I was planning initially some short studies and did a 2-year University degree in France in Aerospace Mechanical Engineering. I then had the opportunity to do a BENg(Hons) in Aerospace Engineering that included a sandwich year in industry. Bitten by the space bug I went on to pursue a MSC in Astronautics and Space Systems Engineering to finish with a PhD researching Entry/descent and landing systems for Mars Robotic Missions
PhD – (Surrey University), MSc Astronautics and Space Engineering (Cranfield), BEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering with space, DUT Genie Mechanique et Productique (techniques Aerospatiales), French Baccalaureat (Science/Physics/Maths)
Airbus Defence and Space, Kingston University (teaching), Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Mission and Robotics Systems Engineer
Airbus Defence and Space
I am a Mission And Robotics Systems Engineer working on Future Planetary robotics mission concepts
I currently work as part of the Future Programme Department at Airbus Defence and Space Ltd in Stevenage. Passing by the site, you would not believe what is going on inside: from super large clean rooms where spaceraft are being built to a place that looks like Mars where we test autonomous rovers,… this is one cool place!
I am a Mission and Robotics Systems Engineer and I have the chance to wear a few hats, each one as exciting as the next one.With my “Exploration Mission Hat” I am investigating futures mission concepts designed to explore a range of exciting locations in the solar system like the Moon, Mars, Phobos or even asteroids.
With my “Robotic Hat” I am building and operating actual robots like rovers and robotic arms to better understand the design challenges of these missions. To test them we have been to exotic places like Tenerife and the Atacama Desert in Chile at 2000m to test rover platforms. Alternatively we stay closer to home and use our “Mars Yard” to test a range of rover systems and even collaborative exploration robots.
More recently we have been working hard to set up a challenging teleoperation experiment for Tim Peake as part of Principia that will give us a better understanding of the relationship between exploration robots and humans and the situations where an autonomous rover and a human can work better together…
so all in all… I love my hats…I love my job(s)
My Typical Day
Coffee, Mission concept studies, follow up on robotic hardware developments in the Lab, and a trip to the Mars Yard for some testing
What I'd do with the prize money
Design and build an Open-Source low-cost robot kit that school and STEM ambassadors could use as a teaching platform to understand the design, building and (tele)operation…and if possible with a competition at our Mars Yard !
Planetary exploration with robots is the first step to actually get there. Based on my experience of current and future rover systems, I would like to design a small low-cost rover robot kit that could be used by schools and STEM ambassadors to engage with the enginering behind the design, the building and even with the teleoperation (e.g. via a tablet)…even with delays like Tim will experience from the ISS.
To maximise the reach, I will be sharing the design and all the necessary code online through sites such as “instructables.com”.
With the platform built, I would be keen to organise a small competition and challenge for schools to try operating the rover in our Mars Yard, either remotely through a web interface or directly in our little corner of Mars, replicating the experiment with Tim..on a smaller scale. 🙂
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, Passionate, innovative,
What was your favourite subject at school?
I pretty much enjoyed everything else including Physics/Chemistry, Geography, Languages…
What did you want to be after you left school?
Well,….I feel amazingly lucky to do exactly what I wanted to do…
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Never really in trouble, but surprisingly I was really bad at maths..(I mean… really !). I did not see the point until I found a concrete application for them to solve engineering problems…and that was it !
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Being blown off by a dust devil in the Atacama desert and…sweeping the desert itself (see blow). Quite surreal. (This was to mask some rover tracks during some testing the the desert)..
Testing our rover platform in the Atacama Desert in Chile- change the sky to a tan colour and it would just look like Mars…despite appearances, the rover is actually taller than me. A representative “Ground” Control room was setup in the UK to plan and command the rover in the desert…
Another day in the office…sweeping the desert… 🙂
Testing two rovers collaborating to find a safe path in our indoor Mars Yard facility.