting our own planet, from better understanding weather patterns to identifying illegal logging through satellite imagery. – Gemma Chilton


4 ce The Australian spa h ort sector is set to be w , $12 billion by 2030 A. accord ing to the AS es! latt That's a whole lotta SPACE


s b o j e c a p s f o A-Z W … astronaut not included

A is for astrophysicist Applies the laws of physics and chemistry to explain what’s going on with the solar system.

B is for business manager Keeps up with the science world to create lucrative opportunities.

C is for cyber security specialist

Typically Earth-bound, implementing security measures to protect important computer systems.

D is for data scientist Uses analytics to look for business opportunities, track climate change insights or streamline processes!

E is for electrician

Same deal as on Earth – but in space. Constructs, installs and repairs electrical systems in spacecraft and satellites.

F is for fabricator

The tradies of the galaxy! Fabricates, fits, assembles and welds equipment used in spacecraft, satellites and ground stations.

G is for game developerbe

Programs interactive systems that can . used in training! Think: virtual reality (VR)

H is for health and safety officer

Ensures compliance with health and safety systems… for space-related stuff.

I is for instrumentation engineer


Specialises in the design and development of unique spacecraft instruments, like circuit boards and sensors!

J is for journalist

Technical journalists present complex info in a way the public can understand.

ith the space industry here in Oz predicted to triple in size over the coming decade, space-related careers are on the up! Lookout for these out-of-the-box next-gen roles. – Cassie Steel

K is for kinesiologist

Creates fitness plans for astronauts that consider insane things like microgravity!

L is for lawyer

Space lawyers provide advice and prep legal docs to ensure compliance with international space laws and treaties.

M is for mechanical technician Installs machinery, parts and equipment onto space aircraft.

N is for network administrator

Configuration, installation and maintenance of computer systems – with co-workers who are literally out in space!

O is for optical engineer

Develops different optics systems to be used in a spacecraft or satellites, sensing X-rays or infrared rays, for example.

P is for propulsion engineer Tests and manufactures spacecraft propulsion systems (aka the tech that makes them move).

Q is for quality assurance specialist

Examines materials, products, equipment, and other devices for any type of defects or irregularities. Eye for detail = essential!

R is for robotics engineer

T is for test technician

Testing is a huge deal in aerospace engineering. Everything from equipment, vehicles, machinery and even workflow processes are trialled, again and again.

U is for undergrad space science student

Not technically employed yet – but they’re on their way to landing an awesome next-gen role!

V is for vehicle engineer

Designs and tests brake systems, engines, fuel tech and transmissions on spacecraft, robotics and rockets.

W is for weather analyst

Monitors sunspots and solar flares to provide impact assessments to power grid and satellite operators, as well as emergency response comms on Earth.

X is for (e)xtreme high-altitude jumper

Supersonic free-falling essentially means jumping from space! Qualifications? Craziness!

Y is for YouTuber

Got science smarts and love sharing your knowledge? Carve a career in space + socials.

Z is for zzzzz

This is the space gig you’ve been dreaming of! Chances are if you kickstart the right study path, you can totally get there.

Builds and operates robots, robotic devices and systems used in anything space-related.

S is for space flight controller

A walking, talking comms channel between the crew, flight director and various specialists.

nd these gigs? Wanna know how to la for specific uni and VET courses. m Hit 4


anessa, who originally hails from landlocked Arizona, USA, says she “fell in love with the ocean” after watching The Little Mermaid movie and dreamed of being a scientist ever since she was a little girl. After high school, she moved all the way to Hawaii, to study a Bachelor of Science majoring in marine biology and microbiology. And while she may not have found mermaids, the degree opened her eyes to exciting possibilities. “My journey as an undergraduate exposed me to all the sciences and my love for biology grew from life on Earth to the possible existence of life in the cosmos,” she says. So, turning her gaze from the ocean to the stars, Vanessa signed up for a Masters, this time with a focus on astrobiology – the study of the formation, evolution and future of life beyond Earth.


Are we alone in the universe?

