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Embry-Riddle To Offer Degree In Space Operations 79

Posted by timothy
from the s-o-p-has-a-new-expansion dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has announced plans to launch the nation's first ever bachelor's degree in Commercial Space Operations to supply the commercial spaceflight industry with skilled graduates in the areas of space policy, operations, regulation and certification, as well as space flight safety, and space program training, management and planning. The rapid expansion of commercial spaceflight operations is fostered by NASA's commercial cargo and crew development programs and by entrepreneurs developing capabilities for suborbital spaceflight, orbital space habitats, space resource prospecting and other commercial ventures. 'Embry-Riddle's new Commercial Space Operations degree is one of the most innovative non-engineering degrees in the aerospace industry,' says program coordinator Lance Erickson, a professor of applied aviation sciences at Embry-Riddle. 'When we were planning this degree, our advisers from the commercial space industry said they couldn't wait to hire our graduates.'"
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Embry-Riddle To Offer Degree In Space Operations

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  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @10:54AM (#42820575) Journal

    So, it's all the personnel and legal stuff that surrounds the real engineering that has to go on. But as a BS and without the background of the actual hard engineering that goes on in aerospace and without the life experience that someone going back for a second degree after ten or twenty years would bring with them.

    It's like an admission that we don't need more engineers and scientists, what we really need is more people who can process paperwork. On the bright side, at least it looks like there's job demand for the stupid people in the world of the future.

    • by Zeromous (668365) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @11:09AM (#42820747) Homepage

      Seriously dude, I'm sure your managers find you a pleasure to work with. Maybe someone like you could actually benefit from this course in order to readjust your perspective, or at least tweak your outputs a little.

      • Seriously dude, I'm sure your managers find you a pleasure to work with. Maybe someone like you could actually benefit from this course in order to readjust your perspective, or at least tweak your outputs a little.

        ...?
        Code Monkey not say it out loud.
        Code Monkey not crazy, just proud.
        -joco

        • by Zeromous (668365)

          I'm not sure where you are going with the JoCo lyrics (did I just say "JoCo"?), but I'm hoping it's just Codemonkey's just bitter/jealous of those who can hack it with humans.

          Bitterness and Jealousy is a real turn off for socially well-adjusted nerds.

      • by ranjix (892606)
        Initial poster was rightly noting that the program is not about technical stuff but about pushing papers. Your worrying about the perception of managers and the desire of readjusting poster's perspective misses the point badly. "Tweaking the outputs"??? You're picking on the style of delivery instead of thinking of the problem. The problem, let me remind you, is the lack of STEM education. The program doesn't come with a solution, but perpetuates the problem. Maybe this clarifies a little...
    • Since I'm an AE dropout (from Embry-Riddle, even,) it sounds perfect! :-P

    • by RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @12:20PM (#42821521)

      It's like an admission that we don't need more engineers and scientists, what we really need is more people who can process paperwork.

      I wish I had a manager who could do the paperwork around here, and I'm just talking about an IT department. All of my managers (yes, all) have their eyes glaze over once they see two computer related terms in the same sentence. I end up spending as much time managing the department for them as I do improving the network.

      The best thing a manager can do is to deal with procedure and red tape so that the technical types can get to work. To that end, Scientists and Engineers need managers who can talk the lingo.

    • by sycodon (149926)

      Whether you are joking or not, I would assert that the management of the Apollo or Shace Shuttle Programs involves just as many moving parts, conflicting requirements, and stubborn facts as did the actual engineering of the spacecraft.

      People like to make fun of managers but in reality, without them any project of significant size would be just a bunch of "smart" people standing around wondering what they should do next.

      • by Dishwasha (125561)

        Although I agree in some respects to your statement, I think sometimes having a manager just acts as a crutch. When "smart" people are given the latitude to determine the requirements rather than having them spoon fed to them, they won't be standing around and they might actually be interacting positively with the rest of the company. Of course, mileage may vary based on the maturity level and business sense of the "smart" person.

      • by sunking2 (521698)
        Why is it that the Orion program is an utter failure and companies like Space X seem to be surpassing them in return on investment? Management structure might be something to take a look at. It's not about whether managers are needed, its the numbers of them.
        • by cusco (717999)
          Orion was supposed to be a failure, that's what the White House wanted. 1960s technology launched on 1970s technology, with updated electronics, and this is our glorious future in outer space? No, it was nothing but a sop to Lockheed and the other contractors.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I keep thinking of Deke Slayton on Apollo 13. test pilot, nerd, and manager. Damned good at all three. He was the guy who made the final decision whether or not to turn around and try to come back, or circle the moon. He was the guy who said "you have to figure out how to put a sqare peg in a round hole using nothing but what's on board."

    • I've got engineer friends who have to do much of their administrative work themselves. They submit their own proposals, have to make sure they have enough project to pay their salary, etc. While those tasks are not technically challenging to complete, I'm very glad I work with full time people who do that so I can concentrate on engineering both from a knowledge perspective and from a time perspective.
    • It's like an admission that we don't need more engineers and scientists

      Given the decades of declining demand (and declining salaries)... admitting that is like admitting the sun rises in the east each morning.

