International Space University/University of Kent
Masters of Space Studies/BSc in Physics & Space Science
Airbus Stevenage (UK), TAS-I Turin (Italy), ESTEC Noordwijk (Holland), COLCC Munich (Germany)
Columbus Flight Director
Airbus Defence and Space
I’m part of Mission Control in Munich, looking after the Columbus Module and the ISS crew! I will be ‘on-console’ during Tim’s Mission.
If you’ve ever seen Apollo 13, and remember all the people on the ground, talking into headsets, staring at telemetry, and fixing problems… Well, that’s my job! The Col Flight team has overall responsibility for the operations of Columbus Module, the European Space Laboratory joined to the International Space Station and we coordinate all the astronauts activities in it. Tim will perform a lot of scientific experiments inside Columbus, I will be in the team supporting him every day, coordinating all his activities so that they are successful and making sure that he is always safe.
My Typical Day
Shift work: Mornings, Afternoons, Nights, Weekends, talking to astronauts on the ISS from time to time… Arriving at work without knowing when you will leave. Meetings, meetings and meetings with different teams spread all over Europe and the US.
One of the exciting things about this job is that even if you plan thoroughly what you will that day when you arrive at work, you stay there sometimes for upto 12 hours and then you leave having worked a completely different day from what you had planned to do, because unexpected things can happen and you need to react immediately and fix them.
Here is a clip from the Apollo 13 movie that we think shows quite well how a day at work can turn out to be.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would use the money to help the winning class visit a real space operations centre in the UK.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, Motivated, Thorough
What was your favourite subject at school?
I loved history. If I wasn’t so into Space I’d want to be an archeologist!
What did you want to be after you left school?
An Astronaut; Being a Flight Director is the next best thing ;-)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
My memory escapes me ;-) its been a while ago!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Diving in the Caribbean
This is a view of the control room, with me sitting at the Columbus Flight Console…
…and this is what we normally see on the screens of our computer
Me at console coordinating an Astronaut activity
Its not all Work, Work, Work! This is the Columbus Flight Control Team at this years premier of “The Martian” doing our “Fonzie impression”