Got the Right Stuff? NASA Hiring Space Mission Flight Directors

April 2, 2018 Cary O'Reilly

This analysis was first available to Bloomberg Government subscribers.

“Houston, we have a problem.”

If you’d like to be on the receiving ends of calls for help from space like the one famously made by astronauts on the troubled Apollo 13 flight in 1970, or you just want to help future manned missions run smoothly, NASA has just the job for you.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is seeking flight directors to lead manned spaceflight missions to the International Space Station, including the return of American-made commercial crew spacecraft. It also needs leaders for unmanned Orion missions to the moon, if not infinity, and beyond.

Boeing Co. and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, are vying for the emerging low-Earth orbit transportation market and could start replacing launches by a Russian company that NASA has been paying to boost astronauts and supplies to the ISS as soon as next year. The agency is now searching for directors to oversee such missions.

Those selected will head teams of flight controllers, research and engineering experts, and support personnel around the world, and make the real-time decisions critical to keeping astronauts safe in space, NASA said in a statement. Candidates must be U.S. citizens with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics. They also need “time-critical decision-making experience in high-stress, high-risk environments,” though previous oversight of space missions isn’t a prerequisite.

“NASA’s missions require strong, creative leaders as human spaceflight continues to evolve,” said Holly Ridings, acting chief of the Flight Director Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston, in the statement. “We are looking for a mix of people with diverse backgrounds to play this critical role and add strength to our flight director team.”

NASA awarded a Commercial Crew Transportation System contract to Boeing and SpaceX in fiscal 2014 and has so far made about $3.6 billion in awards to the companies, according to Bloomberg Government data.

Interested persons have until April 17 to submit applications at: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/494941200

Final selections are expected in mid-2018. Those selected will receive extensive training on flight control and vehicle systems, “as well as operational leadership and risk management.”

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