In a nutshell, I was always a fan of science-fiction, but thought that the space industry was limited to the elite, and to NASA employees. Then in 2004 Scaled Composites won the Ansari X-Prize which was a competition run by Peter Diamandis. This led to the creation of Virgin Galactic.
I saw this as the birth of the private space sector, and decided that I wanted to join. So I started a foundation degree (aged 27) then got accepted on an Aeronautical Engineering degree. I won the national 2010 Merlin Flight Simulator Competition with my Bachelors Thesis, and the competition was judged by Dave Mackay (who is now chief test pilot for Virgin Galactic).
After Coventry University, I went on to work at Rolls-Royce and Airbus, and I applied for a Master’s degree at International Space University (ISU) (also founded by Peter Diamandis), and received a scholarship from The European Space Agency. During my time at ISU I attended an internship with Made In Space as a mechanical engineer, and also at ESO as a journalist. It is possible that the work I did for Made In Space will end up on the International Space Station next year.
In summary, I saw that the future of humanity lies within space and wanted to be a part of it. As Peter Diamandis said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
I totally believe that, and I believe that engineering is the best way to achieve this goal.
The last few years have been a wild ride, and I owe it all to aerospace engineering. Not bad for a kid who grew up on a Birmingham council estate!