Do you dream to be an astronaut? Are you interested in solving the unknown mysteries of the universe? Love to take on the challenges of an unconventional career? Are you looking forward to serve your country? Well, if you have answered in the affirmative to any the above questions, you might as well look for a career in space science and technology.
Gone are those days when students were highly influenced by the creamy layer of career options, say doctors and engineers, and began chasing them ever since they cleared their 10th class examinations. The modern lifestyle and advanced technologies has given way for myriad alternatives to pursue a career in. One among them is space science. If the new discoveries about the solar system or studying satellites and their connection with the Earth have urged that dream within you, then it’s time that you fulfill it and make your country proud. Whether it is disaster management, weather forecasting, satellite navigation, or global communications, the space industry has plenty to offer. Space technology, or space science, is a broad term in itself, which includes astronomy and astrophysics, parametary atmospheres and aeronomy, earth sciences, and solar system studies. Some of the career options in space sciences are:
- Experts who design rockets have backgrounds in fields such as physics, astronomy and aeronautical engineering and all have thoroughly studied mathematics, science and engineering. As the name suggests, rocket scientists are responsible for designing, building and launching rockets.
- When people think of a career in space exploration, they think of astronauts. However, few people will actually have a career that leaves the ground, and this job is therefore a highly competitive choice. Astronauts must be involved in public events and must be skilled public speakers. They operate experiment apparatus and orbiter systems during space flight and conduct experiments on board the Space Shuttle or International Space Station.
- Aeronautical engineers are experts in the science of designing aircraft. Similar to rocket scientists but are not limited to creating rockets, aeronautical engineers have a broader range of career choices. While a person with a degree in aeronautics could work on airplanes, those who desire a career in space exploration would specialize in making space craft.
- A career in astrophysics requires in-depth knowledge of the physical properties of the universe, including density, luminosity, temperature and chemical composition. Astrophysicists gather and interpret large volumes of complex data. They continuously develop theories based on their interpretations and allow science to progress and evolve.
Astronomers have a thorough understanding of the science of the universe in regards to the origin, composition, movement, relative position, size and evolution of stars, planets and any astronomical object. Like astrophysicists, astronomers are largely responsible gathering and interpreting scientific data
Initially, these five disciplines were broadly classified under astronomy, but the recent boom has led to the categorization of space science into numerous sub-branches, some of them being cosmology, stellar science, planetary science, astronomy, astrology, and so on. This branch of science, or engineering, revolves around studying the Universe, excluding the Earth and outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Ever since India launched its satellite Rohini-1 from Sriharikota Island, space exploration and technology has continued to bring great honor and respect to the country. Help your nation touch new heights and achieve high-flying success by making a flourishing career in space science. But there is a catch to it. To make a career in space science, space applications, or space technology, an expertise of science subjects Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics is a must.
However, before you join a career in space science, it is necessary for you to know the various requirements of the field – which skills to develop, which courses to take, where to study, and whose advice to seek. As a career option, space science and technology is both exciting and challenging. So if you are in love with space science and ready to work hard, its time you get yourself ready for an exciting career ahead. There are quite a few institutes in India that train students for pursuing careers in space science and technology. The recently established Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) offers graduate and postgraduate programs in space science and related fields. Apart from IIST, a few other institutes like the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Space Application centre (SAC), National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) also offer research opportunities in space science and allied fields. Some of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) also offer specialization programs (M.Tech) in Space Technology, Astrophysics, Aerospace engineering etc.
The eligibility criteria for joining programs in space science and technology vary according to the specific requirements of each job. Admissions to the undergraduate courses at the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) is made on the basis of a candidate’s rank in the Joint entrance Examination conducted by IITs. In other places, candidates with B.Sc., M.Sc., B.E., M.E. or Ph.D. are usually selected. Study of science subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry at undergraduate level is usually a mandatory requirement. Pursuing a course in space science and technology can open up numerous career opportunities for students. Engineers with space science or technology qualification can find employment in organisations Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) or NAL (National Aeronautical Laboratories). They may also find employment with various private organisations in India and abroad that are involved in space research activities.
More and more smart graduates and research scholars across India are opting for an exciting career in space science, as is evident from thousands of applications the space agency ISRO gets every year, of late. Inability to attract best talent and retain those hired owing to better opportunities elsewhere forced the five-decade old organisation to set up a space university at Thiruvananthapuram to groom science and engineering graduates, which offers assistantship and a guaranteed job for a bright career. You might want to explore this possibility further. “On average, about 150,000 graduates and scholars apply every year for postings in our organisation though we select about 300-400 on merit and long-term commitment to become space scientists,” Indian Space Research Organisation chairman K. Radhakrishna mentioned in a summit in Banglore recently. It would be interesting to mention here, that the state-run ISRO, which was losing young scientists and scholars in droves earlier for a lucrative career in other sectors, especially the IT industry, and to its overseas counterparts, has also been able to retain as many over the past five years.
“We have seen a steep decline in exits from our organisation over the last five years. Voluntary attrition rate is also coming down substantially as many of those who have joined in the recent years are interested in a career in space science, as they find it too fascinating and exciting to pursue,” Radhakrishnan had said. Successful launch of the moon mission (Chandrayan-1) and dedicated space programs for various applications and national programmes during the past decade have inspired many science grads to explore a career in space science. To enhance capacity for launching more satellites for communications, broadcasting and spatial data, the space agency has initiated a series of measures in collaboration with its stakeholders to double-hiring during this decade. To convince more youngsters that a career in space science will be equally rewarding and remunerative, every year they are sponsoring about 1,000 science graduates and scholars from across the country to participate in various space summits held in India and interact with fellow scientists from the world over for inspiration.