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Airforce and the future for myself, questions!


Llez
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I'm considering going in to the Airforce due to a myriad of reasons, none of which need to be listed right now, and got to thinking; might anyone know of some good MoS' to enlist as that MIGHT lead in to something at NASA? I'm not sure how much overlap there is but I figured there might be some people lurking around here that might know better than I.

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Space operations. It is really a broad career field from what I can tell. It is everything from launch technician to satellite operations. If you really want to get to NASA go to school for engineering and get an internship with NASA.

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I'm considering going in to the Airforce due to a myriad of reasons, none of which need to be listed right now, and got to thinking; might anyone know of some good MoS' to enlist as that MIGHT lead in to something at NASA? I'm not sure how much overlap there is but I figured there might be some people lurking around here that might know better than I.

Last I checked, if you had over 1000 hours flying a jet, NASA would consider you for a shuttle pilot. FOr obvious reasons, that's not a requirement anymore

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I agree with possum -- if you're planning on enlisting, take a look at AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code) 1C6X1. Or, if you're thinking of going to college, take a look at AFSC 13S. If you do enlist, you're no doubt going to want to eventually look at taking advantage of the educational benefits to get your bachelor's degree at a minimum. Of course, also remember there are opportunities outside of NASA, including with its contractors, and of course, companies like Orbital Sciences Corp. and SpaceX.

Last I checked, if you had over 1000 hours flying a jet, NASA would consider you for a shuttle pilot. FOr obvious reasons, that's not a requirement anymore

He didn't mention anything about being a shuttle pilot, but even if astronaut is what is being aimed for, right now, the requirements remain the same for the "new crop" of pilot astronauts: at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. For mission specialists, a bachelor's degree in a technical field is the bare minimum.

The Air Force was at one point considering allowing enlisted astronauts, but I'm not sure where that program ever ended up.

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This thread has been more helpful than the handful of emails I sent to NASA themselves :P I do plan to get a degree in something relevant, I'm sitting on a biology one since i was planning to be a veterinarian [and i still could be really]. Thanks for the code numbers Chad! I'll go look those up right now and thanks to everyone so far.

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Glad to help! And just so you know, there have been astronauts who have degrees in veterinary medicine, and NASA has a chief veterinarian! :cool: The biological/biomedical sciences are still really important, and honestly, I think they'll continue to be....so there are even Air Force jobs out there that you could put that biology interest to use, whether as an officer or by enlisting.

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Being an Astronaut is cool and all, but lets be realistic. If i were you and i wanted a secure future after the armed forces, get an MOS that makes you a mechanic, specifically working with jets and jet engine maintenance. Get as much schooling on this as possible. Be the most technical mechanic out there, know those systems like the back of your hand and be able to recite them in your sleep. The best part is that when you get out you can turn those years of schooling on jet engines or whathaveyou into college credits towards a degree.

Then try to get a job at Southwest Airlines maintaining their 737 Jets. Spoilers, Southwest only uses Boeing 737s.

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Being an Astronaut is cool and all, but lets be realistic.

To be fair, I never said I wanted to be an astronaut. I just said to work at NASA, even if its just a radar operator :P All good ideas and opinions though, mechanics was on my radar but I like to explore my options and talk things out.

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Yeah, I wasn't trying to say the only opportunities for biologists were for astronauts -- I was just noting that there are plenty of opportunities for biologists (I always thought biomedical science in space sounded awesome! :)) or even veterinarians (which I didn't realize until I looked that up for this thread, so yay for learning something new, too!). Was just tossing out various ideas, and happy I learned something new while passing on new info.

Lots of pathways toward the final frontier of space in all kinds of sciences or mechanical fields....especially while doing something awesome like serving your country, which I commend people for considering!

Honestly, just find your passion or your aptitude, point yourself in that direction, and burn prograde. :D

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Llez, hate to tell you this but the days of USofA having dominance in space of engineering are well and truely OVER. If you are serious, you are going to have to learn Chinese as they will be launching satellites full time over the next 3-4 years.

