• Question: How did you get your job and when did you get your job?

    Asked by 346tch48 to Vinita, Andrea, Charlie 🚀, Col Op, Kirsty on 15 Jun 2016. This question was also asked by 887tch48, corey cox, dylan245, Cameron Riminton, 347tch27, 249tch48.
    • Photo: Vinita Marwaha

      Vinita Marwaha answered on 15 Jun 2016:

      I currently work as a Space Operations Engineer at the European Space Agency (ESA). I first got the chance to work on spacesuits though a traineeship at ESA and later on as a consultant. I went to the International Space University (ISU) for a Masters degree and Space Studies Programme, which I’d highly recommend. This included a traineeship component that I carried out at ESA.

    • Photo: Andrea Boyd

      Andrea Boyd answered on 17 Jun 2016:

      I studied engineering at university and worked for about 5 years as a control systems engineer in Australia while volunteering with lots of unpaid space projects all around the world and had attended space conferences since first year university (there’s no paid space engineering work in Australia as there is no space industry) until I had enough professional engineering experience. I put this together with 10 years of volunteer space experiences and applied for the ISS Flight Control Team and two ISS engineering support positions and one ESA business development position. I researched all the space jobs in Europe and just applied for these four – only the exact ones I really wanted. I landed interviews for three and went as far as I could from Australia then had to sit the final part in person so I bought a one way ticket, spent 26hours in planes, moved my whole life to Europe, talked to my friends I’d met at space conferences who worked in Europe and one who worked at the company I wanted to work at the most to ask advice. At the same time I was helping organise another space conference in Italy and travelling. I spent many many hours in preparations and gave myself a month to sit these interviews and wait for the results. If I hadn’t gotten any of those jobs, I had a plan B: there was a control systems company in The Netherlands who wanted to hire me. At least then I’d be in the right continent to be around the space industry and apply again later. Thankfully, all the hard work and preparation paid off and I was offered my first preference as an ISS Flight Controller!

      Do lots of volunteer work.
      You’re so lucky to live in the UK with such a great space industry and even a space agency right in your backyard! Visit the National Space Centre in Leicester, go to ESA Harwell Open Days, visit Jodrell Bank in Manchester, go to the Farnborough International Airshow, visit the Armagh Planetarium, visit your local Astronomy observatories, the Science Museum in London and attend the many free space events and astronaut talks all around the UK!
      You’re already participating in this so you’re two steps ahead for a space career – epic initiative!
      Network – talk to everyone respectfully – it’s a small industry!
      Visit career days and check online for jobs you might like to do then see what education you would need to get there. There’s never a set route – you can take tons of different paths to go somewhere and you can change your mind part way through and go somewhere else!
      Be a student volunteer at conferences, you don’t get paid but you don’t have to pay to attend and you can see all the professional presentations and start to know the industry while you study.

    • Photo: Kirsty Lindsay

      Kirsty Lindsay answered on 20 Jun 2016:

      It might seems surprising but there is no special secret way to get a space job- it’s just liking getting a ‘normal’ job!

      I was looking for a PhD, and when I spotted this one I got really excited and applied through a website. I had to write a proposal and send my CV. A proposal is a document that shows an experiment idea with lot technical stuff like how you would organise the experiment and why you would collect data in a specific way.

      After that I was invited to a interview were I talked about my ideas, and answered some questions about physiotherapy and physiology. I was really lucky to be offered the position.

      My top tips for finding a space job ( or any job you would really love) would be enthusiastic about it and keep your eyes open,because opportunities can pop up when you least expect it!

    • Photo: Columbus Operations

      Columbus Operations answered on 23 Jun 2016:

      After University, I applied at the German Space Operations Centre (that’s where I’m working at right now) and they took me, so it worked out nicely.

      Now it’s been 3.5 years since I joined the team.