Graduate profile: Tara- Astrophysics

Tara Bruendl graduated in 2017 with a degree in Astrophysics.She wrote two blog posts for me while she was an undergraduate about her experience as a student intern with the European Space Agency.

After she graduated, her first job was with CSP Services in Spain (quality assurance techniques in the concentrating solar power industry using close-range photogrammetry.)

She then started as a Young Graduate Trainee in Operations with the European Space Agency and now, as part of her YGT in Industry, is acting as Functional Verification support for instrument testing on-board the JUICE spacecraft at Airbus Defence and Space.

Her LinkedIN profile is here

“My expertise in spacecraft operations is owed to previous work experiences at the JUICE Science Operations Centre (ESAC/ ESA), the Mission Analysis section at ESOC (ESA) and internships at collaborating research institutes such as MPS and DLR”

Interested in space? There are loads more posts on my blog, search using space and you can find out more here, including how to get involved.

Work experience: 48 hour virtual hackathon May 30-31

On May 30-31, NASA, along with the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), is inviting coders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, artists, and technologists to participate in a virtual hackathon.

During a period of 48 hours, participants from around the world will create virtual teams and use Earth observation data to develop solutions to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Challenges will range from studying the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and its spread to the impact the disease is having on the Earth system. The challenges will focus on the following thematic areas:

  • Learning about the virus and its spread using space-based data
  • Local response/change and solutions
  • Impacts of COVID-19 on the Earth system/Earth system response
  • Economic opportunity, impact, and recovery during and following COVID-19

More details here:

Space internships on offer now

Kathie Bowen from the UK Space Agency announced today:

There are lots of opportunities advertised on the SPIN website right now, calling for all sorts of different skills so please have a look.  There are also something like another 10 which will go up over the next month or so.

We, with the host organisations, are complying with government guidelines for remote working and social distancing and this is imposing its own constraints on what we can offer this year. 

We are being very flexible about timing and schedules around the intern and companies. All projects are prepared to at least start remotely and supervisors are putting good support programmes in place. I will be in regular contact with all interns as they begin and carry out their internships.

Our Induction day will be scheduled virtually and we are working around the developing guidelines to see how we can run our Showcase event

Its great to have something positive (and relatively) normal going on.

Really good news for students interested in space sector!

Find out more on the SPIN website

Space data in Edinburgh and getting involved

Kristina Tamane, Space and Satellites Business Developer announced that her work at at School of GeoSciences and Bayes Centre in terms of space has been increasing over the last few months – uniting the The University of Edinburgh in terms of our space research here. She is now able to share the landing page for our space activities across the University.

Space and satellites

The site has some great podcasts including Dr Murray Collins and journalist Kim McAllister revealing why Edinburgh is on course to become the space data capital of Europe. There are other podcasts on the applications of space data including agriculture from space and forests from space.

They also tell you how students can get involved.

Work experience opportunity – hackathon

UKSEDS’ inaugural hackathon, terra_Nova hack, will challenge students over the course of 24 hours to address one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals using satellite data. The hackathon is aimed at students with some programming experience, but no prior experience of Earth observation data. There will be a number of workshops to teach participants the basic knowledge and skills needed to access and process satellite imagery as well as expert mentors to help students with their projects as they progress.

The hackathon will help students gain the skills necessary to start a job in the downstream space industry.



Space weather funding boost

British satellites will be better protected through a £20m boost to predict severe space weather events, the PM has announced whilst at the UN General Assembly today.

Space weather, such as flares or winds from the Sun’s surface or geomagnetic storms, can damage our satellites and cause power disruptions, issues to air transportation, and problems across communications systems, such as GPS and mobile phone networks.

The £20m announced today nearly quadruples investment from government into research that can improve systems at the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre. This will build the UK’s knowledge on how to forecast and better prepare for these space weather events.

More detail here

You can find out more about data opportunities in satellites here:

Profile: Dr Katie Bouman

The recent black hole image, captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) – a network of eight linked telescopes – was rendered by Dr Bouman’s algorithm. Good article by Katy Steinmetz in Time Magazine online:

Though her work developing algorithms was a crucial to the project, Bouman sees her real contribution as bringing a way of thinking to the table. “What I did was brought the culture of testing ourselves,” she says. The project combined experts from all sorts of scientific backgrounds, ranging from physicists to mathematicians, and she saw the work through the lens of computer science, stressing the importance of running tests on synthetic data and making sure that the methods they used to make the image kept human bias out of the equation.

Bouman says that most of the time she’s not focused on the fact that she’s in a field where women are the minority. “But I do sometimes think about it. How do we get more women involved?” she says. “One key is showing that when you go into fields like computer science and engineering, it’s not just sitting in a lab putting together a circuit or typing on your computer.”

She  plans to continue work with the Event Horizon Telescope team, which is adding satellite dishes in space to the network of telescopes here on Earth that were used to produce the image released on Wednesday. With the increased perspective and power, she says, they just might be able to make movies of black holes in addition to still images.

“It’s exciting,” she says. And that’s also her message for the next generation who might consider careers like hers. “As long as you’re excited and you’re motivated to work on it, then you should never feel like you can’t do it.”

More here



Summer internships in the space industry

The Space Placements in INdustry scheme (SPIN) provides an introductory link for those considering employment(and wanting to build experience) in the space sector with space sector organisations looking to find the most talented and enthusiastic people to ensure the future. It’s managed by the UK Space Agency and supported by the Satellite Applications Catapult. They offer paid summer internships with lots of benefits. Kathie Bowden from the UK Space Agency says:

“Please spread the word to your students there are some great opportunities now – and more to come –  in the next few weeks.”

Space Placements in Industry (SPIN) Satellite Applications Catapult

Use these self-help resources first to help you with your draft application answers and CV, then get some feedback from the Careers Service before you send it.  Make your application a good one!




Focus on: Lockheed Martin


Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

Lockheed Martin UK has its HQ in London and 16 key sites across the UK from Cornwall to Glasgow. Working across Aeronautics, Missiles & Fire Control, Rotary and Mission Systems and Space (including partnerships in global communications, weather forecasting, space exploration and national security).

I met some of their staff recently at the recent UKSEDS Student Space Conference, including a recent astrophysics graduate. Their space division builds the satellites and spacecraft that do amazing things in space for government and commercial customers e.g. Lockheed Martin-built satellites give earlier warning of severe weather, connect troops on the battlefield, and deliver GPS directions to a billion people worldwide.

They recruit physics and astronomy students and graduates for summer internships and graduate positions. LM UK has a graduate programme and their are opportunities globally too

To find out more visit Lockheed Martin