Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New course laid in

I am changing course.  I have spent the last seven years (and off and on a few before that) becoming an archaeologist.  I did this in my spare time, while raising two daughters and working a full-time job as an avionics software engineer.  I imagined that one day I would leave the engineering world behind, and become a more pure scientist by digging up, studying, and comparing ancient cultures.

Only a few weeks ago, I watched a live video feed of the Space Shuttle Atlantis lifting off for the last time.  Within 48 hours of this event, I had decided to make this course correction, setting a heading for a future in the Space industry.  I still had two weeks-worth of coursework remaining to complete my B.A. in Anthropology, and complete it I did.  But I am relegating my interest in archaeology to the "hobby" category (I'll never completely turn my back on it), and investing myself completely into the boyhood dream I abandoned so long ago: Space.

I have already enrolled at the University of North Dakota, whose M.S. in Space Studies looks fantastic.  I am taking the first course of the program (SpSt 501) as a non-degreed grad student, while putting together my application to the formal program.  This interdisciplinary program includes courses such as spacecraft systems engineering, radio astronomy, planetary geology, space mission design, politics of space, space law, and remote sensing.  For a kid who once wanted to work and live in space, this is about as good as it gets.

I currently work as a senior engineer at a small software firm specializing in embedded software for commercial, business, and private aircraft, as well as for military and space applications.  I'm hopeful that we will be able to expand our partnerships with customers working on both government- and privately-funded space projects, and that I can be a part of them.

I plan to use this blog to chronicle my journey, and to discuss space-related topics that interest me.  As a graduate student, I'll be expected to read more academic papers than I can count, and that should provide all the fodder I need to keep this blog humming.

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