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James Cooper

United Kingdom

I’m a MEng Aeronautical Engineering Student at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. My personal highlights from the course are the Spacecraft Design, Flight Control Systems and Aerodynamics modules. During my studies, I have also undertaken an Industrial Placement Year at MBDA Systems in the Integration department. Alongside my academic studies, I have been involved with the BMFA University Payload Challenge for 4 years which included flying the first fully autonomous aircraft at the competition. Outside of academics, I have built 3D printers and enjoy flying RC Multi-Rotors.

What motivated you most to participate to Odysseus contest?

The Odysseus Contest appealed to me as I having an avid interest in Spaceflight, in particular, the near-term goal of getting humans to Mars. I held the opinion that the Odysseus Contest would allow me to expand my knowledge in a particular area through research while also giving the chance to gain experience in an international competition. Secondly, the contest represented an opportunity for non-academic teamwork on space topics that we both found interesting.

What did you enjoy when you prepared your project?

While preparing our project, I enjoyed researching areas of Spaceflight that I did not have any experience with from my academic studies, such as electronic propulsion systems including Magnetoplasma-Dynamic Thrusters and High Bandwidth Space Based Laser-based Communication Systems. As I had no experience with many of the key areas for future, the competition provided a means to increase my knowledge base.

What was the most important thing that you learned during the preparation of your project?

During the preparation for the project, the most important things that our team learned were Teamwork and Time Management. Working in a team rather than individually allows for increased output but could lead to duplication of work, presenting the need to learn Concise Project Management, Clear Communication and Teamwork. Secondly, fitting in the project around our teams University work during the coursework season meant that a new Time Management skill was key to ensure that the project progressed while the coursework got all of the required time.

Has the work done for your project affected your decision for studies in space science?

After pursuing the project, I had a renewed interest in Space Studies. I am now actively looking to push my future academic career into that field through my Masters final year project and potentially a PhD in the subject area.