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What sort of job at NASA duff you have in mind, or aren't you bothered? Does it have to be NASA, or would any space organisation do?

Definitely go for a technical role if you join the air force though. Their training is good, and will stand you in good stead in the civilian job market.

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Current plan was to either do mechanical or some such, maybe finish veterinary school while im in or maybe find something besices mechanical that i would enjoy more and just stay in for a longer period. Something like UAV or the aforementioned space/nasa crossover would probably do well.

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I just said to work at NASA, even if its just a radar operator

Have you ever considered a career where you don't feel like your job is hanging on a budget thread, subject to the prevailing political winds and likely to change every 2/4/8 years?

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Have you ever considered a career where you don't feel like your job is hanging on a budget thread, subject to the prevailing political winds and likely to change every 2/4/8 years?

Then I could go work for the national weather service or an airport potentially :P

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There are many technical jobs you could choose that would transfer over to NASA. I'm in the Marine Corps and I work on ejection seat parachutes (rigging and packing), aircraft O2 systems, and emergny rafts and such. Last year I helped some NASA guys work on oxygen converters for one of their birds.

I know that SpaceX and Virgin Galactic were hiring people with my MOS not too long ago.

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I was a 462x0 when I was in almost 30 years ago (this coming July will be the 30th anniversary of my initial enlistment). I was a bomb loader, specifically on F-111Ds at Cannon AFB, and F-111Fs at RAF Lakenheath.

Unless NASA starts launching bombs on orbital missions, I don't think you'd want that particular job specialty. :wink: OTOH, the inshop side of the job taught me a bit about electronics, rewiring, circuit troubleshooting, and other mechanical and electrical bits that go with the job.

Along with the earlier mention of jet engine mechanic, you could also try for the airframe maintenance jobs, fuel-related jobs, or even control tower jobs (went to NCO Prep courses with a tower guy - he had some great SR-71 stories, due to Lakenheath only being a few miles from RAF Mildenhall in the UK, where there were a pair of Blackbirds stationed).

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As a guy who only got out a few years ago, I can give you insight on how to get a job within the Air Force's space endeavors.

1st - The key station - Vandenburg Air Force Base. Besides being on the Central Coast of California, which I especially love because its where I grew up, it is the main launch facility for putting satellites into orbit. They are always launching something. If you can get assigned here and network, you'll know the right people when your enlistment is up. Same thing for bases in Colorado, if you can get assigned to the Space Operations Wing in Colorado, you'll have a network custom tailored to get you into the space industry.

2 - The Air Force Specialty. some folks have mentioned things like piloting and plane mechanic. I don't know if anyone mentioned avionics, the computers and electronics that make fighter jets work. Working on those can be a ticket into working on electronic packages in the space industry with the right connections. Another thing to give thought to is the communications career field. Here are a couple to think about, as well as the general career choices for Communications. These jobs are one of many that are important to support space missions. An additional bonus is the skills gained can lead to a variety of careers in different sectors outside the military. A lot of things like piloting, mechanic, and avionics can pigeon hole you to only a few industries if you were to get out.

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/airforceenlistedjobs/a/3d1x2.htm

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/airforceenlistedjobs/a/3d1x3.htm

General 3D Career List

List of all Air Force Job Codes

Whatever job you pick, good luck. There are a great deal of things you could do that may land a job in the Space Industry.

3. The schooling. I don't know how much you have. I'm going to write this as if you had just graduated high school. If you want to get into the space industry you may want to look at something used specifically in pursuit of that. Engineering, aerospace systems, physics, being awesome. Put the money in when you join, about 100 bucks a month for your first year or two, to get the full Montgomery GI bill if you plan to get a degree. Schooling while in is subject to your supervisor's approval, and job always comes first. I used tuition assistance to finish roughly 3/4's of my degree while I was in, but it comes with a lot of sacrifices in free time.

