Author Topic: 5 year ICT course.  (Read 1238 times)

5 year ICT course.
« on: 05/27/2018 09:46 AM »
How far would i get within the space industry when wanting to become an astrophysicist/astronaut?

I've had this question for a while and was asking around on dutch forums since I am dutch. Was wondering if any of you had anything to say or give info. Thanks for replying or not in advance. :P

Offline Mondagun

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Re: 5 year ICT course.
« Reply #1 on: 05/27/2018 11:46 PM »
Plenty of good internet articles have already been written by other people on this topic. One example: Ask Ethan: How do I become an astrophysicist/astronaut?. This article focuses on the NASA astronaut corps, but the ESA astronaut corps functions very similiarly and the advice will still be applicable.

Offline Burninate

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Re: 5 year ICT course.
« Reply #2 on: 05/28/2018 12:59 AM »
You want optimal chances?  It's gonna set you back more than 5 years if you're starting at the end of secondary school.

EDIT: This is more in response to a question like "I want to be an astronaut when I grow up. How do I develop my career to get selected to go to Mars?" than what was actually asked.

Get a dual bachelor's in engineering and geology with a minor in biology, with a couple research internships in different space-related labs under your belt and a side gig writing software.  Do well academically - be top of your class.  Then pursue a postgraduate degree in planetary science or some engineering sub-discipline while doing something (pay or internship) on the side related to actual spacecraft engineering work, either at a company or a research institute (lots of Cubesats out there these days;  Expect even more in the years to come).  Leave with a few successful publications under your belt.  Get some moderate medical training, like a Wilderness First Responder course;  On the topic of short courses, SCUBA diving would also be at least slightly advantageous.

Joining the Dutch air force would be a strong benefit, but it's unclear that it's worth the time for the sort of horizons we're looking at.  Historically the military has dominated the qualifications of the people that entered space programs, but SpaceX is likely to break that pattern.

Understand: It's still a long shot, unless things go exceedingly optimistically with various space programs.  But this path exposes you to enough different things that you have plentiful inviting fallback options.  In the event we do end up with a massive colony on Mars or big space hotels in LEO, this gives you a very plausible possibility of having skills in demand on-site that are not trivial to do remotely.

Also understand: You're gonna be giving up (or at least delaying) major parts of life for this.  One starts to notice the highly productive overachievers in one's life because one makes reference jokes to popular culture and they don't get it;  It happens once and it's a fluke, it happens once a day and you realize you're dealing with someone that has spent all their spare time on their core objectives.  It is not possible to do all these things well and *also* pursue lots of unrelated hobbies, like gaming, television/movies, partying, parenting.
« Last Edit: 05/29/2018 09:25 PM by Burninate »

Offline Mondagun

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Re: 5 year ICT course.
« Reply #3 on: 05/28/2018 09:22 PM »
You want optimal chances?  It's gonna set you back more than 5 years if you're starting at the end of secondary school.

Get a dual bachelor's in engineering and geology with a minor in biology, with a couple research internships in different space-related labs under your belt and a side gig writing software.  Do well academically - be top of your class.  Then pursue a postgraduate degree in planetary science or some engineering sub-discipline while doing something (pay or internship) on the side related to actual spacecraft engineering work, either at a company or a research institute (lots of Cubesats out there these days;  Expect even more in the years to come).  Leave with a few successful publications under your belt.  Get some moderate medical training, like a Wilderness First Responder course;  On the topic of short courses, SCUBA diving would also be at least slightly advantageous.

Joining the Dutch air force would be a strong benefit, but it's unclear that it's worth the time for the sort of horizons we're looking at.  Historically the military has dominated the qualifications of the people that entered space programs, but SpaceX is likely to break that pattern.

Understand: It's still a long shot, unless things go exceedingly optimistically with various space programs.  But this path exposes you to enough different things that you have plentiful inviting fallback options.  In the event we do end up with a massive colony on Mars or big space hotels in LEO, this gives you a very plausible possibility of having skills in demand on-site that are not trivial to do remotely.

Also understand: You're gonna be giving up (or at least delaying) major parts of life for this.  One starts to notice the highly productive overachievers in one's life because one makes reference jokes to popular culture and they don't get it;  It happens once and it's a fluke, it happens once a day and you realize you're dealing with someone that has spent all their spare time on their core objectives.  It is not possible to do all these things well and *also* pursue lots of unrelated hobbies, like gaming, television/movies, partying, parenting.
Maybe one more thing to add to this:
grab every opportunity that you can get to practice and improve your presentation/speaking skills.  Doing public outreach is a major part of the job of a NASA/ESA astronaut. The ability to be an effective spokesperson for the entire space agency is something that will also be selected upon during astronaut recruiting.

Offline mshear

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Re: 5 year ICT course.
« Reply #4 on: 05/29/2018 01:06 AM »

Understand: It's still a long shot, unless things go exceedingly optimistically with various space programs.  But this path exposes you to enough different things that you have plentiful inviting fallback options.


This is kind of the key part.  I'm not in the space field - unless being a space cadet counts, like everybody else reading this forum - but I'm a physician and as such I constantly get the question from students of "how do I get into med school" which is a long (but not nearly so much so as going for astronaut!) shot as well.  My standard answer is "Don't try.". Instead, study something that you really want to do and really love, and if med school happens than great... but if not, you've still got a career in a field you love whereas if you major in pre-med and don't get in you're flipping burgers.  I would propose that the same goes for an aspiring astronaut as well; obviously do something science or engineering related, but pick it based on what you like and want to do for your life rather than with an eye towards applying for an astronaut program. 

I practiced what I preach, by the way; two degrees in engineering before I switched tracks to medicine and would have been quite happy in engineering.  Still haven't given up the dream of applying to an astronaut program myself either...although my wife tells me otherwise!

-Mike

Re: 5 year ICT course.
« Reply #5 on: 05/29/2018 07:51 AM »
Thank you all for your replies, appreciate it. I will be trying to be the "best" on my next college, I will also consider joining the Dutch Air Force if needed. Thank you again  :P

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