NASA's Ames Research centreCredit: NASA/Ames
NASA's Ames Research centre

Job Profile


Research is essential for any advancement in the space industry, whether that be improving technology and our ability to navigate space or learning more about space and our place in the universe.

Research takes place in all aspects of the space industry from research and development into space system technology to allow for improved, safer and more efficient space travel to observational research into how the universe works. 

Research has taken us from the first human spaceflight on Vostok capsule which completed one orbit of the Earth in 1961 to the International Space Station which has been orbiting Earth for over 19 years.

Research covers a huge variety of work ranging from creating and conducting experiments, processing and analysing data and presenting ongoing research and findings to others in your field. Research careers also present great opportunities to travel and meet other people in your field, often research projects will involve collaboration with other scientists across the globe.

Skills of a Researcher

Researchers often work in teams, whether that is a research team in an academic institution or in industry, being able to collaborate with others is essential. Communication skills are also key as a researcher as being able to share your findings with others, not only other researchers in your field but also with the public is vital for the advancement of the space industry.

Passion and interest for your area of research is the most valuable attribute of being a researcher however as you will dedicate a huge amount of your time researching one specific area.

You will also need more practical skills such as:

  • Communication skills (both oral and written)
  • Problem solving skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Organisational skills and excellent time management
  • Data analysis
  • IT skills

Routes into Research

To begin your path into research you will need a university degree related to the area you are interested in being a researcher. You will then most likely need a masters degree, this will often specialise more towards the area you are interested in, masters degrees can be completed as an undergraduate, by studying for an integrated masters or as a postgraduate. After this a many researchers begin their career in research by studying for a PhD and then continue research in post-doctoral positions in a University or research institute.


Emma Collier

Emma studies Physics with Astronomy at the University of Southampton.

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