Student’s career ambitions rocket into space
Press release issued: 29 May 2013
The exciting world of space exploration is being opened up to a student from the University of Bristol who will embark on an intense nine-week study mission at the International Space University. Engineering PhD student Ashley Dale will learn about everything from space mission design to the risks of solar flares after winning a coveted scholarship worth 17,500 Euros from the UK Space Agency.
Engineering PhD student Ashley Dale will learn about everything from space mission design to the risks of solar flares after winning a coveted scholarship worth 17,500 Euros from the UK Space Agency.
The International Space University’s Space Studies Programme (SSP), taking place in Strasbourg from 24 June, puts postgraduate students from around the world on a crash-course in space law and policy, business and management, space engineering and telecommunications, space mission design, plus the implications of space habitability and transportation.
Using data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observer, Ashley will also be working with an international group to look at redefining the risk assessment of solar flares on satellites orbiting the Earth. Solar flares and storms set off massive waves of plasma energy, enough to disrupt any technology that depends upon constant communications with satellites.
Ashley found out about the scholarship opportunity from a Professor at the International Space University who he met at the National Student Space Conference 2013, which was held at the University of Bristol earlier this year.
Ashley, 25 and halfway through his PhD in Aerospace Engineering, said: “It’s all very exciting stuff. My aspirations since a young age have been to be involved in the space sector, to be working at the frontier of human exploration and expansion. This scholarship has provided the perfect opportunity to not only further my knowledge, but to develop networks and collaborate with like-minded individuals from around the world. Hopefully it will also help me decide which route within the sector most appeals to me.”
It won’t be Ashley’s first encounter with space exploration, having spent two weeks in the high-altitude Utah desert last year as part of a NASA/ESA-related simulated Mars mission. He lived in a Habitat Module as part of the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) and was involved in various projects including assessment of the functionality of a small, remote-controlled rover carrying a wireless video camera, which was used as a scout to explore hard-to-reach places.
He’s due to return to Utah early next year, when he will be leading a group of UK academics on a two-week ‘astronauts-on-Mars’ simulation study.