Tag Archives: Orbital Sciences Corporation

Orbital's Antarest rocket

Orbital Sciences Corporation

Orbital Sciences Corporation (registered on the New York Stock Exchange as ORB, though commonly referred to as Orbital) is an American company which specializes in the manufacturing and launch of small- and medium-class space and rocket systems. Their client base includes the likes of the US Department of Defense and NASA. A pretty sizeable company, counting around 3800 employees of which half are engineers and scientists, Orbital was founded in 1982. The company conducted their 500th mission back in 2006 already and are currently projected to do more than a billion dollars in annual revenue.

Analysing the company very top-level, it consists of three segments. Launch Vehicles is where they develop rockets and engines of all sorts for different purposes, military and civilian. Satellite and Space Systems is where their geosynchronous Earth orbit communication satellites and other space-based communications service come from. Perhaps the most interesting – definitely for our focus here – is the Advanced Space Program where they besides developing small and medium class satellites for national security space systems also keep themselves busy with working on projects for human space flight and planetary exploration.

Orbital is involved with two prominent NASA programs: the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)/Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) programs and the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). More on those another time but the long story short, NASA started using private companies (both SpaceX and Orbital are contracted) recently for cost-effective supply missions to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. The Obama Administration is looking to expand this approach with partnerships to send NASA astronauts to the space station as soon as 2017.

Orbital launched its new Antares® rocket (a two-stage launch vehicle) for the first time in 2013 – see above for a fascinating time lapse video of its preparation for launch – and its Cygnus™ cargo logistics spacecraft is next scheduled to travel to the ISS mid December. They are pretty active on social media, and it is definitely worth checking out their YouTube channel as well where you can find gems like below’s highlights of their Cygnus demo mission – electronic dance tunes included. Definitely a company we will be following closely!

Astronaut in space

How to get hired by a spaceline

As is becoming more obvious every day to those reading up on the latest in space travel, humanity will soon enter a new era. The day a friend or family member will be sitting at the dinner table, talking about how an acquaintance flew into space with one of these entrepreneurial companies will not be as far of as you might think. But how does the younger generation get to work for one of these groundbreaking start-ups (and let’s not rule out the likes of Lockheed Martin and Boeing who have their own projects on the go too)? Queue William Pomerantz, Virgin Galactic‘s Vice President for Special Projects who did an interview for EngineeringBecause (a social network for engineering students) which you can read in its entirety here. What you should take away from this is that this is not just a dream anymore. You could in fact apply to work on building a spaceship, right now!

“If you are early in your career and looking for your first job, you have an unprecedented level of choice about what kinds of projects to work on, what type of working environment to work in et cetera”, Pomerantz says, and he is absolutely right. If you are an engineer or technician (and are willing and able to relocate to the US in most cases) who thinks they should be a part of creating one of the first private spaceships, check out the links below and start applying! The Enterprise did not build itself you know…

Career links for (in alphabetical order – feel free to submit additional companies):

Blue Origin: http://www.blueorigin.com/careers/

Orbital Sciences Corporation: http://www.orbital.com/Careers/

Lockheed Martin: http://www.lockheedmartinjobs.com/index.aspx

Reaction Engines: http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/careers.html

SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/careers

Virgin Galactic: http://www.virgingalactic.com/careers/

XCOR Aerospace: http://www.xcor.com/jobs/

Another fact to observe from the above career boards: you don’t actually have to be an engineer or technician to work for one of the coolest companies in the world. XCOR is hiring a HR Manager currently, while Virgin Galactic is hiring an Executive Assistant, SpaceX has many Intern positions open and several companies amongst them positions related to Business or Program Management open. Engage!