Never before have humans had the technology to move exploration to the moon and mars. The 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) was held in Adelaide this week. Hosted by the Space Industry Association of Australia, Adelaide welcomed all members of the space sector – industry, government and academe.
SpaceX and Lockhead Martin announced new details on their plans for human exploration of Mars. The expedition will begin in the 2020s with current technology and available systems already planning to make this mission possible.
Elon Musk, who attended IAC, revealed further information of his own plans for settling Mars, describing the new BFR planetary coloniser design. The announcement was streamed live on Australia’s Science Channel.
IAC: All space & science
The University of Adelaide, a partnering organisation of IAC, holds a unique place in Australia’s space history. A founding partner in an international research effort, engineering students are currently building a cubesat, its Law School is running courses in Space Law. The team is looking at the legal framework for military uses of space while the physics department continues their long tradition of research into the ionosphere and near space environment.
Professor Alan Duffy (University of Swinburne), Lisa Kewley (Astro 3D), and Sarah Pearce (CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science) took to the stage to help guests understand the universe and improve life on earth with Australian astronomy.
Danielle Richey, Systems Engineer at Lockhead Martin, spoke about training the first woman on the moon for the spacecraft she’ll be riding. Gilmour Space, an Australian launch provider, spoke about the hybrid rockets for the small satellite they’re developing – offering low-cost access to space.
Space jobs soon to launch
The aeronautical industry is worth $420 billion and Australia is establishing a new space agency to tap into this – creating thousands of new jobs. The agency will support the development and application of space technologies.
“We have longstanding ties with NASA, exploring space together and generating all of these jobs. It will be a jobs industry-first agency,” said Astrophysicist Alan Duffy.
South Australia’s Labour Premier, Jay Weatherill, welcomed the announcement and believes the state is ready to participate in the future space industries – particularly with their manufacturing background and the new submarine build.
Some of the new roles that will grow in demand include Space Instrument Systems Engineer, Space Software Engineer, Aerospace Engineer, Structural Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, and Data Scientist. Space industry talent will require an understanding of computer science, software product development, programming, and new technologies.
Beyond job opportunities for engineers and technicians in space launch services and satellite manufacturing, the industry also needs specialists in other areas. For example, as a part of space industry supply chain, chemists are in demand to develop greener rocket fuel.
The space industry even requires lawyers. The international community has established an international treaty regime, regulating space activities and, as a part of this, Australia has accepted various obligations. Government and companies will need to access professional legal advice to ensure they aren’t violating Australia’s obligations under international space law.
Australia could also develop medical professionals who could be recruited to research the space environment’s impact on human bodies, in the same way NASA did.
The agency will serve as an important body to develop a cohesive space program. A stronger space industry can help Australia’s economic growth and, when it comes to being a leader in the space industry, Australia has a strong geographical advantage.
If you’d like to learn more information about jobs, skills and technologies within the space industry, please contact Jessica Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org.