Fistral Training & Development for Space

UKSEDS National Student Space Conference 2022 – Fistral highlights

Fistral were delighted to present the closing workshop of NSSC2022 conference, the 34th conference for students interested and active in Space sector. Organised by UKSEDS (the UK’s national student space society) and hosted by KCL Space in their Waterloo campus, Rosie presented “Take Charge of Your Time and Reduce Burnout” providing practical tools and techniques that we share with flight controllers, engineers and other Space staff on our Time Management and other skills training courses.

Fortunately I was able to attend (in 3D!) for the full conference, and I wanted to share some some thoughts.

  1. Firstly it was brilliant and the quality and range of speakers and sessions fantastic! One of the main themes to emerge from it was that Space is accessible to all – i.e. not only tech, scientific or traditional STEM-based disciplines.
  2. Secondly, panellists on all the sessions I attended reinforced the message that now is the time to get involved with Space – and they wished they has started their careers at this point in the sector’s development.
  3. Thirdly, the range of knowledge and experience shared was phenomenal and presenters and the many companies represented at the exhibition stands made themselves very accessible to the students and open to job applications – I’m sure there’s been a flurry of LinkedIn activity!
  4. Finally, the importance of being a responsible professional in Space in terms of planning for the future, reusability, sustainability, bringing satellites back, and avoiding leaving debris in future missions was also a core theme throughout the conference.

If you don’t want to read the full blog with the pics and quotes below, here’s a short ode about my experience of UKSEDS2022 (N.B. I’m embracing the “STEAM” theme of the conference)…

UKSEDS #NSSC2022 really was the place

To meet experts and find out how to get involved with Space.

Space companies & specialists, alongside tv, media, Fistral too –

All said, regardless your background there are UK Space jobs for you!

Of course we need STEM and data specialists, researchers, software, AI, and more –

E.g. architects, artists, designers, communicators, entrepreneurs, and diplomats for sure.

And if you’ve practical transferable skills: project management, team working and leading,

Then these complement your specialist expert skills to give you an edge in competing…

…for Space jobs: which need good time management, interpersonal, networking, ideas,

Plus creative vision to help get your funding and inspire future generations’ careers.

The conference message was transparent: a career in Space is waiting for you,

And now is the time to begin your Space journey inspired by NSSC2022!

Fistral Training and Consultancy Ltd, 2022

Key messages, Quotes, Info from the sessions I attended:

Paul Bate (CEO of the UK Space Agency) – the UK sector is looking to increase staff from 40-70,000 UK Space sector staff by 2030, so there are lots of opportunities for students joining the Space sector

Mark Arthur (Director of European Operations, Benchmark Space Systems) – as future leaders, make it easy for your future missions to clean up after themselves and recover debri and think about Propulsion and De-Orbit capability.

“Bring your satellites back to Earth; Clean up behind you.”

Maria Grulich (ISS Payload Engineer, MUSC, DLR) – the level and detail required for running the ISS safely is incredible: planning, processes, project management, schedule control, risk response, risk management, and communications are key.

Maria Grulich, DLR

Nikkie Finnegan, Molly Mitchell-Knight & Claire Crease (Business Comms Officer and Interns at Skyrora Ltd) – contribute to Net Zero Space and consider the Prospero Principles as there are approx 900k pieces of debris in Space right now, and don’t be restricted by the title of your degree as there are lots of opportunities in the Space sector if you want to work there.

“For future employers, it’s less about the title of your degree and more about the experiences and person you become.”

“If you find a passion then no harm can come from chasing it.”

Shannon McDonagh (Java Engineer at Bright Ascension) – there are free classroom and academic licenses available for evaluation and learning purposes to allow you to explore their component-based flight software and mission control software in your satellite projects: Rocketry and CanSat competitions take note!

Apply to get your academic mission sponsored – Bright Start Academic Programme

UK Spaceports Panel – Matjaz Vidmar (Chairing this UK Spaceports Panel, UoEdinburgh), John Paffett (Commercial Director, Spaceport Cornwall), Mark Roberts (Project Director, Spaceport-1 in Outer Hebrides), John Whalley (CEO Aerospace Wales, Spaceport Snowdonia), Ben Jarvis Launch Campaign Manager for SaxaVord UK Spaceport, Shetland Islands) Victoria Montag (Chairman of Discover Space UK, representing Spaceport Machrihanish), Peter Guthrie (Head Project Manager of the UK Vertical Launch Space Programme, Space Hub Sutherland)

For what was termed a ‘historic first’, #NSSC2022 attendees had access to 6 UK Spaceports in the same room. Many of the UK Spaceports are not currently focusing on orbital launch, Cornwall and Wales are planning to be the first UK Spaceports to launch later this year, Wales are exploring sea launches, the Highlands & Islands Enterprise is looking to be the greenest Spaceport in the world.

