University of Leicester and University of Southampton
Degree in Space Science and Technology. Told you.. space nerd!
I have worked in UK, Canada, France and now in Germany.
Currently I am building the Orion MPCV which will take humans to the Moon and Mars
Airbus Space Systems in Bremen, Germany
Over a period of 10 years, I have trained astronauts and flight controllers as part of the International Space Station programme. During that time, I have worked with European, American, Russian, Canadian and Japanese crew members to prepare them for working with the European cargo ship ATV, the European space laboratory Columbus, as well as operating the various robotic arm systems on the ISS.
What I'd do with the prize money
Make a tour with you at the British Science Museum
How about a special guided tour of the space section of the science museum in London?
Let’s meet there and explore together the exhibits and discuss the past, present, and future of space exploration.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Full space nerd
What was your favourite subject at school?
Chemistry. I had a great teacher.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Become a space engineer.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Only through my sense of humour
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Trained Tim Peake
Sometimes teaching takes place in the classroom. But just like you, astronauts prefer to learn by doing. So we keep the classroom time to a minimum and even then try to make it interactive. It is important to work with what the astronauts already know, and build on that to prepare them for their mission in space.
This is a training with two American crew members. Bringing humour into the lesson is also my way of helping the astronauts remember the tasks better. It is easy, as they all have a strong sense of humour as well as a serious side. Want to know what we are laughing about? Ask me!
Now we are inside a full mockup of the cargo transportation ship, called ATV. It docked automatically to the space station, bringing vital supplies such as water, oxygen, air, clothes, food, and new science experiments to work on. In addition, it removed the rubbish, which is also important when you live for 6 months in a small room! In the photo is a Dutch astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut.
This time we are in the Russian control module called Zvezda. This is the place to go in an emergency such as a fire or loss of air pressure. All 6 crew would need work together to solve the emergency or to evacuate the space station. This is a teaching subject which is easy to get the astronaut’s attention for learning! Their lives depend on this type of training. In this photo is an American and a Japanese crew member.
Before I could train astronauts on robotics, I had to prove my capabilities as a student! Here I am meeting my robotic arm for the first time. The training was done in Houston. And yes. The robotic arm on the space station is huge! It was my job to certify on this facility under training with NASA, and bring the training back to Europe for our astronauts. One of my students was Tim Peake. I guess you know about him, right? Funny to think that he is currently in space. Cool.
Here I am with Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, a colleague of Tim Peake. Luca was the first European astronaut from the same class as Tim, to fly into space. I was very proud to see him operate the space station robotic arm to capture a cargo ship which was sent from Japan. A truly international project!