On a sunny Wednesday in September, 1962 at Rice University President John F. Kennedy proclaimed a timeless declaration for space exploration:
“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize the measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
His speech, one that inspired many to dream beyond the stars in 1962, resonates today in 2013. While spoken true of pioneering space exploration, related fields such as Aerospace Engineering accelerated their development. In this decade, aspiring to be an Astronaut is as real as pursuing a career in Aerospace Engineering. Since NASA’s space exploration and shuttle mission inception there have been 16 out of 321 Astronauts that are of African decent. Similarily, While on a surface level these careers are diametrically similar, upon closer examinations of many key points to their nature, one will find career paths that co-mingle, and then diverge to unique outcomes.
Education is the gateway to success in life. Without a solid foundation on basic mathematics and scientific principles, a career in either field is all for naught. Investigation in each field’s education requirements reveals similarities in the means, but contrasting ends.
The basic education requirements for crew members aboard space sailing vessels is a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. One would assume degrees in Aerospace or Aeronautical Engineering or Physics would be highly desired, yet this is not the case. In fact, past astronauts have held degrees in engineering, biological sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics to qualify for the National Aeronautics and Space Association's (NASA) Astronaut Candidate program. A medley of technicians, engineers, and scientists make for successful missions aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Despite this fact, each of the three primary roles aboard a vessel (commander, mission specialist, payload specialist) has its own requirements. A candidate pursuing Commander aboard a spacecraft must have at least 1000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft with flight test experience being highly desirable. They, with their pilot, hold the responsibility of a safe and productive flight from Earth and back. Conversely, candidates pursuing mission specialist or payload specialist have exceptions to their qualifications. While a minimum of three years professional experience typically must follow their related degree, the candidate pursuing mission specialist can supplement those years with a Master’s Degree equating to one year and a Doctoral Degree equating to three years of experience. Furthermore, Payload Specialists, persons other than astronauts with specialized duties, may not be apart...