Out of this world

Mullard Space Science Laboratory has engineers who design and build the instruments needed for science space research. Chris Brockley-Blatt is a mechanical engineer who designs equipment to analyse the Sun.

Engineers of every type

Space research needs scientists and engineers from all over the world. Chris works with mechanical engineers, software engineers and electrical engineers every day.

Studying the sun

Chris is the senior project manager. Her main project has been coordinating the design and production of the Solar Winder Analyser sensors for the Solar Orbiter. This is a satellite that is going to orbit and collect data from the Sun.

Chris is developing 3 sensors that will analyse particles in the solar wind. These particles move incredibly fast and are incredibly hot so engineers invent the best ways to collect and analyse them.

From science fiction to science fact

Chris had always been a bit of a sci-fi fan so seeing a job advertised at Mullard Space Science Laboratory seemed like an unbelievable chance. Chris had studied mechanical engineering and worked in vehicle engineering before. She transferred those skills to space science research.

Out of this world projects

Chris has worked on Beagle 2, a British Mars Lander, and the James Webb Space Telescope which is due to launch in 2021. Her sensors are being put onto the Solar Orbiter and that is going into space in 2020.

Another exciting project she has worked on is the SPIRE instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope. She is now the Project Manager of the VIS Instrument of the Euclid Space Telescope.

Communication is key

Communication skills are often under-appreciated. One of space engineering’s most memorable mistakes came when one group was working with imperial measures – inches and feet – and the other with metric measures of metres, because they hadn’t communicated properly. 

I made that!

When Chris sees pictures of their satellites, she loves to know that she helped make it. She thinks that when you work in a field you have a particular interest in, it’s very rewarding.

Chris’s maths teacher once said to her ‘aim for the stars’ – she took them literally!