As part of her Masters project and with the help of a mentor, Vanessa had the opportunity to undertake not one but two internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where she worked on developing new ways to find signs of life

s. During her JPL internship, that same mento r introduced Vanessa to NASA scientist Dr David Flannery, who is a Professor at QUT in Brisbane and was on the hun t for PhD students. “The rest is histor y!” says Van essa, who is now in Australia, completing her PhD in astrobiology under the supervision of Dr Flannery. Through her research, Vaness a says she is asking “the most profound question fac ing humanity: are we alone in the universe?” More specifi cally, for her PhD she is investigating scientific metho ds to use when the rocks collected by NASA’s Persev erance rover on Mars are eventually brought back to Ear th. Combining her passion for oce an life and astrobiology, Vanessa’s career goal is to one day be a NASA mission scientist helping to look for life in the oceans of Jupiter and Saturn’s icy moons, Europa and Enceladus. – Gemma Chi lton

my love for bi ogy grew from life on eaol rth to the life in the cosmos ” 5

Master of Science (Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science), University of Hawaii

logy, da to study marine bio pe Ze a ss ne Va ed pir The Little Mermaid ins for life beyond Earth preserved in rocks from Ear th and meteo now she’s searching rite

Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology), University of Hawaii

Sea of opportunity

Intern, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

PhD Candidate (Astrobiology), QUT

phd student


vanessa zepeda




as hot as the Sun right now! t os alm are ns tio ica un mm co Careers in space



r time to carve out here’s never been a bette careers galaxy. But your place in the space you say! What space is so huge, we hear ere could you even should you study and wh the numbers, space work? Well, if you follow gy is an awesome field communications technolo ellite communication to explore – the global sat 6.63 billion in 2020 and market was worth US$6 every year until 2028. is expected to grow 9.8% d love all things If you’re keen on space an ing combo for tech, this could be a winn ns technology tio you. Space communica ellites that facilitate involves working with sat every single day communication on Earth e calls, broadcasting by helping to power phon und the world. and Internet access all aro

Jobs on Earth

So who’s hiring satellite pros? You could work for telecommunications companies like Optus, satellite TV providers lik e FOXTEL and satellite internet companies like iiNet. The Australian Defence Force also need s satellite specialists as satellites provide the m with long-range communications. – Louis e Meers

A universe of options


rking with satellites The cool thing about wo y to do it. Depending is there isn’t just one wa sts, you could be on your skills and intere bly technician anything from an assem who construct (they’re the clever people ms engineer (think satellites) to a space syste and testers). of them as the designers needs computer The space industry also are systems for scientists to build softw ers to monitor satellites, satellite controll nications technicians mu activity, and radiocom repair satellite to install, maintain and . communications systems


tudy municationivesrsityS space+com RMIT Un of Space Science,

A job in space comms do es you have to catch a rock n't mean et to ever y day. There are plen work ty of roles to play right here on Ear th!


Bachelor ace Technolog y, ring (Honours) / Sp Bachelor of Enginee urne University Swinb W chnolog y, TAFE NS ommunications Te lec Te Certificate III in

ications Jobs space+comcemenuginneer: $58K–$133K Aerospa 128K s engineer: $53K–$ Telecommunication $56K–$116K* Software engineer: .com rdi co ng to payscale *Source: salaries ac

Director, Space Scien ce and Technology Cen tre Curtin University ,

Shoot for the moon

planetary sc Professor

ed on to spaceflight rofessor Phil Bland got switch eight and the when he was about seven or nch lau ed into space. Voyager space probes were mories. It’s still one of his earliest me ce and planetary Now he’s the director of a spa l and his team of science research centre. Phi currently working on scientists and engineers are led the Binar Space a small spacecraf t project cal our first satellite in Program. “We’ve just flown ance that capability Ear th orbit. Our goal is to adv a Moon mission in to the point where we can fly three to four years’ time.”


It’s an incredibly exciting tim e for space and planetary science, according to Phil, with NASA going back to the Moon and on to Mars, plus the private sector engaging and investing in space exploration in a way that it nev er has before. “I hope that Australia engages with the science of space exploration in the way that oth er nations do,” he says. “Those nations fly challengin g missions because it benefits their space industry sectors in multiple ways. It’s jobs and growth via scienc e.” Phil’s advice for those wantin g to pursue STEM is to pick the thing you love. “If you ’re bouncing out of bed in the morning and can’t wa it to engage with a project or a problem, it’s easy to be good at it.” – Louise Meers

t the galaxy's the limi include looking career Other highlights in his space pas of Argentina, Pam the for impact craters in ser t Fireball Network as well as working on the De r where meteorites project, which aims to uncove . come from in the Solar System

