Hana Bird

I started my career as an apprentice Mechanical Engineer having decided that University wasn’t the route for me.

I was the only female in my team for 3 years, and by far the youngest but was lucky enough to get involved in the Mechanical and Material Testing team, contributing to verification tests, EVT campaigns and the Spacecraft build process. I got my Crane Drivers licence followed by my Forklift Driving licence and worked in Labs and Cleanrooms most days dealing with heavy machinery and components. It was a real eye opener to see how few female mechanical engineers there are, and how large the stereotype is around females and manual engineering. During these first three years I completed my Level 3 Mechanical Engineering at college, and then went on to do my Level 4 in Electronic Engineering.

I was given the opportunity to move into the Spacecraft Operations team, which was the polar opposite of my original role. This was a fabulous opportunity to interact with the Spacecraft in orbit that i’d help contribute to the manufacturing of at the start of their lifetime. In this role I was able to develop my understanding of the Systems and Operations aspect of the Spacecraft lifetime, and get involved with some amazing projects. The day-to-day activities were wildly different, being sat at a desk and communicating with Spacecraft in orbit was beyond exciting and I realised this is where I wanted to stay, and grow my expertise.

I was lucky enough to get involved in the Launch campaigns for a couple of exciting projects, and started liaising with customers and other stakeholders and really started to build my confidence in the workplace. I’d started getting involved with Outreach and could see how beneficial it was to have confidence and enjoy what you do, to encourage young people (and especially young girls) to see how interesting and varied the Space and Technology Industry is.

After 6 years I moved into a new role at In-Space as their Operations Engineer and the fun really started. It was entirely different to what I was used to, but so exciting to be there from the start and seeing the Spacecraft lifetime from a new perspective. So far i’ve been involved with 5 different projects and the Operations of the first In-Space mission, Faraday Phoenix. It’s been amazing to have such a great female representation in the company, and I work with some of the most incredible and knowledgeable engineers – everyone works so hard, all the time but we have a great laugh and it’s an amazing environment to work in. I feel very lucky to have experienced so much in a relatively short time, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me at In-Space.