Help! Ds wants to design/engineer spacecraft

(63 Posts)
HullyEastergully Thu 13-Dec-12 11:21:09

How what where when can he go and do?

What about residential courses etc??

I know of Smallpeice but none other.

All help most gratefully received.

Backinthebox Thu 13-Dec-12 11:47:47

Degree in Aerospace Engineering? I've heard Southampton Uni is very good.

bruffin Thu 13-Dec-12 11:59:41

What year is he in?

Headstart do course a course but he has to be year 12 and the applications need to be in this week

aerospace headstart at Liverpool University

GrimmaTheNome Thu 13-Dec-12 12:00:07

May not be exactly what he wants but I think Surrey is supposed to be very good for satellite engineering.

How old is he?

complexnumber Thu 13-Dec-12 12:25:23

Bristol Uni do a degree in aero engineering and have strong links with British Aerospace just up the road.

NewFerry Thu 13-Dec-12 12:42:59

My DS is at Southampton studying aerospace engineering and spacecraft design. He is loving it, but not much use for your DS till he's 18. The smallpeice courses are really good.
If your DS is little younger, try to find any courses that Adrain Dening is running as these are very good.

HullyEastergully Thu 13-Dec-12 16:17:17

Thanks all, he is in Year 11 at the mo (15), so is trying to plan and think ahead. I'll have a look at theose courses.

HullyEastergully Thu 13-Dec-12 16:19:01

Oh he would have loved those adrian dening ones when younger, why doesn't anyone tell you about this stuff..??

bruffin Thu 13-Dec-12 16:36:07

[[ he is eligible to apply for an Arkwright Scholarship]] for those who want to study engineering at uni. You have to apply in yr11.
It's £600 over two years in 6th form plus £400 for the school plus a head start course paid for . Also get a sponsor which may give contacts in industry etc.

HullyEastergully Thu 13-Dec-12 16:46:57

Thanks bruffin, I'll get him to get on to it.

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Thu 13-Dec-12 16:50:51

Aeronautical engineering is not necessarily the best choice (great degree though!) DHs family pretty much all work in aerospace. Lots have a mechanical or electrical engineering degree, one very succesful relative has an acoustical engineering degree!

If he can narrow down the part he finds most exciting that will help him choose.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 13-Dec-12 20:16:57
Spalva Thu 13-Dec-12 22:23:52

Ha! This caught my eye as my 12 year-old dd is very keen on aerospace engineering and I'm on the lookout for clubs/courses for her as a home educator. Oh my! Seriously, thank you so so much for the Smallpeice and Adrian Dening tips! I can't wait to show her! I wish she weren't in bed right now!

sashh Fri 14-Dec-12 05:22:59

Write to Richard Branson and ask how he can get in touch with whoever is designing / building his spacecraft.

Eastpoint Fri 14-Dec-12 06:25:02

My cousin was obsessed with Star Wars from 2. He did astro-physics at Edinburgh and now works for the European Space Agency. He does satellite launch & design. He really enjoys his work and has a girlfriend based in Germany who works in the same industry.

HullyEastergully Fri 14-Dec-12 09:27:43

Those that know people working in the industry and loving it, what type of people (personality) are they iykwim?

Lilymaid Fri 14-Dec-12 09:43:36

Your DS might be interested in the Schools Aerospace Challenge if he can get his school interested too.

Eastpoint Fri 14-Dec-12 09:51:07

Cousin is mid-30s, was really into sailing, windsurfing & diving, fairly sociable & friendly.

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Fri 14-Dec-12 09:59:36

In actual space related stuff as opposed to aircraft: very bright, not brilliant social skills, bit of a pedant. Nice though.

I forgot to say lots of people on aeronautical engineering students will be looking to work in f1, so it's quite usual to do a course that doesn't look like quite the right one, but is because if the content. If he can get some relevant work experience that will really help.

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Fri 14-Dec-12 10:00:48

Please excuse my garbled posts, not getting much sleep!

HullyEastergully Fri 14-Dec-12 10:16:32

Thanks, it's good to know the stereotype no longer necessarily holds true...

GrimmaTheNome Fri 14-Dec-12 10:30:24

>Thanks, it's good to know the stereotype no longer necessarily holds true...

especially if you've got a sociable, windsurfing girl who might want to go this way. So, not all Howard Wolowitzes? grin

HullyEastergully Fri 14-Dec-12 10:34:45


moonbells Fri 14-Dec-12 10:35:36

Taking note of this thread... I've a 5yo who wants to be an aero engineer, though he insists that he can build a new Concorde out of Lego grin

I also decided on my career before the age of 10, so I have no doubt he'll do it. (The engineer part, not the Concorde!)