I hope that Australia engages with the science of space exploration” 7

Bachelor of Science ology), University of Manc(Ge hester

nd phil bla ientist &

Research Fellow, The Open University

Director, Impacts an d Astromaterials Res earch Centre, Imperial College Lon don

Austr alian La eat e Fellowship, Curtin ur University

Planetary scientist an has his sights set on d Professor Phil Bland getting Australia to a Moon mission – and engage with of space exploration the science




Space+Security study

Advanced Diploma of Cyber Security, Victoria University Polytechnic Bachelor of Applied Data Analytics, The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Engineering, University of Western Australia Bachelor of Science (Computer Science), UNSW


Space+Security Jobs Penetration tester: $56K–$125K Security analyst: $55K–$101K Security engineer: $58K–$154K Security consultant: $58K–$150K* *Source: salaries according to

ecasts, fire monitoring and weather for sh bu to ss ce ac et ern int m Fro Earth safe is one of them... ing ep Ke s. ng thi ny ma for h we rely on space tec


very industry needs security specialists and space is no exception. Protecting satellites, ground stations and data links from hackers and terrorists is getting more important as we find new ways to use space-based technology in everyday life. The Australian Space Discovery Centre says cyber security experts are critical to the space industry to keep data transmissions safe. And the demand for these specialists in Australia is growing fast, with an increase of 7000 workers needing training by 2024. There’s more to the job than designing computer programs and networks to protect against cyber attacks, though. Security specialists need to be able to think about a problem from every angle to solve real-world security issues. So there are opportunities for STEM grads of all kinds! – Nadine Cranenburgh

Security skills Across the galaxy, security d guys and specialists out-think the bawhat it takes? save the day. Do you have

Persistence to make it easy Hackers aren’t going

ying the to catch them in the act. Staproblems gh tou gle distance to untan is part of the job.

Perceptiveness in someone Can you put yourself nk else’s shoes? The ability to thi st. like a hacker is a mu


Do you wonder what ays and people tick? If you’re alw t if?’, ha ‘w d asking ‘why?’, ‘how?’ an . ck you’re on the right tra

ication Great communtec hnology works Can you explain how derstand? in a way that anyone can un nd with It’s a skill that’s in high dema security employers.

Love to learn changing, and Cyber security is always

ve fast! If you’re curious and cra for you.** job the be uld co it , knowledge


Hanging UP there! Security consultant and telecommun

ications engineer Dr Jordan Pl otnek is tackling the problem of making su re space hardware can survive serious cy ber attacks

If you go into curity and then space, these good news is it’s very broa d”


ordan co-founded Anchoram Consulting after starting a PhD in space security. He realised there was a big gap in understanding how to design space systems that can withstand attacks. “A new challenge in security is keeping satellites up no matter what,” Jordan says.

jordan plotn

Security consultant ek an telecommunications d Curiosity and creativity engineer Jordan became interested in telecommunications engineering after watching a movie at an outdoor drive-in cinema. As he drove away, Jordan kept tabs on how far they went before the car radio lost the movie’s sound signal. “I became fascinated with electromagnetic waves and how we communicate over long distances,” he says. Jordan also got into coding in high school. He was leaning towards a uni course in IT security, but open day advisors steered him back towards engineering. “They said I’d be able to do everything including security,” he says. Then Jordan took a different turn, joining the Royal Australian Air Force through the undergraduate program,

New space age

Jordan says it’s an exciting tim e to get involved in space. And security skills are a gre at way to do it. “If you go into security and then space, the good news is it’s ver y broad. ” Jordan has worked with eng ineers, data scientists, psychologists and geologists . “These days, it’s not just about cyber security, but als o physical security and fraud, as well as people,” he says. What's more, with plans to lau nch an Australian-made lunar rover, things are only goi ng to get better. “Today’s hig h school students will do the coo l stuff. We’re just preparing the way,” Jordan says. – Nad ine Cranenburgh

Bachelor of Engineering (Telecommunication and Network Engineering) (Honours), Swinburne University of Technology Senior Security Architect (Air Traffic Management), Thales

which led to exciting experie nces as a cyber warfare officer. Par t of his pos t included leading the first cyber deployment to the Middle East. After leaving the airforce, Jor dan put his security skills to work designing Australia’ s first combined civilian and militar y air traffic control sys tem.

PhD, University of South Australia



Project Manager (Cyber Risk Remediation), Royal Australian Air Force Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Anchoram Consulting

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