. 24/7 Space News .
Next-generation space industry jobs ready for take-off
by Paul Brinkmann
Cape Canaveral FL (UPI) Mar 11, 2019

file imae only

As the United States approaches a return to human spaceflight and a rapid increase in the frequency of satellite launches, an entire generation of workers from the Apollo program and space shuttle days have retired.

A new generation of commercial space companies, dubbed "NewSpace," is emerging around the world and on Florida's Space Coast, where astronauts once departed for the moon missions of the 1960s and '70s and on space shuttle missions in the following decades.

Brevard County, where Kennedy Space Center is located, saw a bigger economic crash than the rest of the country during the Great Recession because of the end of the shuttle program. It has now returned to booming growth thanks to the economy and the boom in NewSpace companies.

Unemployment hit a low of 2.9 percent in Brevard in fall of 2018, down from almost 12 percent unemployment in 2010. The labor force hit a low of 189,740 people employed in 2011, but was back up to 224,200 people employed in December.

Central Florida companies have formed the Space Coast Consortium to revitalize the talent pool in the area, including OneWeb, Rocket Crafters, RUAG, Matrix, Precision Shapes, Discovery Aviation and Knights Armament.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin, which will build rockets just outside Kennedy Space Center, hasn't taken on a formal role in the group yet but is exploring it.

SpaceX, the most frequent launcher in Florida, is not formally part of the consortium but has been hiring for dozens of positions at Cape Canaveral. This week, the company launched a successful test of the Crew Dragon module, which aims to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, from Cape Canaveral.

Another new player, Firefly Aerospace, just announced another new rocket plant with plans to hire 200 workers in 2020.

Commercial space endeavours are expected to be a $3 trillion industry by 2035, according to a forecast by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

A study by Advanced Technology Services and ACNielsen in 2013 anticipated the growing demand and identified shortages not only of senior-level engineers, but also skilled labor in technology fundamentals, or soft skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, literacy, communication and collaboration.

The Space Coast of Florida is particularly challenged to ramp up the workforce eight years after the last shuttle launch. Hundreds of new workers are being hired at Cape Canaveral, where new rocket plants are opening as private companies renovate old launch pads.

Desperate for a new supply of talent, the consortium launched an official apprenticeship program based on a historic German model. Other companies in Texas and California are sponsoring model rocket programs for students, hiring interns and funding new programs at local schools.

"It's really getting into full gear now. We've been registered with the state and have openings now for 19 apprentices in seven companies for the first year," said Bryan Kamm, a consultant working with Florida space companies to launch the apprentice program.

The program requires a time commitment to the company of two to four years, when the student gets paid education with local colleges while also gaining experience and training in the workplace.

"This is exactly the problem of a growing industry in a growing economy, with the unemployment rate at 2 or 3 percent in some areas," said Kai Schmidt, director of human resources at OneWeb, which plans to launch a global constellation of thousands of satellites. OneWeb has built a new satellite manufacturing plant near KSC, the first of its kind in Florida.

"Unlike internships, the apprentice program enables another career path," Schmidt said, "because some people are more practice-oriented, and don't want to do four years of college, or more, right away."

He said OneWeb is ready to support a program that builds talent for the entire industry, because that is the scale of what's needed, to match the widespread growth.

OneWeb's workforce will include 80 mechatronic technicians or manufacturing associates, which require skills but not necessarily a college degree. It plans to begin manufacturing of satellites in March after a few delays while getting its supply chain organized and establishing locations for ground control of satellites, Schmidt said.

Getting a 2018 internship with rocket company Firefly was a transformative experience for aerospace engineering student Noah Gula.

He went from Ohio State University's campus, where the late senator and astronaut John Glenn's name is on buildings and programs, to a summer internship program at Firefly's headquarters in Cedar Park, Texas.

"I'd never really worked on building a real rocket before. There were a lot of things I didn't expect," said Gula, 21. "I worked hard, and had a wonderful time."

Beyond the apprentice or intern level, the industry also making direct appeals to schools, kindergarten through 12th grade. Real rocket companies like Firefly are wading in hip-deep to promote, fund and mentor model rocketry and experimental programs like the nonprofit Base 11 Space Challenge.

