Careers Corner: Being at NASA is Not All Science

If you want to fly, whether in the sky or beyond, aerospace is the field for you. Aerospace is as vast professionally as is the universe itself. There are very few fields where there aren’t potential aerospace applications. The obvious ones are your engineering degrees, of course, and physics, chemistry, biology, and math. But one could also major in communications and be a part of NASA, like me. People who can communicate about what NASA does, manage contracts in the business department, or oversee the hiring in human resources are all important. There are also doctors, lawyers, scuba divers, and architects who work at NASA.

If you want a job where a new exciting project is always just around the corner, you can’t do better! NASA is the place to be or the aerospace industry itself. But one must remember, it is hard work. The people who work at NASA and the partners don’t get there by slacking off.

 Most people have surface-level awareness of NASA. They probably know that humans have been to the moon, but they may not know that humans have been living in space continuously for 20 years now and they may not know that spacecraft, spacesuits, and habitats are being built to not only send people to the moon but also ultimately to Mars. Currently, we are on the brink of opening space up to the general public. All of those sci-fi stories of people zooming back and forth to space on a regular basis are getting closer every day.

In my professional timeline, I have had some really exciting experiences myself. I’ve seen space shuttle launches – and most recently the first crewed SpaceX Crew Dragon launch – at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and Soyuz launches in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. I got to do commentary on NASA TV for the first flight test of our new spacecraft, Orion, which will allow us to send astronauts to the moon and Mars. And I did commentary on NASA TV for the first all-female spacewalk last year. 

I have heard astronauts tell their fascinating and inspiring stories. It is also my favorite thing to know what it’s like to leave the Earth directly from someone who has done it. It’s hard to imagine how some people could still have doubts about space missions. There is so much proof that one can see through real-time videos of spacewalks being broadcasted on social media platforms. A lot more action in the form of many exciting missions planned for the near future only awaits to come in light and enthrall the world.

This guest column originally appeared in an edition of The Plus magazine. Read here

About the Contributor:

Brandi Dean works in the public affairs office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where Mission Control is located, and where the astronauts live and train. At multiple instances, he has sat inside Mission Control with the flight controllers and given a live play-by-play description of what is happening in space (or on the launch pad).

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