Daytona Beach Campus


World's First Commercial Space Operations Degree OK'd for Liftoff at Embry-Riddle

Rapidly Expanding Commercial Space Sector Means Job Opportunities for Graduates

Daytona Beach, FL, March 26, 2013

Space Operations Degree

This fall, students can take their place at the forefront of one of the nation’s fastest growing industries following Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s approval of the world’s first degree program in Commercial Space Operations.

The new bachelor of science degree program, offered by the College of Aviation at the Daytona Beach, Fla., campus of the world’s largest accredited aviation and aerospace academic institution, will supply the commercial spaceflight industry with skilled graduates in the areas of space policy, operations, regulation and certification, as well as space flight safety, and space program training, management and planning.

Plans for the program were first announced Feb. 6 at the 16th FAA Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington by Embry-Riddle Chief Academic Officer Richard Heist, Program Coordinator Lance Erickson and Student Researcher Rebecca Zgorski. It was approved by Embry-Riddle’s Board of Trustees on March 22 and will begin in the fall.

Behind the Degree’s Launch

“The Commercial Space Operations degree is the culmination of a total effort by the College of Aviation’s leadership, faculty, and students,” said Tim Brady, dean of the campus’s College of Aviation. “It is also gratifying to have had tremendous help and support of the space industry.”

Among the members of an industry council that advises the College of Aviation, Brady singled out Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana for his role in articulating the need for the new Embry-Riddle degree and helping to develop it.

Job Outlook

Graduates of the new degree program will have the qualifications needed to fill jobs in management, training and education, policy, safety, program and project planning, human factors, regulation, flight planning and operations. The program links Embry-Riddle’s expertise in aerospace education with the needs of commercial space industries and regulatory agencies.

“When we were planning this degree, our advisers from the commercial space industry, including SpaceX, said they couldn’t wait to hire our graduates,” Erickson said. “It is one of the most innovative non-engineering degrees in the aerospace industry.”

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 70 baccalaureate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at