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How I survived (and thrived) as a woman tradie

The Australian Space Agency is calling on the nation’s network of TAFEs to create ‘space tradies’ to further develop Australia’s space industry. ASA boss Enrico Palermo recently spoke about the need for space apprentices and called on the government and the nation’s TAFEs to address the burgeoning need.

That all sounds out of this world, but what exactly is a space tradie?
If we are to buy into Elon Musk’s very wild vision that we will soon be living on Mars, you might be thinking space tradies will be needed to provide all types of trade services – but in a zero gravity environment. But for our more immediate future, space tradies will keep their feet firmly cemented on the ground as they build the launch facilities – which require round-the-clock maintenance – and the machines that travel to outer space.

A SpaceX rocket launching into the sky
Well this gives a whole new meaning to ‘smoko’ Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

Which trades are predicted to grow to meet the space manufacturing demand?
Director of Swinburne’s Space Technology and Industry Institute Professor Alan Duffy and his Centre for Astrophysics colleagues Dr Rebecca Allen and Dr Sara Webb are leaders in space education at Swinburne.

They say, ‘For building satellites and rockets we need tradies skilled in precision welding techniques, intricate wiring and assembly of circuits and electronics, and of course experience in delivering delicate or difficult pieces of equipment and components.’

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