Carson Coursey

B.S.A.E. 2022

What is your next adventure?

In March, I’ll be moving to Boston and working at The Aerospace Corporation as an associate member of the Technical Staff. Here I’ll be working on the Civil Aerospace Operations team, focusing on space traffic management. I am also currently applying to graduate school so I may be starting graduate school in aerospace engineering in the fall of 2023.  

What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?

I’m really excited to work at Aerospace Corp. as a full-time employee on space traffic management, as it’s a really interesting time to be in this line of work. In my new role I’ll be working on engineering tasks, but also advising policy by briefing government and industry clients on various aspects. I’m also looking forward to being somewhere new. I grew up in Georgia and spent the last four years at Georgia Tech so starting a new adventure somewhere new is exciting. Additionally, I’m excited about hiking up in New England. There are good hiking areas up there and I plan to hike the entire Appalachian Trail at some point so this will be a good start towards that goal.

Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?

Yes. I interned with Northrop Grumman as a Manufacturing Engineering Intern in solid rocket manufacturing during the Summer of 2020. The following spring, I interned at the Georgia Capitol as a legislative intern where I worked on education policy and then during the Summer I interned at the U.S. Capitol as a Legislative Intern where I worked with a Georgia U.S. Congresswoman on space policy and immigration policy. 

This past summer I interned with Aerospace Corp. in their Center for Space Policy and Strategy where I researched the policy side of space traffic management and space situational awareness which led to my new full-time position. From a research perspective, I did undergraduate research with the Space Systems Design Lab (SSDL) under Dr. Brian Gunter from Summer 2021 until now. I worked on space situational awareness from an astrodynamics perspective, specifically on initial orbit determination.

How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?

What’s great about Tech is the fact that not only does it offer space policy classes, but it also has different specialties within the aerospace curriculum. I could also take graduate level courses as an undergrad, which I’m not sure other schools have as readily available as Tech. It also gave me the opportunity to expand on what I learned in the classroom and apply it in hands on experiences. I served as the president of the Aero Maker Space, worked in the Machine Shop, and was a president of the Georgia Tech Experimental Rocketry team (GTXR) so I really formed connections between my classwork and extra curriculars and all of that helped me learn more and stand out as a candidate when applying for jobs.

What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?

Be involved. It has practical reasons in terms of setting yourself up professionally, but it helped me build a community at Tech. I’ve made so many friends and connections through getting involved and it makes a difference.

Take care of yourself. Whether that’s sleep, read more, do the things you like to do for fun, schedule rest time, whatever it is. Do it.

Work on your persuasive communication skills. It may seem out of the ordinary for people studying aerospace engineering, but for those interested in pursuing policy like me, it will be part of your day and something I got better at as time went on. You’ll get great technical writing through your coursework at Tech, but when you’re writing grant applications or have to debate your policy it’s an invaluable skill and resource to have.

Learn how to time manage. I use a Google calendar to help me keep track of classes, clubs, jobs, and my personal life. If you start early on, by the time you graduate you’ll develop that skill to be more prepared for life outside of Tech. Having an on-campus job forced me to learn how to time manage between the machine shop, classes, being in Marching Band, etc. I had to really work at managing my time so that I would be efficient.