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Why Space Studies Today?

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International Space Station, NASA

By Brian Anderson, Ph.D.
Program Director, Space Studies at American Military University

I find it amusing when I’m asked “is there a future in studying space?” I realize that the demise of NASA’s manned space flight program drives that notion, but as a society at large, sometimes we lose sight of the other many missions and enterprises that are reliant on the space industry. Did you know that you cannot even pump gas at a modern station or access your local ATM without satellites helping to complete your transaction? We use space assets every day without many of us even realizing it. However, there are many others that do realize it, and they’re making large investments into the future of the space industry.

Never before has the private sector invested so much money in space exploration and utilization. Commercial companies have ambitious agendas for space payload delivery (even astronauts), space tourism, and interplanetary travel. The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) recently launched their Dragon rocket for a visit to the International Space Station. Before this era, only four government entities (U.S., Russia, European Space Agency and Japan) were able to master such a technical endeavor. Today, Virgin Galactic is selling tickets for flights on SpaceShipTwo and has unveiled LauncherOne, its small satellite launch system. The potential for commercial space operations is endless. The U.S. and other governments continue to launch satellites as well. With an aging workforce compounding an ever-increasing demand issue, world governments have a shortage of qualified space professionals. And now they must compete with the private sector for the best and qualified men and women to fill the growing number of open positions.

With one of the world’s largest online Space Studies programs, American Military University provides graduates with not only a technical understanding of space exploration and utilization, but a holistic view regarding the use of space. The faculty members are educated in the areas of space history, astronomy, space policy and law, and national space organizations–in addition to the regular orbital mechanics, satellite operations and other technical aspects of studying space. Who better to teach Space Station Systems and Operations than an astronaut who has been there four times?  That’s why we have Professor Wendy Lawrence teaching it.  Our program is also unique in that many of our alumni are currently working in commercial companies and government organizations as contributors to the future of space exploration and utilization. Those professors are a doorway for our students who are interested in acquiring internships.  When is the best time to join us in informing others about the future of space? Right now!

 

About the Author:

Dr. Brian Anderson is the Program Director for both Undergraduate and Graduate Space Studies Programs at the American Public University System. He has over 25 years of experience in government space operations and holds degrees in Astronautical as well as Systems Engineering.

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