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  • Do you think that the space industry is limited to astronauts and billionaires? If so, you need to think again!

    You can have so many careers in aerospace. If you look at what most astronauts do, they are not often engineers – they’re medical doctors, they are geologists, they’re biologists. You can come from literally any background to get involved in the space or aerospace industry.

    Philipp Sueltrop, Chief Technical Officer at Kea Aerospace

    The space industry is going to keep growing. The main thing that slows us down is getting great people.

    Stefan Powell, Co-founder of Dawn Aerospace

    We need a real diversity of different people coming through the school system.

    Sarah Kessans, synthetic biologist at the University of Canterbury

    Dream. Be innovative. Think outside the square. Careers that we think of today are not going to be the careers of tomorrow.

    David Perenara-O’Connell, Māngai, Tāwhaki Joint Venture

    These are a few statements from people working in Aotearoa New Zealand’s space sector. There are many more statements in the video below along with some of the dispositions required for people working in this industry.

    So you want to work in space?

    The space industry is getting bigger all of the time! Jennifer Blackburne from Dawn Aerospace says that anyone can be involved. People working in the space sector note some of the key dispositions that will be very helpful.

    Select here to view video transcript, discussion questions and copyright information.

    This activity introduces ākonga to 10 people who work in space-related/supported fields. It is designed to foster blue-sky thinking about how and where tamariki and rangatahi might see themselves in the space industry. It supports science and communication literacies.

    By the end of this activity, ākonga should be able to:

    • view videos and video transcripts to gather and interpret information
    • consider statements about the aerospace industry that resonate with them
    • consider their own personal dispositions and how these might support a future career in an aerospace industry.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Nature of science

    There are a number of misconceptions about who can be scientists, what scientists look like and the nature of their work. This activity helps to dispel some of these misconceptions and encourages tamariki and rangatahi to view their own dispositions and how they might underpin a space-related career.

    Related content

    The article Working in the space sector provides useful background information for this activity.

    Find out more about the scientists that feature in this activity, including videos of their work, in the following articles:

    Find out more about the myths of the nature of science and what it is actually like to work as a scientist.

    Useful links

    The New Zealand Space Agency has a careers in space page. It lists multiple career opportunities and has suggestions about what to study in school and after school.

    If you’d like to learn more about the missions, institutes and companies that the featured scientists are part of, please visit:


    This resource has been produced with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the support of the New Zealand Space Agency.

    Rights: Crown copyright

    Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the New Zealand Space Agency

    The New Zealand Space Agency, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is the lead government agency for space policy, regulation and sector development.

      Published 25 July 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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