Whether it be social, recreational, or professional, some of what represents me is here. Post a comment, or contact me at should you so desire.

The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Canadian Space Opportunities

All my life I have wanted to work in the space industry. I have said this many times. I told my parents at the age of 5, I've told almost every teacher I've ever had, and I've dressed up the language when writing it on applications. I have always had a clear destination, but what I have not always had was a clear path.

In a way, I have always been very lucky in knowing what I want to do. Most people do not know what they want, especially from such an early age, and it is very common to have no idea how to get there. Even if you know your path and destination, it is your path, you have to walk it, and it is unreasonable to expect much more than some friendly assistance from time to time.

However, what has always frustrated me was the lack of direction, advice, or counsel I have had. 

My parents, tradespeople, gave me love, support, and among other things, common sense, but their ability to guide me toward my career was limited, as it was so far removed from theirs. School teachers and guidance counselors were no better. I come from a small town where a pursuit of post-secondary education was not all that common, especially for such a niche field of study as space engineering. My high school guidance counselors did nothing more than give me the book of programs for Canadian universities and wish me luck. Once in university, the guidance was not much better. My school did a great job of teaching me the basics of engineering, but very little for helping me to understand the industry, or my place in it. There were no career counselors, no internships or co-op opportunities, and the advice from my professors was not much better than my high school guidance counselors.

I have struggled with this for a long time. It has frustrated me to not know what opportunities existed, or what I needed to do to secure employment in this field. Most of the people I had read about were not from Canada, so I didn't have much knowledge of the Canadian perspective. It was maddening. Lawyers, doctors, teachers, even popular media told us what they needed to do, but what about me?

What I was looking for were options: places I could possibly work, schools I could look into, credentials necessary for working in the space industry, something. I had no idea how to work for a space agency, and until this last year I had no idea where I could possibly work. Concerning Canadian opportunities, I knew very little.

This last year abroad has not only given me a greater understanding of Europe, but a greater understanding of the space industry. I now know who the major players are and have gained an understanding of where to find the information I seek. So, in an effort to make sure those who follow a similar path as mine are not lost, I have decided to make this information known, here. This process will evolve over time, as my knowledge broadens, and I will do my best. I have been petitioning the Canadian Space Agency, York University (my old school), colleagues, Canadian space societies, everyone I can think of in order to learn more about the opportunities which exist and where to go to learn more.

Space Careers
The first thing I will tell you about is Don't let the poor web design fool you. This has been one of the greatest resources I have found for finding work. You can upload your résumé, search for employees, and search for jobs narrowing the search by country, keyword, and date of posting. The fantastic thing about this site is that it pools together almost every other job board posting I have found so you have all the possible space jobs in one place! I have even used it to learn of new companies offering jobs in this field.

Canadian Space Agency Search Directory
For Canadians specifically, there is this search directory, I found this after asking the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), on Twitter, for a list of the companies with whom they work. The directory allows you to search for any research centre, university, and company working on projects for the CSA and filter your search by province, sector of activity, and even capabilities! Interested in finding a company doing space thermal engineering in Alberta? Or a research centre working on Earth observation in Québec? No problem! It is a very useful resource and I suggest it especially for any Canadian university student looking to find possible companies with whom to work.

Interested more in studies than in employment at this time? Well, the resources above will help with that, but there's also a few websites I have found for searching out university programs.

Masters and PhD Program Search Directories
I found my Masters studies using It only works for Europe, but you can filter by country, discipline, keyword, language of instruction, scale of tuition, and type of degree. There's even a PhD. option! is another option for finding PhDs and this website offers a wider range than Europe.   

Space Societies in Canada
While I was at the International Astronautical Conference (IAC) in September, I discovered two societies which existed for promoting and fostering communication within the Canadian space industry.

The Canadian Space Society's principal objective is "to stimulate the Canadian space industry through its technical and outreach projects and promote the involvement of Canadians in the development of space."

After a cursory look on their website, they have a newsletter, a list of topics and Canadian events, and a Space Asset map on the front page where you can locate some of the companies and research centres performing space research and activities in Canada. Membership is $75/year regularly, $40 if you're a student.

The Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute is a "professional scientific and technical organization devoted to the advancement of the art, science and engineering of aeronautics, astronautics and associated technologies in Canada." 

Their website features events and conferences, publications, and links to news feeds. Membership is $90/year, $60 if you're a senior citizen, and $35 if you're a student.

I have opened up communication with these space societies, trying to learn more about them, and trying to understand why I had not heard of them before. In my opinion, they should have been more actively recruiting at my university, and others, but perhaps there are other reasons such as financial limitations as to why they were not more present. 

While at the IAC, hosted in Toronto, Canada, we were all told of the "over 200 Canadian companies doing work in the space sector" and frankly, this number has surprised everyone to whom I've told it. However, the number appears to be true. There are ample opportunities here in Canada, and abroad, working in the space sector, you just have to know where to look. Unlike my guidance counselors of the past, I am making it one of my missions to make sure people are better informed about the possibilities and opportunities. That being said, I am currently involved with writing a letter to ask the Canadian Space Agency, the space societies above, companies, and universities, what are the obstacles blocking the promotion and communication of Canadian opportunities? Why does there appear to be a lack of appropriate internship opportunities? Why are these space societies not more prevalent? What else can be done to ensure a successful transition from student to employee?

If there is one thing I've learned from the few astronauts I've met, and my experiences working and studying within this industry, it is the power of communication and teamwork. Another person's success does not diminish your own but can, in fact, help raise your efforts to even greater heights. Poetry aside, I want to help people interested in this field be successful in it, and I hope the links above are a great first step!

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions of your own, feel free to write to me, I would love to gain your perspective.

Thanks for reading!

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