  • Supply and Demand (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @11:02AM (#42820665)

    I'll bet there will be a lot more students interested in this degree than companies hiring.

    Pick a major that's going to pay the bills, kids.

    • That's why we have so many MBAs and lawyers, and look at what a paradise they've turned our world into.
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        That's why we have so many MBAs and lawyers, and look at what a paradise they've turned our world into.

        The system made so many MBAs and lawyers. MBAs and lawyers didn't make the system.

    • So it will be exactly like their aviation program is now!
  • Rather risky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orleron (835910) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @11:03AM (#42820669) Homepage
    Getting a degree that is only useful at maybe 5 or 6 companies in the whole country is not something I would recommend. How is that different from majoring in Medieval Japanese Literature? There are maybe 5 or 6 universities that would hire you with that degree too, and then you are stuck with your student loans that you cannot pay.

    I definitely think the core engineering, hard science, or generic business routes are the way to go for undergrad. If someone wants to specialize a bit for an MS or higher, ok then.

    • As if (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arcite (661011) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @11:24AM (#42820905)
      You think that everyone who will work in these fledgling Space corporations is going to have a PHD or be an engineer? They need practical people with practical, marketable skills. As a new industry, they need skilled people across the whole spectrum. Those who train up now will have an edge in this new job market.
      • by Orleron (835910)
        Nope, a PhD is not relevant to the point I am trying to make here. What I am saying is that if 300 kids get this new Bachelor's degree, the chances that every single one of them will be a technical AND cultural fit for places like SpaceX and Bigelow are not good. So if a kid blows the interview at these places, what then? At least with a degree in ME or EE, you can try a completely different field.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          There are more than two places in the world that this would be useful for. The commercial space sector is not limited to big media companies like SpaceX - there are lots of research labs not limited to NASA, ESA/ESTEC, DLR, etc. Alongside that there is work in downstream services like media, plenty of satellite companies and so on.

          Yes, this is largely a degree aimed for people who want to go into administrative roles in commercial human spaceflight, there are many parallels with other fields when you look

      • All true, but orthogonal to the OP's point, which is that the demand for people having these degrees is going to be pretty slim for the foreseeable future. This job market may be new, but it's small and not exactly growing by leaps and bounds. *And* you're competing with a lot of folks who already have those types of practical and marketable skills...

    • by dorpus (636554)

      On the other hand, how useful are science or engineering degrees? I know plenty of science and engineering graduates that spent a year or more after graduation to find a job. For any given specialty, there are only a handful of employers that care, and openings only occur once every several years.

      • by Orleron (835910)
        That's a function of the job market, not the useful(-less)-ness of the degree. In good times, the sci/eng major will get a job right out of school. The same cannot be said for this degree if the space companies are all filled up already, which is likely in good times if the school cranks out hundreds of these kids a year. At least if I'm a Chemical Engineer, and the oil companies won't take me, I can work for the drug companies, and if not them, the chemical companies, and so on.
        • by dorpus (636554)

          I've known plenty of engineers who couldn't get jobs even when the economy was "good". I was once a chemical engineering major, but after going to many job fairs, concluded that it is a worthless degree -- nobody wanted them. I've since met chemical engineers who became computer programmers, since they didn't want to work at e.g. a pulp factory in Mississippi or an oil refinery in Nigeria.

    • by qwak23 (1862090)

      I would definately second this. These types of degrees are essentially vocational programs with a liberal arts wrapper that dilute the value of core academic degrees. I would also suspect that these degrees help drive demand for college level education and contribute to some of the inflation in tuition.

      Of course there is also a mindset among students (at least coworkers that I've talked to about education, anecdotal, yet a large enough sample that I would be willing to make a testable hypothesis out of it

  • by eksith (2776419) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @11:12AM (#42820787) Homepage

    Commercial spaceflight is still in its infancy. I mean, sure we've put a few people in space and a handful on the moon, but in terms of an actual field, it's as if it's just a few years after the Wright brothers (regulation didn't start 'till 1926). Certainly no where near the level aviation was after the same number of years after its inception.

    I hope space school has the same validity as engineering school though. But as long as it's just one school, I have my doubts.

  • 'When we were planning this degree, our advisers from the commercial space industry said they couldn't wait to hire our graduates.'"

    So the course wasn't even fully designed yet, not a single fucking graduate has yet to come out of that university, and they ALREADY want them working on projects headed to one of the most hostile environment we're aware of?

    What a bunch of clowns.

    • by xclr8r (658786)
      I don't know of the school but when a school adds curriculum custom tailored to a fields need (the ones the Advisers were focusing on) this is usually greeted with open arms. It's a stamp of the company/org does not have to waste my time teaching a basic concept.

