Space architects create the schematics and blueprints for spaceships, satellites, orbiting telescopes, and other man-made structures that are launched beyond Earth's atmosphere. Professionals research the latest advances in aerospace technology to create plans for efficient and safe rockets and vehicles. An advanced degree in architecture, applied physics, or mechanical engineering is usually necessary to become a space architect. A college graduate who is interested in beginning a career in the field can research job openings with government and military space programs, aerospace product manufacturers, and private research institutions.
A person who wants to become a space architect generally has a few different options when choosing a college major. Some students pursue traditional bachelor's degrees in architecture, while others focus on mechanical engineering, mathematics, or physics. No matter which degree plan a student chooses, he or she usually can take elective courses in the other subjects to receive a well-rounded education. A prospective space architect can develop important practical skills in mechanical drawing, computer science, and statistics classes as an undergraduate.
Most hopeful space architects decide to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in their specialties to improve their credentials and employment opportunities. When applying to accredited graduate programs, a student is usually required to pass entrance exams, obtain strong letters of recommendation, and write detailed essays. After being accepted, an individual can sit down with department advisers to create a custom degree plan that will help him or her become a space architect. Graduate students have the opportunity to conduct research and work on actual architectural and engineering projects. They receive expert instruction from professors who have extensive experience in the field.
Many universities offer job placement services to help students find internships and entry-level positions after graduation. A graduate may be able to become a space architect at a government organization, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States. Manufacturing plants that produce the materials, engines, and fuel for aerospace endeavors also hire space architects to work in research and development. An individual may also have the chance to become a space architect at a university or private research facility, working alongside physicists and engineers to come up with theoretical and practical design plans.
Most new space architects work as assistants to established professionals for several years to become familiar with equipment, procedures, and duties related to the job. With experience and proven skills, a space architect may have the chance to begin conducting independent research and to come up with original design plans. Some architects become senior supervisors, making final decisions about the efficacy of proposals and coordinating the actual construction of new space vehicles and satellites.