Booking test facilities for our newest space instrument
University of Southern California and University of California, San Diego
BSc, MSc, PhD
Temp and part-time jobs all through university & postgraduate degrees. NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (3 years). Recruitment consultancy. Imperial College London (12 years)
Spacecraft Instrument Engineer
I'm a chemist working as an engineer in a physics department.
I live with my partner near Birmingham. We have two small children and a tuxedo cat. Additionally, I enjoy photography, spacecraft instrument operations, data calibration, and social justice.
I work in a lab that builds scientific instruments, specifically magnetometers, for robotic spacecraft studying the Solar System.
My Typical Day
My job is to ensure that our in-flight magnetometers stay healthy and produce clean, well-calibrated data for the scientists who need it, and that the magnetometers we build meet the mission requirements.
I wear three different hats at work:
- Cassini MAG Operations and Archive Engineer
- Cluster magnetometer Archive Engineer
- JUICE J-MAG Product Assurance Manager
All three of these are scientific space missions. The instruments my laboratory built (or is building) are called magnetometers, which measure magnetic fields to a very high degree of precision. Cassini studied Saturn and its moons from July 2004 until it burned up in Saturn’s atmosphere on 15 September 2017. Cluster studies the Earth’s magnetosphere. JUICE will study the Jupiter system, and will be the first spacecraft to orbit a Galilean moon (Ganymede).
What I'd do with the money
Build a set of low-cost magnetometer sensors to take into schools
I would use the money to make a set of Raspberry Pi-based magnetometers to use in schools for outreach events.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Tenacious. Adaptable. Curious.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Worked as an operations engineer on the Cassini (R.I.P.) mission to Saturn.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My colleagues at NASA. I was working as a scientist and the engineers always seemed to be having more fun!
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Once, for cutting class to attend a political protest against the Iraq war. (The 1990 one.)
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Of all time: Front 242. At the moment: Grimes.
What's your favourite food?
Pancit (Filipino noodle dish)
What is the most fun thing you've done?
One highlight was visiting the islands of St Kilda during the seabird breeding season. That was amazing.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I only need one right now: Rerun the 2016 US presidential election without Russian interference
Tell us a joke.
Q: What's purple and commutes? A: An Abelian grape.