Space represents a huge career opportunity for anyone seeking a stimulating blend of intellectual rigour, challenge and excitement. Ingrida Juraite and Jessica Regan explain why it is time to reach for the stars.
At this time of global tumult, it is important to recognise the power and possibilities inherent in any endeavour which combines the potential of humankind and technology. New technologies and applications are emerging every day. These advances are taking us to places unimaginable even a few years ago – and space is a prime example.
The universe has long been a source of awe and wonder. Ever since Galileo built his first telescope in 1609, people young and old have been inspired by the promise of celestial exploration. Today is no different.
Here are five reasons why we should continue to “slip the surly bonds of earth” and step into the future.
Opportunities abound. The global space industry has a role to fit anyone who is interested. It offers the chance to be creative, be productive and bring new innovations to the world. And while some disciplines – like astrophysics – are clearly well suited, there are many others which are required to design and develop space technologies, as well as provide space services. So don’t be over-awed. Don’t let a lack of space specific knowledge put you off of going for roles – be ambitious.
Tackle the challenging problems. Taking just one example of many, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Tracking, Telemetry and Command Processor (TTCP) to the wider audience is known as an interplanetary smart phone, when in fact it’s so much more. Its ranging accuracy represents the galactic equivalent of hitting a dartboard in New York whilst standing in London, thus has required years of hard work, tons of innovation and a multitude of different disciplines to achieve it. Remember, space throws up its own unique problems – unless it’s a reconfigurable system, you can’t just press reset once it’s been launched. Unlike ground-based systems, once it’s up there, years of operation have to be managed remotely.
Think big. Space technologies are enablers for our visionary future. ESA’s world leading technology can track a spacecraft to within 10 centimetres anywhere in the Solar System. How cool is that? Another interesting area is reconfigurable payloads for the space systems – something that will help reduce costs while also encouraging multi-use missions.
Every contribution matters. Recently an intern of ours was worried that her design of a system chassis has nothing to do with space. True, there was no direct link at that point in time; but that chassis will go into ESA’s Deep Space ground stations around the world and help enable the overall chain of communications with a spacecraft undertaking vital scientific missions. Is that chassis going to be famous? No. But its delivery is critical.
A universe of options. Britain’s most recent man in space, Tim Peake, was a military pilot before he became an astronaut. As he says here, astronauts are just the tip of an iceberg when it comes to the sheer number of people involved in space flight. At BAE Systems we design and deliver solutions for both space agencies and commercial companies/organisations to enable future missions operating in near-earth and deep-space.
There are opportunities in abundance for people interested in pursuing a career amongst the stars – what are you waiting for?
About the authors
Ingrida Juraite, Group Leader, Communications and Monitoring, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence
Jessica Regan, Project Programme Portfolio Manager, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence
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