This is my first engineering job!
Aerospace Analyst Engineer – Year Placement
Oxford Space Systems
I am an engineer that analyses the performance of spacecraft structures by creating mathematical models to analyse them.
Since I was a kid, I was always absorbed by LEGO. I had a couple of TECHNICS models, but I had plenty of standard blocks out of which I was building ships, planes and houses. I was very creative in that sense. Then, when I went to school I found mathematics very interesting. It was my favorite subject. Later in high school, I found science subjects the easiest to learn. Besides, I was also great at art which is why I considered Architecture for my university. However, I found that physics is part of me along maths and I needed to go along those routes in my life which is why I mixed it with my passion to planes and space. Therefore, I decided to proceed with Aerospace Engineering course at the university. I am currently working in space industry. I couldn’t have chosen better!
I am currently working for a year between my 3rd and 4th year of university.
I am mainly an analyst/simulation engineer. This means that I work a lot on the computer analysing the performance of new designs. This aims to find out if the new designs will withstand harsh environments while being launched in rocket or when out in space.
I also perform mathematical models to analyse systems, so this defines a system in mathematical terms. So in other words the system ends up as a list of a lot of equations on a sheet of paper. These results are a baseline input to the main design if anything has to be changed. You can predict a movement of a complicated body with mathematical equations, therefore engineers know the accuracy of a landing spacecraft millions of miles away within the accuracy to one mile. This is all maths!
The harsh environment in space is due to vibrating rocket when it is being launched or thermal effects due to the radiation and other effects in space. There are also acoustic effects from the noise of the rocket. This is above 140 dB to which the spacecraft inside the rocket is subjected to. In comparison, the vacuum cleaner is around 70 dB, busy traffic or alarm clock is at 80 dB, the human threshold of pain is 130 dB.
I am simulating those environments in the computer on the new designs. If anything is failing then I have to inform the lead design engineer so that they can improve the design accordingly. Each design is very different and you cannot send anyone to space to fix an issue. Therefore, the design and analyses have to consider all environments and cases so that it is very reliable.
My Typical Day
Usually controlled chaos with additions of meetings, emails and work on a computer
What I'd do with the money
I would set up my own group of students so that we can utilise the money and my knowledge for some awesome project.
I am a Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador. I was a mentor for one of the local school’s. They were finding a solution to one of our problems, which was a unfolding antenna on the spacecraft. We are limited to a very little mass and volume on the spacecraft. They performed very well and they were voted the best by other students from more than 10 schools including Eaton and Harrow. Moreover, they have qualified for the CREST award of which results are yet to be announced.
I found this project very interesting especially on the side of communicating engineering to younger people. The questions they had with the passion they expressed encouraged me to provide the most exhaustive answers I could possibly make, but explaining it relatively simple at the same time. In addition, I wanted to explain and present problems and solutions in the most interesting manner possible. A lot of them said they are considering perusing engineering as a career more than before, which is a success in my opinion.
I would not want to just donate the money and wipe my hands off the job. I want to be the part of the project that students would do and provide mentoring and help them achieve their goals along with the money I would win.
Hence, I would like to organise an engineering project with students from a high school. I would preferably raise a blog for students to apply with project proposals. I would choose the most interesting project and help organise and mentor the project donating the money I would have won.
Also, in other case I would donate the money to already running engineering project at the school to which I will write in person. I will consider most of the engineering schools in the UK. I will also offer to provide mentoring for their project.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Ambitious; Charismatic; Organised
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I have designed a structure made of a few materials that is of the size of 200cm by 300cm by 8cm that the mass is less than 8kg. That involved a bit of mathematical equations to give minimum mass, but maximum performance.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to be an architect when I left secondary school to sixth form. Then I was thinking of being a DJ! However, I loved physics besides maths and I love space and planes, so I chosen Aerospace Engineering.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes – number of times – in various activities :P, especially for talking in lessons!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A club DJ maybe or an artists – I love arts – I draw sometimes.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Tell us a joke.
To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.