Careers in Space Science

Space science is an amalgamation of various disciplines like physics, mechanical engineering, electronics engineering, materials science chemistry, biology, medicine psychology, computer science and other fields of scientific knowledge.

By definition space science is an all encompassing term that describes all of the various science fields that are concerned with the study of the Universe, generally also meaning excluding the Earth and outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The broad areas of socialization include astrophysics, galactic science, stellar science, non-Earth planetary science, biology of other planets astronautics/space travel space colonization and space defense.

Career Prospects:

The increasing effort and resources being invested in space research in India and other countries ensures that employment potential is increasing at an exponential rate. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) currently the world’s number four ranked space organization is very active and India ranks among the top three countries in terms of spending on space research as a percentage of their national GDP.

Currently space science is acing a shortage of talented youngsters as they are opting for better paying jobs. Being in space is not the only job of a space scientist, but it also involves work in the areas of meteorological services, environmental monitoring, gathering analyzing various astronomical data etc. A number of qualified engineers and technicians are required in the various search and space centers in India. Depending upon individual’s capabilities and performance, one can rise to the level of project managers, division heads, project directors, group directors, deputy directors and eventually directors.

During the research years, one can receive a monthly stipend ranging form Rs 8,000 –Rs 9,000, besides other grants and facilities. After completing research employment opportunities with different institutes increase. Various government bodies also employ astronomers as scientists, who are given high salaries with other perks and allowances. A beginner in the field of space services may be inducted as a researcher into an existing team already working on a project. With some years of research experience one can even apply to NASA or any other international space program for openings.

ISRO recruits MSc /BE /ME or PhD degree holders for their various fields of work. Some highly relevant discipline for scientists / engineers are aeronautical engineering, atmospheric sciences, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer, control systems, electrical, electro-optics, electronics, materials science, mechanical engineering, metallurgy engineering, metallurgy, remote sensing, structure engineering. and telecommunications.

Job opportunities are also available of those who posses industrial training certificate in various trades / skills such as electronics instrumentations, computer electronics and mechanical trades.

To provide high quality undergraduate and post graduate education and research programs in the field of space science and technology, Department of Space. Govt of India has set up the institute of Space Science and technology in 2007. This institute offers undergraduate BTech program in Avionics (50 seats), Aerospace Engineering (40 seats) and a five year integrated masters in Applied Sciences (30seats).

Applied Sciences encompass various branches of space science like astronomy, astrophysics, atmospheric science, remote sensing, planetary science etc and also integrated basic engineering with his course.

Candidates are short listed on the basis of their IIT JEE scores followed by personal counseling . All students are given access to the ISRO labs from day one. Students who successfully complete the academic program with a minimum first class are absorbed as Scientist/Engineer SC in ISRO with a service condition of five years.

The interest level is very high among the students but at the same time the stigma attached to the science that it seldom guarantees a job prevails here as well. But, it is only a myth. Unlike other sciences here PhD is not mandatory to get a decent job.

Apart from the specialized course offered by ISRO, a number of foreign universities also offer courses in various disciplines of space science. At the undergraduate level students need the SAT and TOEFL for admission to US universities and GRE and the TOEFL at the graduate level. The course fee is around $30,000 per year.