Angelo Grubisic - MSS05

AngelGrubisic2“I graduated from the ISU 7-years ago on MSS04/05, and I'm pleased to say that the risk I took in taking my internship at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) over one of the internships offering job prospects really paid off. Of course, it was not without perseverance and hard work. Shortly after finishing the internship I took a PhD at the University of Southampton which had great facilities and industrial relationships with the ion propulsion field. I collaborated with JPL extensively over my PhD, looking at the complex failure mechanisms of ion thrusters.

I then took a joint postdoc with JPL in the same subject which was a tremendous period of learning. I formed a consultancy and I've been working with QinetiQ in the UK for the last 2-years, developing the solar electric propulsion system for ESA's cornerstone Bepi Colombo mission to Mercury. I could not have done this if I had not been able to hit the ground running, owed to the great and well respected experience I gained at JPL.

The work at QinetiQ has been a great challenge, with a mixture of R&D, AIT, systems design and a good deal of fire fighting! BepiColombo will be a phenomenal mission for ion propulsion; the first SEP mission to another planet. I now have the position of lead test engineer for the SEPS (Solar Electric Propulsion System) coupling test. This will be a major system qualification test of integrated thrusters, power processing units and propellant flow control units, which has been incredibly complex.

The mission is like being stuck on the front of a freight train, it stops for no man; I don't think you can be taught to expect these kinds of things. I've done my share of research and industry work now and there are benefits to both. I haven't decided what I'll to once Bepi launches, there's the possibility of more missions with QinetiQ or I could move into more systems architect roles in other organizations. I'm also not ignoring the possibility of going back into the intellectual freedom of research.”