Projects in the space industry are varied and often unlike anything else found in the fields of engineering or science. Explore the work of project managers who work on space missions.

Group business meeting at round table

Group meeting around table

The Rundown

What do project managers do?

Project managers plan and manage resources for projects to deliver them on time and on budget. Frequently these roles are filled by experienced engineers or scientists.

Depending on their specialisation, project managers might need a working knowledge of any number of disparate fields, including rocketry, space-borne life support, chemical fuels and spacecraft design. Because of the technical knowledge required, most project managers in the space industry are senior scientists or engineers.

Project managers oversee the technical and business aspects of a project in order to make sure it is completed on time and on budget. They are in charge of the staffing, budgeting, planning, risk management and administrative tasks required for the project. They also create project plans, timelines and cost estimates, constantly tracking, adjusting and reporting on progress.

What you’ll need to know and do

Training staff and keeping clients, senior management, staff and other stakeholders informed are also key parts of the role.

In addition to technical knowledge, project managers in the space industry need to understand the fundamentals of traditional project management skills. These include documentation, working with suppliers, workflow design, quality assurance and prioritisation of tasks.

Your study pathway

Because of the technical knowledge required, most project managers in the space industry are senior scientists or engineers. However, it may be possible to transition from a traditional business project management background.

Degrees in the following study areas may be relevant to becoming a project manager:

  • science
  • engineering
  • engineering management
  • business
  • business administration
  • business management
  • project management.

Almost all universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Visit individual university websites for more information.

Key resources

Our key space career job roles and study pathways information is packaged up into downloadable PDFs that students, teachers or parents can easily browse through and keep as a handy reference.

Careers in space booklet image

Careers in space booklet

Our space career booklet covers all the space careers we talk about online, and can be downloaded by students, teachers or parents to read, share or use in the classroom.


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