Supporting a University Satellite Engineering Team via Inclusivity and Initiative

2020-07-07T14:48:59Z (GMT) by William E Crofts Julia Hunter-Anderson
Any university-based satellite engineering team that hopes to design, build, launch and operate even the most modest of satellite missions is likely to encounter enormous resourcing difficulties. Unless you are fortunate enough to receive support from, e.g. a well-funded research group, it is normally extremely difficult to raise the amount of funding needed. In a research-led university, such a‘practical’ project rarely has the ‘currency’ of research publication output even if it carries potentially very high profile exposure for the department/university.The University of Warwick Satellite (WUSAT) Engineering Programme has found ways to overcome this ongoing problem ever since its inception in 2006. This paper describes how resourceful and inventive the Directors and students have had to be in order to facilitate the achievements that the team has made over the past thirteen years.
What is described in this paper is not just a mechanistic approach in ‘how to get things done on a tight budget’, it is also a description of how to develop an attitude and a culture that makes a wide range of individuals and organisations feel that they are part of the wider ‘WUSAT Team’. It is an illustration of ‘thinking on your feet’ when an opportunity arises for you to offer something to someone else rather than just thinking about what you want from them. The reward for the team will come in the payback that almost inevitably comes from organisations/individuals whose trust and respect you have earned.This paper describes many examples of such relationship-forging events. These include examples involving,
xPartner companies,
xWarwick University staff/resources,
xThe inclusivity and diversity of the wider WUSAT team,
xOther external agencies.

Of course, this doesn’t exclude the need for direct financial support altogether, but the culture and approach described in this paper is at the heart of why the WUSAT Programme has been successful, and why it has become widely recognised within the Higher Education Space Engineering community.