Last week, AIAA held the next in its ASCENDx series, focusing on the support and acceleration of the next generation workforce that will enable key milestones in private and public spaceflight. This event explored topics central to the development of a robust, innovative spaceflight industry, relying on insights from historians and strategic planners to illustrate possibilities in human spaceflight. Panel participants included personnel from Teague and Washington University. Here, we review top insights from the session, with connections to ASP’s current work.
A recent design initiative from Teague. Teague, 2021.
Foundational to the development of qualified spaceflight professionals is the role of a multidisciplinary approach to effective professional advancement. As opposed to the hyper-specialization expected of professionals in today’s technological environment, an interdisciplinary skill set has the advantage of integrative problem solving with the capacity to bridge strategic challenges and technical detail.
A professional environment is directly influenced by community; the extent to which collaboration and advancement are supported by community has shown effect in, for example, the ongoing partnership between NASA and SpaceX. Taken together, skills, capabilities, and culture are core considerations for the development of a qualified workforce.
We also see the role of both public and private sectors in cultivating innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. Both sectors have the capacity to recognize the need for directional advancement, with varying levels of risk tolerance. Critically, partnerships between academia and industry allow for the connection of skill sets with value creation and delivery. The connection of professional qualification with the application of those capabilities has the effect of expanding collaboration and fueling the growth of an industry.
In examining possibilities for the future of human spaceflight and the professional bodies that will make human spaceflight milestones possible, The Aerospace Corporation and collaborators have authored the Pathfinder’s Guide. As a synthesis of methods in strategic planning aimed at inspiring enterprises to engage in purpose-driven innovation, the guide recognizes the role of the workforce as a core component of human spaceflight and commercial development.
Aerospace’s Pathfinder’s Guide. Aerospace Corporation, 2021.
To support the advancement of this qualified professional body, ASP continues to develop offers in four main areas:
Networking and mentorship
Direct project involvement
Importantly, ASP’s multidisciplinary, dedicated community provides environmental support for the advancement of skills sets across its membership, as well as a connection with the “why” of human spaceflight.
ASP continues to advance opportunities in support of the next generation of spaceflight professionals. As we continue this development, you can expect new discussions on the methods for ensuring qualified personnel can directly support upcoming milestones in human spaceflight.Learn more about ASP’s work here.