In a time not all that long ago, you could have been forgiven for thinking a career in the space industry was something you would have to go overseas to do, and it involved being a rocket scientist or astronaut flying to the moon.
This is definitely not the case with a range of exciting careers now available in South Australia in an industry that’s making a difference to the way we live, and helping to create a sustainable future.
South Australia is committed to supporting the Australian Space Agency’s goal of tripling the size of the sector and creating up to 20,000 new Australian jobs by 2030. The jobs range from technical and engineer specialists and scientists through to roles in management and administration.
The state is home to the Australian Space Agency, Mission Control Centre, SmartSat Collaborative Research Centre and a bustling ecosystem of more than 100 space-related organisations.
If you’re thinking about a career in space—whether currently studying or considering a career change—now has never been a better time to be a part of this emerging industry.
Even if you aren’t a self-proclaimed ‘space nerd’, a career in space might be different to what you imagine. People interested in solving problems on Earth, including climate change, can play a role in the industry.
Space Data and Technology Consultant at Deloitte Australia, Samantha Santos, knew she had found her calling in space when she witnessed firsthand its ability to save lives during natural disasters in the Philippines.
“When super typhoon Yolanda hit us in 2013, the Philippines had to spend roughly AUD $1.5M just for satellite imagery of an affected area which would inform disaster relief. Being in the Pacific Ring of Fire, eyes in the sky were critical to condition monitoring,” Samantha said.
“When they launched the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat) program, my reason for wanting to be an engineer became clear: I wanted to build small satellites to aid disaster preparedness and response operations.”
Originally from the Philippines, Samantha studied Electronics and Communications Engineering at De La Salle University, a leading research university. After discovering the NASA Space Apps hackathon while studying, she was able to get first-hand exposure to the various use cases of satellite data such as powering robot boats for oceanic garbage patch cleanup.
“By the time I graduated, I knew the career progression opportunities in the space sector would be nearly impossible had I stayed, so I moved to Australia. Given Adelaide’s growing space and innovation ecosystem, it sounded like the best place for a person like me (fresh out of uni with an engineering degree) to launch my future.”
Samantha was able to get a job as a graduate at Deloitte’s Centre for Innovation and Technology before landing her current role with their Deloitte Space practice to deliver the GRAVITY Challenge, a global space innovation program connecting high-value business problems with people who can solve them.
“I get to work with an amazing team that harnesses the power of space to optimise everyday operations in industry and government and make an impact on climate change, education, societies and economies. The best part is that we get to lead the acceleration of growth opportunities for the South Australian space sector and help position it right at the centre of the global ecosystem.”
What makes South Australia unique when it comes to a career in the space industry? Samantha sums it up perfectly.
“South Australia’s strength is in its diversity and creativity. These shine through when you realise that everything we’re collectively working towards is to tackle the world’s most crucial challenges in healthcare, energy, environmental resources, mining, bushfires, national security and more,” she said.
“From a data and technology perspective, with South Australia building on the opportunities of NewSpace, that means future economic growth, large multi-disciplinary workforces, and increased investment to drive the adoption of space data across industries.”
Not just content with carving out a successful career for herself, Samantha is passionate about inspiring others to take up the challenge.
“My mission in the sector has always been to help people reimagine the ways space ties into all parts of our lives and its value in inspiring ambition, solving problems on Earth, and ensuring the next generation has a place they can call home.”
“Coming to Adelaide has made me realise that when you’re passionate about making a difference, the possibilities are endless with the power of space.”
To learn more about a career in South Australia’s space industry, head to www.FindYourPlaceSA.com