Speaker – Ryan Smith
Electronic Engineer, RAL Space
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Ryan Smith is an Electronic Engineer at RAL Space, part of the Science at technology Facilities Council based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell, Oxfordshire. He studied Robotics at Plymouth university, resulting in a Masters, winning best project for his Semi-Autonomous Robotic Platform project. He has always been interested in space, and aerospace, aspiring to work in the sector since he was young. With experience of designing real world electronic systems from his placement year at Cubik Innovation, and a passion for space, he ended up in his current position in the Imaging systems division of RAL Space. He has worked on power supplies for microwave imagers on weather satellites and high resolution black body targets for in space calibration of science instruments. Ryan is now part of a team attempting to demonstrate Quantum Key Distribution from a cube sat. This means building high powered laser systems to communicate with optical ground stations on Earth.
With the passion for space, especially planetary science, coupled with the robotics engineering background, Ryan works heavily of lander systems for interplanetary travel when he can. With the aid of managers at RAL Space, who have experience creating science instruments for missions such as Philae, Insight and the Rosalind Franklin ExoMars Rover, Ryan has developed conceptual designs for future missions. Along with other graduates Ryan also works heavily with outreach, pushing his passion for space as part of the Science and Technology Facilities Councils public engagement remit. Along with a team of graduates he is developing a conceptual rover to show young people what goes into a science mission such as Rosalind Franklin, or Curiosity, and get them to think about the dangers of places like Mars and the Moon when visiting. He also runs the World of Indie blog, a site about space history, highlighting some of the best photos from rocket launches, and looking at concepts in fundamental physics.