JenaiMathis Fri 14-Dec-12 12:29:37

Utterly irrelevant but I was in Budgens earlier and they has Malteasters (giant Maltesers shaped like bunnies). In December.

I thought of you Hully.

Your son should go to Bristol because it is an excellent place (can't comment on courses as I know nothing).

HullyEastergully Fri 14-Dec-12 12:32:46

On that basis he should go to Bali. As should I. <packs bag>

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Fri 14-Dec-12 13:36:29

Virgin galactic are based in California, DH keeps checking their job lists!

Oh which DH is not remotely like Howard, if he was he wouldn't be my DH! He'd love to move into this field, just getting experience and looking for the right opportunity.

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Fri 14-Dec-12 13:52:51

Er, possibly I mean New Mexico. Guilty of not listening. Just having a look at their website and one of their directors did mech eng at Imperial.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 14-Dec-12 13:58:36

Virgin Galactic may work in the US, but a LOT of their engineers are products of the UK Universities.

The other opportunity for engineers is Formula 1 : all the teams work in and around Slough.
DS dream job is to be chief engineer of the REd Bull Formula 1 - or even Formula E - team, when that comes on line.

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Fri 14-Dec-12 14:11:07

Yes of course. British engineers seem very well respected. An awful lot choose to go overseas after qualifying for exciting projects though.

I just quite fancy moving somewhere sunny.grin

Lots of sub-contracting too, so you could work (or get experience) in the UK with someone that makes a small part of the finished product for an international company.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 14-Dec-12 14:19:05

I've told DS he's going to Stanford, whether he wants to or not !

JenaiMathis Fri 14-Dec-12 14:28:32

I researched automative engineering courses for ds nearly two years ago. He is 12 blush

TalkinPeace2 Fri 14-Dec-12 14:37:58

so is my DS
have we just found a whole new category of pushy parent? grin

GrimmaTheNome Fri 14-Dec-12 14:51:50

Supportive, talking, supportivegrin

HullyEastergully Fri 14-Dec-12 15:03:47

well it's bloody hard. I'm an artsy fartsy type, I don't know anything about any of it and ds needs to know somehow and obvs won't do it himself

HullyEastergully Fri 14-Dec-12 15:04:08

what about stanford?

TalkinPeace2 Fri 14-Dec-12 15:09:43
cos then I can go visit him wink

HullyEastergully Fri 14-Dec-12 15:16:53


I don't understand the Stanford process. That is the first hurdle.

bruffin Fri 14-Dec-12 15:22:27

DS longs to go to MIT

HullyEastergully Fri 14-Dec-12 15:25:44

is it another very scary thing I won't understand..?

HullyEastergully Fri 14-Dec-12 15:27:57


Which is the best one in the whole world? (He'll want to go there)

RatherBeOnThePiste Fri 14-Dec-12 15:34:17

Hully - our daughter is keen on aeronautical engineering at the moment, but she's only at the point of choosing A Levels. There is though a course at Cambridge she was aspiring to. My husband was talking about somewhere that might do summer holiday work experience. Neither of them are here at the mo. but I shall ask

bruffin Fri 14-Dec-12 15:34:50
RatherBeOnThePiste Fri 14-Dec-12 15:34:53

Ah. The Cambridge course does a year at MIT.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 14-Dec-12 15:35:21

We'll meet up at the Open days!

At the moment Imperial and MIT are probably the top 2
Soton and Stanford in the next tier I think - have not researched too much as there is no way he's going to Soton no matter how good the course is.
(^no point him going to Uni 5 miles from home with DH on campus regularly!^)

JenaiMathis Fri 14-Dec-12 15:38:30

I fancy Texas or France.

Just correcting the typo in bruffin's link Top 50

bruffin Fri 14-Dec-12 15:59:10

thanks jenaigrin

DS has already found out about the link between Cambridge and Mit coursesgrin however his sponsor from Arkwright has told him he might be able to get him a bursery at Imperial, if he applied there.

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Fri 14-Dec-12 18:14:34

I enquired over dinner, will be back later because I can't type it all up on this stupid phone...

Amerryscot Fri 14-Dec-12 19:47:14

I would recommend a top engineering discipline (ie chemical, mechanical, civil or electrical/electronic engineering). Of those, mechanical, electronic and chemical engineering seem to be most appropriate. The aerospace bits can then be done at post graduate level.

Which universities? Any Russell Group for undergraduate.

I would like the top brains designing rockets. I'm sure NASA, et al, feel the same.