      Think of it like hiring someone from X university's CS program.. you can expect the person to know when and how to apply recursion. That said I'm skeptical too.. is this University/Program be accredited?
    • by cusco (717999)
      It's an administrative degree, not an engineering degree. Yes, they will need people who know what paperwork needs to be file when the FAA approve flight plan has to be changed, who know whether they have to re-file their patent application when the alloy for the rocket exhaust nozzle changes, or if the scope of work for a subcontractor covers all the elements actually required. Those aren't things that a normal MBA prepares students for, and if they drop a regular MBA into that position it's going to tak
      • It's an administrative degree, not an engineering degree. Yes, they will need people who know what paperwork needs to be file when the FAA approve flight plan has to be changed, who know whether they have to re-file their patent application when the alloy for the rocket exhaust nozzle changes, or if the scope of work for a subcontractor covers all the elements actually required. Those aren't things that a normal MBA prepares students for, and if they drop a regular MBA into that position it's going to take them years and dozens of mistakes to learn them.

        Yeah, because all of this information is certifiably understood and taught by a college that has no experience with it at all.

        This is like giving someone with an MBA a job in biological science because they "know how 'business' works."

        Give me a break. You really want to try and play devil's advocate on this one?

        • by cusco (717999)
          **NO** college has experience with it, currently. You don't think that they're going to hire subject matter specialists to help them build their curriculum and teaching materials, and probably teach the program? I don't know anything about that particular college, but they'd have to be run by utter incompetents if they didn't. From their campus locations I can see that they have plenty of opportunity to find the correct people.
          • **NO** college has experience with it, currently. You don't think that they're going to hire subject matter specialists to help them build their curriculum and teaching materials, and probably teach the program? I don't know anything about that particular college, but they'd have to be run by utter incompetents if they didn't. From their campus locations I can see that they have plenty of opportunity to find the correct people.

            Damn. I'd better sue them for patent infringement ASAP. Starting a college program from my own head is MY IDEA.

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        If you've got people with MBAs doing administrative paperwork, that either means you've got a ridiculously over-qualified workforce, or else MBAs aren't worth anything as a qualification.
        • by cusco (717999)
          There's an MBA working at the minimart down the hill, if that's any clue. Too many kids go straight to college directly after high school, and then hit the job market with no work experience .
    • by isorox (205688)

      'When we were planning this degree, our advisers from the commercial space industry said they couldn't wait to hire our graduates.'"

      So the course wasn't even fully designed yet, not a single fucking graduate has yet to come out of that university, and they ALREADY want them working on projects headed to one of the most hostile environment we're aware of?

      What a bunch of clowns.

      Have you been to Baltimore?

  • by arcite (661011) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @11:23AM (#42820891)
    I would like to be a space logistics technician, or delivery boy.
  • There are no more left.

    • by eksith (2776419)

      But then the question is do we still need steely eyed missle men? I admit, I get all nostalgic and starry eyed when I read about the old aviators. Dashing folks with scarves and mustaches going up in rickety contraptions. And then look at today, where some fella can get drunk on a plane and cause a scene or crying children or just plain "bus adventure" at 30K feet. I fear this may be the future of space travel at some point as well.

      In a way, it's great, because we're getting more access to this frontier, bu

  • Next, Embry Riddle can can launch the nation's first ever bachelor's degree in Flying Car Operations to supply the commercial flying car industry with skilled graduates in the areas of flying car policy, operations, regulation and certification, as well as flying car safety, and flying car driving program training, management and planning.

    Once there is a viable commercial space industry and Flying Car Industry, Embry Riddle will becomes the Harvard for these industries.

  • Let me know when we develop piracy in nulsec.
  • http://daytonabeach.erau.edu/coa/aeronautical-science/news-events/embry-riddle-is-training-unmanned-aircraft-pilots.html [erau.edu]

    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is stepping up to fill that need with a new minor in Unmanned Aircraft Systems that begins on the university’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus in the fall semester of 2010

  • With the creation of an MBA for commercial space.
  • This is really more of a PR move by the school to attract students to Embry-Riddle, than it is providing a good education and career path equipping students with marketable skills for real jobs. While the field of "commercial space operations" is likely to open up at some point, once we get good technology and lots of industry out there, this is a very narrow career path today, with few options and companies hiring. They would do better to provide a major geared not only towards space operations, but airpor
    • Hey, now!

      I heard the (community) college down the street is offering a "Degree in Space Medicine." Are you telling me that this isn't a valid and widely accepted degree?
       
      Blasphemer! ;>

  • Now THAT'S a way to get a bunch of filthy rich people with dreams of venturing to space to pay you butt-loads of money for a degree that isn't officially notably accepted.

    That's sales. Bravo! :)

  • and I thought Star Fleet Academy was the first.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As someone who works for NASA and is in the middle of climbing the space operations career ladder, there is no way anyone would hire someone out of college for these kinds of jobs. They want real engineers with a lot of experience in the field -- a lot of what these people bring to the table is not only what they learned in college, but from decades of space-related engineering work. The kinds of problems they see and deal with are not in text books. I'm in my early-30's and am pretty much the kid in the ro

    • by cusco (717999)
      most space operations people are in their 50's and 60's. Unless something radically changes in the industry

      You mean like a lot of people retiring over the course of the next decade?

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