How to Become a Rocket Scientist?

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How to Become a Rocket Scientist

While getting stuck in accomplishing a certain task, you might have heard someone tell you that “it’s not rocket science!”. Well, Rocket Science is a challenging field of study as it focuses on the design and development of rockets. In simple terms, Rocket Scientists are specialised aerospace engineers who work on building rockets for space missions. As a lesser-known career field, Rocket Science nevertheless attracts scores of passionate students aspiring to be a part of space missions and possessing the brilliant acumen to design rockets and spacecraft. If you aim to pursue this fascinating career, here is a comprehensive guide on how to become a Rocket Scientist comprising the educational qualifications, skills and experience required in this arena!

Who is a Rocket Scientist?

Aerospace Engineers with special expertise in building rockets and spacecraft are commonly referred to as Rocket Scientists. It is one of the prominent Engineering branches which deals with the design and development of spacecraft and aircraft. As a rocket scientist, you will be heading the whole process of conceptualising, designing, constructing and testing of rockets, space crafts, satellites, aircraft and systems of defence. They require to undertake extensive research focussing on several aspects of the design including safety, costs, fuel efficiency and the impact on the environment.

Education Requirements

If you’ve decided to take up a career in space or rocket science, it is recommended that you start to start early after the 10th. Students who wish to pursue a career in Rocket Science must check the following requirements.

  • Candidates should choose PCM (Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics) at Class 12.
  • Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering (B.Tech/B.E.).
  • The major subjects of focus must be physics, aerodynamics, and related subjects like rocket design, such as aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, navigation/guidance/control.
  • Further education like a PhD in Physics or Mathematics can be beneficial and is required for carrying out independent research in the field of Rocket Science. 

Necessary Skills

To gain mastery in such a technical field, it is necessary that students build and hone on a set of skills that can help them excel as rocket scientists.

  • Systems Analysis and Evaluation
  • Negotiation and Coordination
  • Good Judgement
  • Decision Making
  • Critical Thinking and Logical Reasioning
  • Active Listening and comprehending
  • Attention to detail
  • Stress tolerance
  • Leadership
  • Self-control

Along with these skills, aspirants must constantly learn and be updated with the advancements in Rocket science as it is a growing domain in India. Rocket scientists can have many opportunities in the near future and having the requisite skills can give you an edge in the industry. 

How to Become a Rocket Scientist?

Now that you are familiar with the job description and quintessential responsibilities of a Rocket Scientist, the next step is to explore the educational qualifications, skills and experience you need to become one. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a Rocket Scientist.

1. Gaining the Fundamental Knowledge of Physics and Mathematics

To become a rocket scientist, it is essential to have a stronghold over the basic and fundamental concepts of Physics and Mathematics which are two integral disciplines utilised in every area of space science. You need to opt for Science Stream after 10th in order to explore the basic and advanced concepts imperatively included in only this stream. Studying these two subjects in 11th and 12th will help you understand the mechanics of how mathematics and physics are applied to aerospace engineering and space science in order to build sturdy aircraft and spacecraft thus forming a quintessential foundation to embark on your quest towards becoming a Rocket Scientist.

2. Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering

A Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering or a related field is the minimum requirement you need to steer towards a career in rocket science. You can either opt for a specialised degree in Aerospace Engineering or for a general bachelor’s degree in this field. Some of the core topics you will get to learn in your bachelor’s degree are Aerodynamics, Space Navigation, Dynamics of Aerospace Systems, Space Systems Design etc. Here are some popular Aerospace Engineering courses at the bachelor’s level:

University Country Course Duration
Kent State University USA BS Aerospace Engineering 8 Semesters
Warsaw University of Technology Poland BSc Aerospace Engineering 8 Semesters
Carleton University Canada Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering 4 Years
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University USA BS in Aerospace Engineering 8 Semesters
University of Southampton Malaysia Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics 4 Years
Clarkson University USA Bachelor’s in Aeronautical Engineering 4 Years
University of Leon Spain Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering 4 Years
Swansea University UK BEng Space Engineering 3 Years
Lewis University US BS Aviation and Aerospace Technology 4 Years

3. Explore Training Opportunities

One of the best ways to gear up for a successful career as a rocket scientist is to explore research and training opportunities during or after your bachelor’s degree. An internship gives you practical working experience along with increasing the possibility of joining the concerned institution after graduation. After completing your graduation, you can either start apply for space research organisations or find research opportunities working with scholars at top universities around the world. Having research or training experience in Aerospace Engineering or Aeronautical Engineering can be extremely rewarding as you will get a real-world exposure, discover network opportunities and augment your resume altogether. 

