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By Daniel Bhuglah,

When considering your future career options, the UK Space Sector might just be the place for you. Whether it’s enabling the GPS on our phones to work; exploring deep space with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), or monitoring the Earth’s changing climate; Space is hugely important to our everyday lives and beyond.

What Can I Use My Maths Skills For?

In common with other STEM fields, maths is used extensively in the Space Sector. The types of roles on offer are extremely varied. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Satellite Manufacturing
  • Developing Spaceports
  • Research and Development of New Technologies
  • Academia – e.g. Astrophysics, Planetary Science and Space Exploration
  • Spacecraft Operations
  • Business Development
  • Project Management
  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Marketing

Using Maths in the Space Sector

There are lots of interesting uses of Maths in the Space Sector, examples include:

More About the UK Space Sector

Currently the UK Space Sector employs about 50,000 people across the country, generating an annual income of £17.5 billion. The Government has set out a National Space Strategy to grow the sector significantly. The UK Space Agency is tasked with delivering this strategy and works to create an environment that encourages the sector’s development.

Their corporate plan highlights 10 key areas of focus including: building the UK’s launch capabilities; improving our access to Earth observation data; exploiting our expertise in low Earth orbit capabilities to deliver transformational new capabilities; becoming a global lead in efforts to track and reduce space debris; investing in high-risk, high-reward technologies; contributing to space missions that develop our space science and engineering skills; using the Space Sector to help with the UK’s levelling-up efforts; inspiring the next generation of STEM students and talent to join the Space Sector.

You can find out more about the UK Space Agency and its work here.

What Skills Would Help?

No matter your career, you’ll need to continuously update your skills and knowledge. Depending on your interests, you may need to consider studying other subjects. e.g. astrophysics and astronomy, astrobiology, business, computing and data analysis, engineering, aerodynamics, and so much more. On the site you can find a range of job profiles that outline the skills you’ll need ( job profiles).

We also have advice articles that outline some of the emerging careers in the rapidly evolving Space Sector (Emerging careers in the Space Sector).

Generally, most roles need candidates to have at least a Bachelor’s degree, but the sector is starting to offer apprenticeships to those who may not want to go down the further education path.  Our jobs board is a great place to find what employers are currently looking for. ( job board)

You may want to specialise in one area or take a broader view and develop a range of skills. (Building a T-shaped skill set: You never know where it might lead)

As a mathematician you’ll find there are a vast number of paths you can take and it will take time to make your choices. Whatever you decide to do, if you find it’s not right, you can change your mind. It might not be easy and it might not be quick but there are always options.

Do Maths Students Really End up Working in the Space Sector?

Yes, they do. To prove it, on you’ll find a number of interviews with people working in the Space Sector who studied mathematical sciences at university.  Their career stories make interesting reading.

Harriet Brettle – Business Analyst

Toby Harris – Head of Space Situational Awareness

Emma Lord – Director of Policy and Operations

Vinita Marwaha Madill – Space Operations Engineer

Tom Syndercombe – Flight Dynamics Engineer for Telespazio Germany 

Where Can I Find Out More?

There are plenty of resources to help you find out more. is a great place to start. You’ll find interviews with people actually working in the Space Sector; explanations of the different roles; advice articles on developing your skills; and a jobs board where you can get a sense of the sorts of skills being sought by employers.

The Space Skills Alliance (Space Skills Alliance) does fantastic work analysing the state of the UK Space Sector and its efforts to create a skilled workforce.  The Space Sector Skills Survey 2023 is an interesting read and highlights the recruiting challenges the sector faces. They also have an excellent training catalogue that details over 1,500 training opportunities and degree courses (The Space Training Catalogue).

You can find out more about the UK Government’s space strategy to meet the vision of  building “ of the most innovative and attractive space economies in the world” here: National space strategy, and do visit the UK Space Agency website (UK Space Agency).

The Royal Astronomical Society have a range of resources to help you on your career journey (Royal Astronomical Society Careers Information) and hold a number of free public lectures (online and in person) if you want to get an insight into the latest research (Royal Astronomical Society Events).

If you want to get a feel for how you might get on with studying space, many free courses are available on-line. For example, The Open University offers some free short courses via Open Learn (Open Learn astronomy courses) and on YouTube, Crash Course Astronomy is a good introduction to the subject.

Image Credits

Featured Image- ‘A matter of perspective’ – ESA/Hubble & NASA, M. Sun

‘Webb’s first deep field’ – NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

‘Solar Orbiter’s first views of the Sun’ – Solar Orbiter/EUI Team/ ESA & NASA; CSL, IAS, MPS, PMOD/WRC, ROB, UCL/MSSL