Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tomorrow's Job Opportunities? Look Up - Literally

"10 Space Jobs From The Near Future"
GeekDad (April 7, 2010)

"The United States' government-run manned spaceflight program was given a one-two punch in the last year. First in August 2009, the Augustine Commission, that was appointed by the Obama administration, recommended that NASA look to commercial space operators to take on the burden of ferrying mission commanders, scientists, and specialists up to the International Space Station. And then in February 2010, the administration's 2011 budget reflected just that...."

"...So what will a job market for the aspiring space junkie look like in 20 - 30 years? For a long time, the single goal for kids that were spastic over spaceflight was to become an astronaut. Now, it looks like that job title is going to have some competition. Here are 10 non-scientist jobs I believe that youngsters should start to prepare for:..."

Then there's a list of job titles, with a one-paragraph description of each.
  • LEO Pilot (eventually, Lunar Transfer Pilot)
  • Space Travel Ticket Broker
  • Spaceport Traffic Control (also, On-orbit Traffic Control, Earth and Lunar)
  • Human-Rated Spacecraft Maintenance
  • Space Communications
  • Space Construction and Repair Specialist
  • Lunar Base Psychologist (presence on the Moon not required)
  • Mars Colony Psychologist
  • Nuclear and Solar Power Engineers
  • On-Orbit Refueling Specialist
No, I don't think the writer's joking. Those may not be the exact job titles listed in the D.O.T. (or its successor), but I'd be surprising if people didn't have jobs like that, around the time my kids are hitting retirement age. (That's not all that far away, I realize.)

This is an - interesting - time to live in. Someone around my age, Dr Franklin Ramon Chang-Diaz, is a retired Mission Specialist Astronaut with NASA. There's a pretty good writeup or two about him online, including:I'll allow myself a little nostalgic feeling about the 'good old days' when NASA and western-hemisphere spaceflight were pretty much synonymous. But I'm delighted to be living in a time when America has seven spaceports, India has sent probes to the Moon, and an entrepreneur is taking steps to make sure he gets in on the ground floor of low Earth orbit real estate.

"Ground floor"? "Low Earth orbit"?! We'll need new metaphors. Definitely.

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