Yes, There’s a Need for an ‘Astronaut Experience Manager’

Are you on the job hunt and looking for something, shall we say, a little different? Blue Origin, the spaceflight company started by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, might have something for you: “Astronaut Experience Manager.”

The Blue Origin job posting features a number of bullet-points explaining the position, which sounds very much like a customer-service job with quite a bit of logistics work thrown in. The ideal applicant will “develop a thorough understanding of astronaut needs and desires, both existing and potential, and [use] that knowledge to help delight customers.” Clearly, Blue Origin’s space flights will not resemble the launches of forty or fifty years ago, when astronauts and cosmonauts were squeezed into claustrophobic metal tubes and blasted into the freezing void.  

Indeed, Blue Origin’s vision of space tourism is quite comfortable: Up to six newbie astronauts will be strapped into a capsule with extra-large windows (ideal for sweeping views of Earth) and sent 100 kilometers up. At that point, the astronauts will have the opportunity to float, weightless, before the journey back to terra firma begins. Training, which is scheduled to kick off two days before launch, will involve a mission simulation and the inevitable safety briefings.   

Per the job posting, this future employee’s creation of an “end-to-end astronaut experience” includes development of an “astronaut hospitality program” and “training content.” In addition to the usual “excellent” communication and management skills, the job will require a bachelor’s degree and “7+ years luxury and/or adventure hospitality experience with management positions and oversight of departments and teams.”

Compared to SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private spaceflight company, Blue Origin has been pretty tight-lipped about its strategic roadmap. Whereas Musk seems to give a press conference every other week about the latest SpaceX rocket or satellite launch, updates on Blue Origin programs usually trickle out intermittently. But like SpaceX, Blue Origin is working on ways to reuse rockets launched into orbit (or near orbit); although it seems focused primarily on space tourism at this early stage, it’s not inconceivable that its technology platform could accelerate the development of “cheaper” spaceflight.  

Whether or not you’re interested in space as a career (or customer service, for that matter), this Blue Origin posting demonstrates yet again that technology advances will create new roles to match all kinds of skills. If more tech giants join Bezos and Musk in the race to commercialize space, the opportunities for tech pros of all types could proliferate, even if their skill-sets don’t involve “traditional” space-centric skills such as aerodynamics or physics.