Industries & Professions /
Space exploration draws on a wide variety of technologies, sciences, and industries. The exciting images of rockets blasting toward the heavens and astronauts walking through space present only part of the story—thousands of people here on Earth make those missions possible. In addition to the most high-profile employees of the U.S. space program—astronauts—many other professions contribute to space travel efforts, and a career in engineering or science, for example, may present a more realistic option for students determined to enter this field. In the past, a seven-day space shuttle mission, for example, was the culmination of months, possibly years of work by hundreds of professionals. Engineers, scientists, technicians, computer programmers, pilots, mechanics, graphic artists, and administrators are only some of the different professionals needed to run this industry, and many work for NASA, the major employer of space exploration professionals.