That competition is engaging college-level teams to design, build and launch a liquid-propelled, single-stage rocket to an altitude of 100 kilometers by December 30, 2021 - for a $1 million prize. Aimed specifically at beefing up science and math skills among middle-class and minority communities, the Base 11 challenge has partners in big industry like CalTech, Verizon and the Deloitte Foundation.

Base 11 is floating another $1.5 million grant to one of the nation's historically black colleges and universities to launch its own liquid-fuel rocketry program.

Schmidt is working from OneWeb's offices in Satellite Beach, Fla, where he says local schools are doing well in preparing students.

NewSpace companies are not looking only for people with training or degrees in science and engineering, although that helps.

"We need proactive people, not people who are waiting for instruction, and people who work together and rely on each other," Schmidt said. "We focus on soft skills, actually, like being polite, sharing, teamwork, listening, learning by overcoming mistakes, courage, curiosity, speaking up. If we have those qualities, we can bridge knowledge gaps."

Firefly CEO Tom Markusic said he wants America to continue to be the pre-eminent space-faring nation. The company recently donated $1 million to University of Texas to develop rocket science programs and is putting together a model rocket program for students.

Out of that grew the Firefly Academy, where 15 college students come to the company's headquarters every Monday night to learn on site. Markusic also goes to UT to give lectures.

Firefly is also helping UT's rocketry team prepare for the Base 11 Space Challenge.

"We want rocketry to be a discipline of excellence at the UT," he said. "Once we get set up in Florida that will be a priority there also."

Source: Copyright UPI Next-generation space industry jobs ready for take-off

Related Links
Space Industry News
The latest information about the Commercial Satellite Industry

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Historic investments in Canada's space program to create jobs and new industries
Saint-Hubert, Canada (SPX) Mar 01, 2019
From pioneering satellite communications technologies to building the 'Canadarm' and space-based radar systems, Canada has made key contributions to space science and technology for close to six decades. Investing in science, innovation, and research unlocks new opportunities for economic growth, creates thousands of jobs for hard-working Canadians, and helps us understand the world we live in and our place in it. Fifty years after the Moon landing, space exploration is entering a new chapter - an ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

The First Humans in Space

New Moon-Mars mission in progress at HI-SEAS habitat

NASA, Roscosmos reach consensus on Dragon unmanned flight to ISS

Russia to Invest Over $450,000 in Development of Backpack Vacuum Cleaner for ISS

German engineers produce and test 3D-printed rocket engine

Illinois Native Uses Experience On Farm To Build Deep Space Rocket

N. Korea rocket site appears 'operational' again: US experts

D-orbit signs framework agreement with Firefly to acquire launch capacity

SWIM Project Maps Potential Sources of Mars Water

Major challenges to sending astronauts to search for life on Mars

Researchers outline goals for collecting and studying samples from Mars

Simulated extravehicular activity science operations for Mars exploration

China's lunar rover studies stones on moon's far side

China improves Long March-6 rocket for growing commercial launches

Seed of moon's first sprout: Chinese scientists' endeavor

China to send over 50 spacecraft into space via over 30 launches in 2019

ISRO to Launch Nearly 30 Satellites in March on New PSLV Rocket

GMV controls the first satellites of OneWeb's mega-constellation

ESA approves SMILE mission with the Chinese Academy of Sciences

OneWeb Makes History as First Launch Mission Is a Success

French armed forces tap Thales for coastal surveillance radars

Matrix could ensure vital copper supplies

Nanotechnology and sunlight clear the way for better visibility

Researchers find potential new source of rare earth elements

Chances for Life Expand When Binary Stars Push Together

Kepler's First Exoplanet Candidate Confirmed, 10 Years After Launch

The case of the over-tilting exoplanets

Exiled planet linked to stellar flyby 3 million years ago

SwRI-led New Horizons research indicates small Kuiper Belt objects are surprisingly rare

Astronomers Optimistic About Planet Nine's Existence

New Horizons Spacecraft Returns Its Sharpest Views of Ultima Thule

Tiny Neptune Moon Spotted by Hubble May Have Broken from Larger Moon

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.