Date of Award

4-2013

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics

Department

Applied Aviation Sciences

Committee Chair

Guy M. Smith, Ed.D.

First Committee Member

Lance Erickson, Ph.D.

Abstract

The rapid expansion of the commercial space industry, not unlike the aviation industry in the early 20th century, has left the industry facing unique challenges. As companies continue to expand, the need for a well-trained workforce becomes critical. The needed workforce must be specifically educated to enter the commercial space industry at graduation. To have a successful industry, a workforce must be trained in skills that meet the industry's needs. In that regard, this study consisted of a survey of leaders in the commercial space industry to identify the different skill-sets sought by the industry. The results of the industry surveys were used in the development of an undergraduate degree in Commercial Space Operations in the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The findings indicated that the needs of the industry are dynamic and multi-disciplinary in nature and ranged from business planning and space policy to human factors and propulsion. The broad spectrum of needs identified indicate that the industry is fluid with evolving needs. To remain on the forefront of commercial space education, the curriculum must reflect the needs of the industry as the industry evolves. Thus, continual feedback and partnership must be pursued with the industry to ensure that future graduates of the degree possess the skills to pursue a productive career in the commercial space industry.

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