8 Outstanding SpaceTech Online Courses You Need to Know About
A career change can often feel like a decision of astronomical proportion, and making the move into the Space Tech Industry is certainly no exception. The space race has really only just begun, and if you’re looking to get your piece of pie in the sky, some reorientation and education can only help you. Few things are as exciting and mysterious as outer space, and to help you prepare for a career change oriented in the stars, we’ve compiled a list of some key SpaceTech online courses for navigating a change into the Space Tech Industry.
Development of the SpaceTech Industry
The intergovernmental European Space Agency has budgeted 390 million euros alone to the development of space technologies and infrastructures to make Europe more competitive when it comes to space. In addition to government initiatives like these, the space industry is also becoming increasingly privatized, so whether you’re looking for work in a governmental or startup capacity, there’s no shortage of need for entrepreneurs, engineers, and data scientists who think on a galactic scale.
However, competitiveness in SpaceTech sometimes does boil down to “rocket science”, and even then, the skills needed in this sector can often include a cocktail of data, science, and engineering related disciplines. The following courses attempt to cover the introductory elements of those fields in order to equip those seeking a foot in the doorway of the space tech industry.
8 High-Quality SpaceTech Online Courses
1. A Brief History of Human Spaceflight
First on our list is a simple and historical introduction to the space industry via the Coursera course, “A Brief History of Human Spaceflight.” We’d recommend this course to anyone whose interests are just starting to be peeked by space tech. This low commitment, 9-week course by the University of Houston covers the history of human beings and their relation to outer space, and can act as a useful primer for anyone regardless of their role in a space tech company.
To impact the future, you have to know your past, and this certificate course utilizes a series of lectures and readings, assessed by graded quizzes, to do just that.
2. Kinetics: Studying Spacecraft in Motion
The goal of Space Tech is simple; utilize cutting-edge technologies outside of earth to improve life on earth. Obviously, this means much of the products will need to operate outside of earth’s atmosphere and a good grasp of physics will be necessary. The course “Kinetics: Studying Spacecraft Motion” by the Aerospace department of the University of Colorado Boulder is an advanced course designed to equip engineering professionals to understand, predict, and model the movement of objects in outer space using mathematics and physics.
Students will spend 4 weeks being taught by 3 engineering professors via video lectures and graded concept checks to assess their understanding of the material. This course is valuable for those wanting to develop vehicles and objects that will be tumbling through space. As such, a background in engineering, mathematics, and physics is strongly suggested.
The Space Tech industry is brimming with things that typically fill the dreams of the most avid Sci-Fi enthusiasts, including robots. Whether it’s the automated doors of the International Space Station, state of the art factories, or high tech planetary rovers, Robotics is a key component to space tech and accordingly can provide great leverage for your entry into the field.
This advanced course on Robotics by the University of Colombia builds on previous skills to equip students with the foundations necessary for manipulating, planning, and programming robot systems. It’s a 12 week, fairly committal course and includes high-level instruction with hands-on projects (including navigating mobile robots) to assess and ensure the student masters the content. This course features a lot of prestige, which is the reason behind the higher priced certificate at the end as well as the prerequisites of college-level math.
4. Spacecraft Technology
Spacecraft is actually a somewhat broad term used to categorize anything we use to transport people, instruments, or other materials out of Earth’s atmosphere, and includes everything from rockets to satellites. Given the ever-evolving nature spacecraft in the industry and our technological dependence on satellites, there is a dire need for entrepreneurs and engineers in the growing spacecraft sector of space tech.
This Spacecraft Technology course by the leading technological University of Delft offers a highly valued program to ground students of preexisting engineering backgrounds with the concepts and practices required for designing and analyzing spacecraft. Students are immersed in all facets including technical theory, propulsion systems, and onboard data systems (one of the most in-demand specializations within the space tech industry at the moment).
This course lasts 13 weeks, awards a certificate, and is assessed via an online test and final project that revolves around a CubeSat Design Workshop. Software engineers, data scientists, or anyone else who might find themselves needing to be familiar with the workings of high tech spacecraft will certainly benefit from this course!
5. Data-Driven Astronomy
It’s no secret that the current technological revolution has resulted in a tidal wave of data and a dire need for data scientists to be able to analyze, handle, and interpret the output of the advanced machines and applications of the 21st century. The fields of astronomy and space are no different as the space tech industry is now relying heavily on data scientists to handle data produced by high powered telescopes, satellite imaging devices, and supercomputers.
This 6-week course by the University of Sydney on data-driven astronomy is for anyone looking to wet their feet in the field of Big Data, and to do so with an inclination towards space technology. This course uses graded quizzes, readings, and videos to teach students how to work with large datasets one would encounter in space driven fields through Python and SQL. Some basic programming experience is expected, but other than that, this highly reviewed course is open to the astronomically inquisitive regardless of professional background.
6. Satellite Orbit Determination
According to the Netherlands’ Space Office, satellite data is key to both scientific breakthroughs and new markets. This course in satellite orbit determination by TU Delft merges the previously mentioned realms of Big Data and Spacecraft technology. It teaches students to understand the science behind satellite orbit and how such an orbit applies to utilizing satellites for tracking systems and applications that utilize phenomena like GPS or Doppler.
This course guides students through 9 weeks of lectures, graded homework, and a final written exam to obtain a certificate in Satellite Orbit Determination. Some background in calculus and physics is expected, but other than that, this course is open to those who think they have the intellectual fortitude to dive into the subject matter.
7. Intelligent Machining
If there’s one thing that sets the Space Tech industry apart from any other industry, it’s that it relies on machinery and computation that is on a whole other level of self and environmental awareness. This means there’s a demand in the industry for professionals who are well aware of micro-technology, sensors, and the practical roles of smart machines.
This short, 4-week course approaches the concept of Intelligent Machines from the industrial and manufacturing angle, an angle Jean-Loic Galle of Thales space company cites as one of the 4 pillars of the space industry. Students will engage in readings, videos, and graded quizzes to further understand the use of intelligent machines including everything from conceptual basis to sensors and control mechanisms.
8) Technology in Transportation
Avionics essentially refers to the field of electronic systems in aircrafts that power everything from onboard computers to communication and navigation devices. Consequently, there is a great need for avionic experts in the space tech industry, as both satellites and spacecraft depend heavily on these systems.
This course on Technology in Transportation is one of a few you can find listed in MIT’s Aerospace department, and it provides a fundamental survey to avionics and other technologies that are crucial to transportation machines, including air and spacecraft. Students will learn about the transportation field, radar, GPS, aerodynamics, and more as students work through lectures and readings at their own pace (up to 13 weeks, or faster depending on how quickly you work!).
This is a previously taught, archived course, meaning there are graded assignments and tests available for download, but only as self-assessments to be utilized by the students. This may complicate tracking your progress, but being that this is a tried and true undergraduate course by MIT, it still retains incredible value for those wishing to branch out into avionics to further their career.
At first glance, the SpaceTech industry can seem like a vast and intimidating place to land oneself. However, in the broad picture, this just means that there are tons of ways to get your foot in the door. The best way is to dive into one of the aforementioned courses. You can couple these courses up with high-quality SpaceTech TED Talks to get an even deeper understanding of real-life applications. When it comes to the possibilities in space tech through engineering, data science, and entrepreneurship, not even the sky is your limit!
If you’re looking to begin your career in space tech and want to access as many resources as possible to jump-start the process, keep in touch through Facebook, Twitter, or get updates on jobs, internships and the European marketplace in our weekly spacetech newsletter.