UK Spaceports panel

The panel agreed that Spaceport launches are the “icing on the cake” as a key focus for UK Spaceports is on economic development, regional development and engagement and employment for the local communities.

Katy Haswell (journalist, TV presenter who co-hosts NASA/ESA live launches) – media input and expertise is needed on launches and in the Space sector in general in order to explain and inspire the next generation. Tips on how to take good footage were shared along with what it’s like to be broadcasting onsite during a live launch.

Chris Riley (writer and filmmaker) – film presents a powerful and accessible way to inspire and inform about Space. It offers the opportunity to show what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ and through time. Ways to access, catalogue and using footage from real space flights was shares, and one highlight was seeing the Apollo 11 rocket projected onto the Washington monument with launch countdown and moon landing commentary – fabulous!

See “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” for the Washington monument ‘launch’

Andrew Bacon (Co-Founder and CTO, Space Forge Ltd) – new ideas are needed on ways to take advantage of manufacturing in Space to create new “super materials”, tests and new applications e.g. on the ForgeStar Orbital Vehicle reusable satellite. By circumnavigating Earth’s production ‘issues’ there is a new portal for exploring manufacturing and materials that will be created in Space to operate in Space.

The next industrial revolution is in Space.

Space Data Panel – Ken Gordon (Chairing this Space Data Panel, ESA Space Solutions Business Ambassador for Scotland and NI), Zaina Rahman (ESA YGT, STEM mentor, New Voices in Space), Guillaume Tanier (CEO Leanspace), Andrew Fournet (Innovation Lead, Astrosat Ltd), Jacob Greer (Head of Space Surveillance and Tracking, UK Space Agency there was the unanimous agreement from the panel of the need for software engineers across all of the organisations represented and in the Space sector in general; but also a call for other skills such as artists (Astrosat), communicators, project managers and those able to work with others, make connections and network (ESA), entrepreneurs (Leanspace), coders, physicists, system engineers, AI/machine learning/data scientists, Project Managers and Diplomats (UK Space Agency).

Space Data Panel

Even highly technical Space Data companies need a range of expertise from across disciplines to successfully communication and develop their businesses into the future.

Mark McCaughrean (Senior Advisor for Science & Exploration, ESA) – shared The James Webb Space Telescope journey – design, construction, launch, operation, through to the current visual outputs. It was a privilege to gain insider knowledge, genuine passion for Space, and desire for everyone to access and benefit from JWST: it is “open to the world” and is there for students and future generations to come up with future ways to make use of it:

“Go and make use of this telescope, it’s yours.”

Mark McCaughrean

STEAM Panel – Richard Hollingham (Chairing STEAM Panel, journalist, radio producer and presenter). Finn Strivens (Designer, researcher, foresight practitioner), Marta Zawadzka (Artist), Anna Talvi (Researcher at UCL), Xavier De Kestelier (Architect and Head of Design at Hassell)

The value and contributions of ‘Arts’ expertise in the Space sector was clearly demonstrated as was the synergy of Art being curious and looking to find alternative ways to ‘solve’ a problem – as happens in Science. Furthermore, it became clear that both sectors starting from ‘why’, ‘what is the need’, and ‘what can we learn from what is real and what is around us’ principles.


Splitting education into two streams from an early age (Arts vs Science) was thought to be unhelpful as, when trying to integrate and work together to solve problems in the workplace – whether Space or any industry – the two areas need to work together with mutual understanding and respect.

Detina Zalli (Senior Teaching Fellow at Imperial, Co-founder, We Speak Science) – engagement with We Speak Science and We Speak Science Up to the Space was encouraged: a non-profit organisation that run funding, competitions and events in Europe and the US to increase awareness of science.

Deborah Sass (CEO, We Are Space Hero) – sharing her journey from a music and media career to member of the World Economic Forum Board and co-creator of a new global tv series where contestant compete to win a 10-day trip into space, everyone was encouraged to follow their passions and dreams (as well as pre-register to find out more and get latest updates for We Are Space Hero):

Pre-register to find out more about We Are Space Hero

And then of course last, but by no means least, it was our own Dr Rosie Doyle – pictured inset with Zaria Serfontein (UKSEDS) – providing hands-on practical tools and techniques to prioritise work, manage your time and reduce burnout.

Dr Rosie Doyle (Fistral)

Based on a variety of Time Management and other courses we deliver across the Space and Aerospace sectors, the session was highly interactive with students applying the techniques to their next few weeks of work.

As you can see it was an immense and highly-valuable programme with the key message that it’s an exciting time to engage with Space sector and – whatever your background – there are opportunities in the UK Space industry for you now!

Posted in CDT, DTC, Doctoral College, PhD, News & Newsletter, Space ESA, Undergraduate and tagged , , , , .
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