When we think of being a space professional, astronauts would be the first name that comes to mind. However, there are numerous other employment opportunities in this field. “The ‘New Space’ sector is technology-focused but commercially-driven and thus is not solely reliant on engineering and IT talent but also technology-interested, B.Com graduates who see value in working in a niche market with huge growth potential,” says Dr Roger Moser, Senior Lecturer, Macquarie Business School, Sydney, Australia & Chairman, SatSure Analytics India Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, India. In an email interaction with Higher Education Digest, Dr Roger Moser talks extensively on the New Space Sector, its career opportunities, and what does it take to enter the NEW SPACE sector in India.
What does the NEW SPACE sector in India look like?
The term ‘New Space’ refers to a still-growing ecosystem of companies from the private (as opposed to government-funded and led) and commercial aerospace sector, often in the form of start-ups or ventures of corporations. The globally most well-known ‘New Space’ venture might be Elon Musk’s SpaceX, but the ‘New Space’ sector is very vibrant in India too. India is not only home to one of the most innovative government-funded space research organisations in the world (ISRO) but also hosts some globally competitive start-ups both in upstream (Bellatrix, Dhruva Space, Kawa) and downstream (SatSure Analytics, Numer8).
The growth potential of the ‘New Space’ sector in the next 20 years is enormous and is considered vital to achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. In India, it is already contributing to more financially sustainable financing, and insurance solutions for farmers allow for optimal resource and water allocations in the agriculture and critical infrastructure sector. They will soon change the way disaster relief operations are managed.
Besides the US, India is probably the most attractive country to pursue a career in the ‘New Space’ sector given the availability of high-quality university programs, business ecosystems and aggregated domestic and international demand for specialised services.
Why does the NEW SPACE sector offer exciting career opportunities for management and engineering/IT graduates?
The ‘New Space’ sector is technology-focused but commercially-driven and thus is not solely reliant on engineering and IT talent but also technology-interested, B.Com graduates who see value in working in a niche market with tremendous growth potential. The most interesting aspect might be that engineering, IT and management professionals with a track record in the Indian ‘New Space’ sector have good prospects to be hired by ‘New Space’ start-ups and corporate ventures in the rest of the world.
What are job roles for management and engineering/IT graduates in the NEW SPACE sector?
In the technology area, there is a huge need for engineers to work on innovative hardware solutions to make commercial space flight cheaper and safer. The value chain is across the upstream, midstream and downstream in the space vertical, each bringing its own challenges and opportunities. Let’s take downstream as an example. Not only ‘new space’ companies require IT-trained professionals who know how to deal with the data big data from space, but they also need non-technical persons who can create and information for decision-makers or can combine spatial data. In particular, the ‘New Space’ sector will quickly change how information and communication networks are operated and managed. Thus, people with a background in the telecom sector have an excellent chance to switch to the ‘New Space’ industry and potentially get an uplift in their career prospects.
In the commercial functions, there is a particular demand for finance professionals that understand the short-term cash flow and long-term financing mechanisms of this sector but also for marketing & sales professionals who can explain what the ‘New Space’ area actually has to offer to the financial sector, agriculture, search & rescue operations, maritime industries, telecom sector and many more.
What does it take to enter the NEW SPACE sector in India?
In the engineering & IT functions there are a few specialised universities and institutions such as the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) that offer programs and courses to get the required skills for entry-level jobs in the ‘New Space’ sector. In the commercial area, there are no specific programs available so that young people with a robust self-taught technology background and internships in ‘New Space’ start-ups, e.g. in India’s first Space Technology Park at Thiruvananthapuram’s Knowledge City, are most likely to get an attractive job offer.
More About Dr Roger Moser
Dr Roger Moser is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Management, Macquarie University. He is an entrepreneurial scholar working at the interface between academia & industry and serves as Adjunct Professor at the Indian Institute of Management Udaipur. In the past, he has served as permanent visiting faculty at IIM Bangalore establishing the Airbus-Endowed Chair for Sourcing & Supply Management and as Director of the India Competence Center at the University of St.Gallen.
Dr Moser’s research focuses on how senior executives improve their decision making based on the concept of “Decision Intelligence”. In particular, he researches how senior executives use small data and big data to improve their “Framework Proficiency” and extend their “Intelligence Access”.