A new guide breaks down how to choose a career in the space industry, and how to land the job.
The space industry is huge, and its ranks are filled by astronauts, of course, but also engineers, computer programmers, writers, scientists and technicians. "Space Careers (opens in new tab)" (International Space Business Council, 2015) — written by Leonard David and Scott Sacknoff, with a foreword by astronaut Buzz Aldrin — delves into the nitty-gritty of finding which of those career paths best suits the reader's interests and the steps to take to get involved.
David is a 40-year veteran of space reporting and a longtime contributor to Space.com, and Sacknoff is an entrepreneur and a former aerospace engineer. The book is an update to the authors' 1998 book "The Space Publications Guide to Space Careers (opens in new tab)," and it's full of very specific, targeted information — turn to a random page, and a reader is likely to find company names and URLs, a list of space-related college scholarships or a table listing the required skills for a given role within NASA or a private space company. It also features short interviews with professionals in various space-related fields, describing their career paths and what they look for while hiring. [Best Space Books and Sci-Fi: A Space.com Reading List]
The book is aimed at high school, college and graduate students, or people looking for jobs in the industry, and the idea is to give accurate, up-to-date information on the careers that are out there beyond just astronaut (but it gives tips on how to become an astronaut, too).
"It will take more than rhetoric to assure that a strong and imaginative 21st-century space program becomes reality," Buzz Aldrin wrote in the book's foreword. "We must remain steadfast in our resolve to create new economic opportunity in space, assure the integrity and security of our home planet Earth, expand meaningful American cooperation in space with other nations, establish a permanent foothold on Mars, and move humanity outward into the universe at large."