The Space Industry offers a wide variety of careers and opportunities. You might be surprised at the variety of opportunities across maths, physics, chemistry, engineering and computing.
The Space Science and Technology sector typically employes people with primary degrees (NFQ Levels 7 or 8) and with a relatively high proportion of employees at postgraduate level (NFQ Levels 9 and 10).
The “space” sector in Ireland is quite varied and includes companies from many areas of technology. These include aerospace, structures, electronics, optoelectronics, software and bio-diagnostics.
School leavers should think about continuing their education at third level, before considering a career in the space sector.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
Of course my parents have had a big influence but also the work experience I had in university played a big part in motivating me to get the most out of opportunities. Also, there were the teachers I had along the way who were excited about science and mathematics and were able to pass on this enthusiasm.
Describe a typical day?
My day has no set structure. I am currently managing a very tightly scheduled reentry project and this takes a lot of my time. For this we in the project team have a telecom every Wednesday to discuss progress but I am in contact with team members daily (if not hourly). Since this experiment will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) I have frequent safety discussions with colleagues here in ESA and I am responsible for ensuring that the experiment is safe for the ISS and its crew. In parallel to this I am managing activities related to launcher staging, plumes and high speed computational tools.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
What are the main challenges?
What are the main challenges?
There are a number of cool aspects of my job some of which perhaps only I find cool. I enjoy the fact that I can use my engineering experience to work on topics directly related to putting vehicles and people in space. I enjoy the fast paced projects that I am involved with and even though I do spend some sleepless nights worrying, the buzz when you find a solution is fantastic. In the past six months I have managed a project to put a reentry capsule in space, built hardware for astronaut training, taken part in a space debris study and more.
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
What is your education to date?
I took my Leaving Certificate in Cork. I then achieved a First Class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering at Cork Institute of Technology. After this I went to MIT, Boston to do a research masters which was focused on the fluid dynamics of a NASA compressor stage. When I finished this I went to Imperial College London to do a PhD in Hypersonic Aerodynamics.
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?