May 26, 1961: President John F. Kennedy promises to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade, supercharging the Space Race. August 31, 2011: NASA formally ends its space shuttle program, creating a void in government-funded space exploration. Over the last seven years, private companies have stepped up to fill this void, creating exciting, new career possibilities–no astronaut training required.
What Is NewSpace?
You’re probably already familiar with “NewSpace” even if you’ve never heard this term. Also known as “Space 2.0,” “commercial space,” “entrepreneurial space,” and “astropreneurship,” NewSpace is the commercialization of space by private companies. These companies are working to create faster, better and more affordable access to space via spaceflight technologies and new space missions.
Two of the best-known companies are SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, and Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos. In 2017, SpaceX became the first company to successfully re-launch and land the first stage of an orbital rocket. Two other important NewSpace players are Rocket Lab and OneWeb.
Rocket Lab, based in Huntington Beach, CA, services the small-satellite market with its Electron rocket. This rocket can deliver 150-kilogram payloads to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and potentially beyond. Rocket Lab just had its first successful commercial launch and is poised to pick up business from dozens of companies building constellations of small satellites that rely on powerful, miniaturized electronics.
OneWeb’s mission is different; it’s using space to expand Internet access here on Earth. The company’s OneWeb satellite constellation is set to launch nearly 650 LEO microsatellites to provide Internet services to hundreds of millions of people who don’t have broadband access.
These newer companies are taking business away from the United Launch Alliance, which consists of legacy players like Boeing and Lockheed. Imagine saying, “I want to launch a satellite into space,” and being told, “No problem, let’s load it up and make it happen.” That may seem like a crazy idea, but it’s where we’re at with NewSpace.
Hiring for the NewSpace Revolution: Unleashing the Power of Disruptive Talent
Recently, I’ve been recruiting for an international space and aerospace company that’s expanding across the United States. Prime candidates for these jobs are mid-career electrical, mechanical and aerospace engineers ready for fast-paced, innovative work.
Often, the candidates I speak with tell me they’re sick of wearing a suit and tie and having their projects covered in yellow tape. In fact, one candidate recently told me he spends 20 percent of his time – that’s at least eight hours in any given week – justifying his budget to company heads. It’s no surprise that this talent is eager to join NewSpace companies that are taking bold risks and reimagining what’s possible for space exploration, rather than playing it safe.
As the NewSpace race heats up, there’s a growing market for experienced professionals with an appetite for risk and the desire to have greater autonomy over their career trajectories. Sound like you?
Authored by: Mark Sanborn