A subscribers to this blog know, the paperback version of How To Be a Rocket Scientist is in the works. (And they are thinking about their free bonus gift too.) The paperback will have additional resources and improvements based on reactions and feedback so far. Let’s mention three of them here and give more context.
Two of the most promising and exciting sectors for growth in the aerospace field in upcoming years are unmanned aircraft (UAVs or UAS’s) and commercial space flight. I have no doubt these two sectors are going to be major areas of growth and opportunity. Exactly how and when is impossible to predict. And who will help get us there…which is why we need more rocket scientists!
UAVs obviously have a lower cost and complexity than space rockets, so this market is moving much faster. Too fast for regulatory agencies like the FAA to keep up, as many people are stressed over. This article yesterday from Bloomberg highlights how safety is a huge concern as more people buy, build, and fly their own UAVs from backyards or playgrounds.
I love watching this incredible pace of innovation. But people need to realize that there are firm constraints and boundaries that need to be observed and respected. This is one paradox of these new markets: how to be creative within constraints. For example, there is fairly wide latitude today to fly UAVs for personal recreational use. But the organization you should join and learn from if you are serious about it is the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). They will connect you with experienced model aircraft pilots, current laws, safety protocols, and more. They are also acting as a unified, credible voice on the matter of new regulations in this regard.
Today in the U.S. is it illegal to fly a UAV for profit or income unless you have a Certificate Of Authorization (COA) from the FAA. I’m not a lawyer, but from a purely practical and strategic standpoint, I urge anyone who wants to do this as a career or legitimate business to join AUVSI (no matter what country you are in). They are the organization leading the movement to make unmanned aircraft a safe, plentiful, and beneficial part of our world. By joining this group, you’ll get a wealth of valuable information about other efforts and companies. You’ll meet other people with similar interests (employers, partners, or customers). You also learn about those firm guardrails that if crossed could get you in jail, sued, fined, or cause serious bodily harm or even death to you or other people. UAVs are going to be a huge business for decades to come! We need you to stick around to see it and be a great contributor in it. (And not by sacrificing a part of your face as happened at the TGI Friday’s event earlier this month.)
With commercial or private space flight, the leading organization dedicated to this is the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. This is the smartest way to connect with people, companies, news, and insights in this sector. This business will take much longer to grow of course. But humans will undoubtedly find a way. Hopefully someone reading these words will be one of them!
These are three of the groups that are moving into Tip #3 for the paperback version (associate with people in the field). In fact they have moved into the eBook too! If you’ve already bought it, sync it again and you should have the updated chapter. And all of the hyperlinks should work!
Innovation within proper constraints. Creativity within the laws of physics. Conducting science and engineering as a form of artwork. The two blossoming aerospace sectors of unmanned aircraft and commercial spaceflight are going to teach many rocket scientists how to push the envelope of paradox.