Author Topic: Embarking on a New Career  (Read 3848 times)

Offline ryanr113

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Embarking on a New Career
« on: 08/12/2017 04:28 am »
Hello everyone!

I am currently looking for advice on beginning my next career into the space industry working on rockets or other launch vehicles since it looks like the space industry is rebounding after the shuttle program was finished. It has been a passion of mine to work in the space industry after watching all the shuttle launches in the 80's and 90's while growing up. 

Here is a little background info on me. I just retired from a 20 year career in the Air Force where I was an aircraft maintainer (a.k.a. Crew Chief) on the B-1B Bomber for about 12 years and held positions as a Journeyman Technician, Craftsman Technician, Dedicated Crew Chief and Quality Assurance Inspector. I then taught 4 years as an instructor teaching B-1B bomber aircraft fundamentals. I then finished the last 4 years on the KC-10A Aerial Refueler where I worked as a Craftsman Technician, Flight-line Expediter and lastly as a Section Chief overseeing both crew chiefs and specialist technician's.

During my time in active duty I was able to finish a BS and AS degree both in Applied Management along with two Air Force AS degree's in Aviation Maintenance Technology and Instructor of Technology and Maintenance. The one thing that I didn't get during my service time was an A&P License. I am currently working on getting this as friends of mine with whom I used to work with while I was in service HIGHLY recommended it since they continued working in the aerospace industry as technicians after their time in the Air Force as aircraft maintainers.

So here are a few questions I have.

Are there any other certifications out there after the A&P License to better my chances of getting a job in the space industry? I tried applying to companies like ASRC Federal, Jacobs, and SpaceX thus far and only SpaceX has gotten back with me, but with a rejection email. The other two companies have yet to contact me. I keep searching other companies like Orbital ATK, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed, Boeing, etc. for space industry rocket like jobs also.

Would relocating to the Cape Canaveral or Orlando area better my chances of getting hired with the above companies since I currently live in the Las Vegas area? I feel as though I might be getting passed over since I am not local to the area?

There is a company currently out here Las Vegas known as Bigelow Aerospace that is building the inflatable habitats for use in space and the moon. I thought about working for them in the meantime would help me gain some experience in the assembly and production side of the space industry. Any thoughts on that?


Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Embarking on a New Career
« Reply #1 on: 08/12/2017 04:55 am »
I think you need to narrow your focus down to some specific type of work you want to do in the industry.  What specifically would you like to do in the rocket industry?  Once you do that, you can focus your resume on why your background fits the job you want to do.  Do you want to be on a launch crew?  Do you want to be involved in manufacturing?  Look at the job listings available for these companies.  If something strikes your interest ask here on the forum if people know the details of what the job entails.  I'm sure anyone who knows will be willing to share their knowledge.

P.S.  Good Luck and welcome to the forum.
« Last Edit: 08/12/2017 04:58 am by Eric Hedman »

Offline ryanr113

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Re: Embarking on a New Career
« Reply #2 on: 08/13/2017 05:07 pm »
The career focus areas that I would like to gain more insight on are launch vehicle processing/assembly or vehicle payload and integration as a technician. These two career areas interest me the most for what I would like to go into. Any information from anyone that currently or formerly worked in these career areas would be appreciated.

Offline D_Dom

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Re: Embarking on a New Career
« Reply #3 on: 08/14/2017 03:54 pm »
Thank you for your service. Your background will be a good fit for many of the employers mentioned. Sign up for the automatic notifications within each companies websites for the jobs you describe. Persistence and determination are the key, willingness to relocate is also good. Good luck!
Space is not merely a matter of life or death, it is considerably more important than that!

Offline Jim

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Re: Embarking on a New Career
« Reply #4 on: 08/14/2017 03:58 pm »
Just keep pounding away at the company websites. 

Orbital ATK, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed, Boeing, ULA, Spacex, Blue Origin, Loral, and Jacobs should cover them all.

there is nothing better than an A&P license.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2017 03:59 pm by Jim »

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Embarking on a New Career
« Reply #5 on: 08/14/2017 07:36 pm »
Try Virgin LauncherOne.

Offline J.Salter

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Re: Embarking on a New Career
« Reply #6 on: 09/06/2017 07:51 pm »
Looks like I'm late to the party but if you are willing to move, try SSL(Space Systems Loral).  Not rockets, but satellites.  Lots of ex-mil aviation guys or A&Ps, so you would fit right in.  they have several departments in integration and test including propulsion.  Downside is that you have to move to Palo Alto(crazy expensive) and it's cyclical industry.  Right now it is down.  But I knew several tech that went on to Space X and Orbital to work on rockets.

You would qualify to be a Quality Engineer with your background, which is higher up on the food chain than a technician.  Good luck.
« Last Edit: 09/06/2017 07:52 pm by J.Salter »