4. Remember, the space industry can be highly competitive. You may want to be the guy who gets in with avionics, networking, datacenter operations, piloting, engineering. Just know that getting almost any job is a matter more of either being the absolutely best person that ever applied for a job, or knowing the right people. While you're in the Air Force get to know lots and lots of people. Keep in touch with them. You'll never know when one of them will get hired by SpaceX, knock something out of the park, and be in the position to recommend you to a hiring manager or HR rep. Work hard so everyone has a high opinion of you.

If you have any questions about boot camp, tech school, or really anything feel free to ask.

Edit: I feel I should mention there is a large voluntary separation effort going on right now. The Air Force is trying to cut some fat. People will still be able to join but you might see limited openings for certain career fields. Pick 4-5 jobs you would want when you go to MEPS, and be prepared to sit on Delayed Enlistment until an opening comes up. If you can't afford to wait, have a long list of jobs to bring with you and see if they'll let you try for some.

Edited by air805ronin
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Just some questions.

I'm applying for an internship at NASA, which field should I go into/Which place should I go?

There's internships at JPL, Goddard, and a whole bunch of other centers I can't even list.

My preferred interest is human space flight, so something with Orion will be nice.

@Lohan.

The US is far from out of the game. Just because we retired that big white elephant of a shuttle to replace it with an better MPCV doesn't mean we lose to China. The first flag on Mars and an asteroid is most likely America, I'll bet my life savings on that. No need to learn Chinese here!

@Razark.

People work at NASA because they want to do something meaningful instead of an 9-5 work schedule all week for something that no one is going to care about at some random nameless corporation, not for the cash. If you're working at NASA for the cash, it's time to get another job.

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Yeah, I wasn't trying to say the only opportunities for biologists were for astronauts -- I was just noting that there are plenty of opportunities for biologists (I always thought biomedical science in space sounded awesome! :)) or even veterinarians (which I didn't realize until I looked that up for this thread, so yay for learning something new, too!). Was just tossing out various ideas, and happy I learned something new while passing on new info.

Lots of pathways toward the final frontier of space in all kinds of sciences or mechanical fields....especially while doing something awesome like serving your country, which I commend people for considering!

Honestly, just find your passion or your aptitude, point yourself in that direction, and burn prograde. :D

You have disproved the prejudice of many people, that being that newcomers to the forums are all a bit useless and usually need loads of help with basic things.

Back on topic, you should aim for doing something you really enjoy, eg. air force pilot, but not just to have a chance to join NASA.

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@Razark.

People work at NASA because they want to do something meaningful instead of an 9-5 work schedule all week for something that no one is going to care about at some random nameless corporation, not for the cash. If you're working at NASA for the cash, it's time to get another job.

Bull. There's some that work there for the whole "it's NASA/good of humanity/making a difference" aspect. There's a hell of a lot more that do it because that's who offered them a paycheck. You'd be surprised how quickly the "shine" wears off and it becomes just another job.

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Bull. There's some that work there for the whole "it's NASA/good of humanity/making a difference" aspect. There's a hell of a lot more that do it because that's who offered them a paycheck. You'd be surprised how quickly the "shine" wears off and it becomes just another job.

Some are like that, some aren't.

You just gotta realize there is more to life than your next paycheck.

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Bull. There's some that work there for the whole "it's NASA/good of humanity/making a difference" aspect. There's a hell of a lot more that do it because that's who offered them a paycheck. You'd be surprised how quickly the "shine" wears off and it becomes just another job.

It's a bit like academia, too, in that the coin of exchange is prestige and reputation rather than money.

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Some are like that, some aren't.

Your sweeping generalization was a bit off base, then.

People work at NASA because they want to do something meaningful..., not for the cash.

You just gotta realize there is more to life than your next paycheck.

True, but the kids get cranky if I don't feed them.

It's a bit like academia, too, in that the coin of exchange is prestige and reputation rather than money.

Trust me. Plenty of people would be out the door in a minute for a bigger paycheck.

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