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Fri 14-Dec-12 20:20:20

Right, according to DH who, as I said up there would like to move into this field but currently works with aircraft, it depends a bit on exactly what he would like to do.

If he wants to be cutting edge forefront of spacecraft design, he thinks pure maths degree and applied maths pHd. Or Physics.

If he's interested in the computer programming side, possibly some kind of computer studies but that's a bit riskier because he would need to go straight from degree into working in aerospace, or he might end up becoming a generic IT guy.

Otherwise aeronautical or mechanical engineering degree with year in industry, or equivalent apprenticeship. If he looks at mechanical the course needs to include two specific units, one is "Computational Fluid Dynamics" and something that covers"Jet Propulsion, Rocket Propulsion, Ballistics".

For now he could look for a STEM club in his local area/school. Model rocket amateur clubs in his local area. If they're local you've probably been to these places already, but the space center in Leicester and science museum in London are great in general and have special events if you keep an eye on their websites. This is true for trying to get on any degree course but if you can show you're taking your interest in a subject further in your own time that's always going to help your application.

Needs maths and physics at A-level definitely, Chemistry also potential a good option (I'm sure you've thought to look up the potential university courses and check what qualifications they require).

Hope that helps.

NewFerry Fri 14-Dec-12 22:09:28

If your DS can access further maths at AS or A level, it would definitely help with the modules on his degree. Also, universities seem to like students who can offer FM. Bristol actually reduce their standard offer for candidates offering maths, FM and physics at A2.

If he does choose to go own the mech eng route then do check the modules carefully.

frankie4 Tue 18-Dec-12 17:37:02

My ds is dyslexic and might not get into top universities but wants to do this sort of engineering. Has anyone heard of Dr Maggie Aderin -Pocock who works at Astrium, who is an engineer, comes to talk at schools sometimes - She is dyslexic.

bruffin Tue 18-Dec-12 17:57:30

Sorry haven't heard of Dr Pocock, but my ds is dyslexic and so is my dh who is an engineer. I think there is probably a higher proportion of engineers that are dyslexic.
My dh left school at 15 and did an old fashioned apprenticeship and got his qualifications that way.
Ds is now doing A levels and hopefully now he can concentrate on what he is good at, he can get the qualifications he needs to do get where he wants.
How old is your son Frankie?

frankie4 Tue 18-Dec-12 21:59:33

He is only 12 - I'm just thinking ahead blush
I know there are lots of dyslexic engineers and my ds is very technical and good at making things. I guess I will have to wait and see if he is academic enough for an engineering degree....

bruffin Tue 18-Dec-12 22:16:48

I just realised who the doctor is, saw a programme she did on the moon.
If he is good at making things and design, get him to for the Arkwright Scholarship I mentioned above when he is yr 11. It involves two parts
Firstly an exam with very little writing.
Ds had to design 3 different machines to remove snow, then a bubble making machine for a nursery.
The best from that go forward to the interview stage where they have to present a project. Ds went to Imperial College for the day for that.

frankie4 Tue 18-Dec-12 22:47:20

Bruffin-thanks for that, I looked at some of the example questions on their website and it looks the sort of thing my ds would do for fun! I will keep it in mind. I just hope that he does well in maths at school. Well done to your ds for doing so well.

Nicknamenotavailableeither Tue 18-Dec-12 22:53:56

Dh works for Surrey satellite technology (Sstl) as senior engineer doing exactly that! He did electronics engineering at Southampton but says he would recommend Surrey as Sstl have big links with them.

bruffin Tue 18-Dec-12 23:16:18

Thanks Frankie, very proud of him.
He is in the picture of the award ceremony on the home page. He is in the very bottom right hand corner, next to the girl with white blouse.

NewFerry Wed 19-Dec-12 09:12:06

Nick can I ask if his company also has links with mech eng department at Surrey? My DS has an offer from them for next year, subject to passing his exams of course!

HullyEastergully Wed 19-Dec-12 09:16:23

Oh this fell off. It's come back. Bruffin, did your ds do dt gcse at school?

My ds is dyslexic too (retrieval ishoos)

You might find some ideas on the Bloodhound SSC project as well. Although its a car, because its aimed to be the first car to travel at 1000 mph, I assume it draws heavily on aeronautics.

bruffin Wed 19-Dec-12 13:52:42

Ds did electronic engineering btec.
He is now doing maths, further maths, physics and philosophy AS and another engineering course on the side. Not sure what it is though.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 19-Dec-12 14:45:26

The Bloodhound team do LOTS of promotional stuff
its a car, with a jet engine, based on whacky chemistry for the fuel and lots of vibration research

thats the thing nowadays - so much inter disciplinary work going on at unis ....

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