4. Getting a Master’s Degree in Space/Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering

In a challenging field like Rocket Science, higher studies encompass a quintessential step for aspirants to understand the rigorous design and development of spacecraft. It is a great way of improving and polishing your skills and knowledge to become one of the best experts in your field. For a master’s degree, you can focus on a specialised area to work on your expertise. Some specialised master’s degrees in aerospace engineering are mentioned below for those aiming to become a Rocket Scientist:

University Country Course Duration
Technical University of Berlin Germany MSc in Space Engineering 2 Years
Wright State University USA Master of Science in Aerospace Systems Engineering 2 years
Technical University of Denmark Denmark Master of Science in Earth and Space Physics Engineering 2-4 Years
IPSA France Master in Aeronautical Engineering 2 Years
The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) Russia Master of Science in Space and Engineering Systems 2 Years
KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden Master’s in Electromagnetics, Fusion and Space Engineering 2 Years
University of Limerick Ireland MSc in Aeronautical Engineering 1 Year
Beijing Institute of Technology China Master’s in Aeronautics, Space Science and Technology 2 Years
University of New South Wales Australia Master of Space Engineering 1 Year
The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) Russia Master’s in Space and Engineering Systems 2 Years

5. Find Job Opportunities at Space Research Institutions or Pursue a PhD

After completing a master’s degree, you can fulfil your dream of becoming a rocket scientist by directly applying for positions with the organisations of your choice. You would have a higher chance of getting your dream job if you have a history of internships with the organisation, although that’s not an essential criterion. You can also opt to pursue research in the field by joining a Doctorate program and contribute to the field. Below are some doctorate programs in the field:

University Country Course Duration
University of Manchester United Kingdom Aerospace Engineering (PhD) 3 Years
Kyushu University Japan Aeronautics and Astronautics (PhD) 3 Years
Auburn University USA Aerospace Engineering (PhD) 3 Years
University of Glasgow United Kingdom Aerospace Sciences (PhD) 4 Years
Politecnico Di Milano Italy Aerospace Engineering (PhD) 3 Years

Check out How to Become a Space Scientist in ISRO?

How to become a Rocket Scientist in India

To become a rockets scientist in India you must complete your degree in Aerospace Engineering Colleges. Here are the top colleges for Aerospace Engineering in India. 

  • IIT Bombay – Indian Institute of Technology. 
  • MIT Manipal – Manipal Institute of Technology. 
  • SRM University Chennai – SRM Institute of Science and Technology. 
  • IIST Thiruvananthapuram – Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology. 
  • IIT Kanpur
  • Lovely Professional University
  • Amity University
  • RVCE Bangalore – RV College of Engineering.

Choose subjects that focus on rocket design, such as aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, navigation/guidance/control. Pass your degree within 4 years with 65% and give your  ISRO entrance exam.

Read in detail about How To Become A Scientist In ISRO?

Salary and Scope

Since Rocket science is a growing industry in India, the Indian Space Research Organization is yet to release the official information for various posts in ISRO. The industry is expected to have a Job Growth of 3% for all aerospace engineers.  However,  aspirants who get the job will be receiving a monthly payment of at least INR 15600 – 39100/- for the posts of Scientists or Engineer. It is more beneficial to have all the detailed information related to the allowances that you will be receiving prior to applying for the posts. Although the search for other employment is high, bagging a job at ISRO gives a good reputation and good financial benefits. The monthly salary of different positions of ISRO scientists is tabulated below based on their levels (H, G, SD, SE, SF and SG)

Job Position Salary
Scientist/ Engineer – H & G INR 37,400 – INR 67,000
Scientist/ Engineer – SG INR 37,400 – INR 67,000
Scientist/ Engineer- SF INR 37,400 – INR 67,000
Scientist/ Engineer- SE & SD INR 15,600 – INR 39,100

Hope you found this step by step guide on how to become a rocket scientist useful. If you aspire to pursue rocket science but are apprehensive about which course or university to opt for, worry not! Reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu and we will guide you in choosing a suitable program and university and helping you sort out the admission process to ensure that you send a winning application! Sign up for a free e-meeting with us today!

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