Chris Howe
26 Sep 2018



Production and Software Group Leader


​​​​​​​​​​Chris Howe in his current role as Production and Software Group Leader


​​How did you get into your job?

When I was 10, my grandfather gave me an electric bulb in a socket and battery and made it light up a margarine container. He was an electrical engineer and my other grandfather was a mechanical engineer - I've got engineering in my blood. As I grew up, I got interested in electronics and I built crystal sets. My school friend and I had our own company called Howe and Williams Unlimited Electronics - we fixed radios, record players, etc​. for people in the village. I just grew into doing electronics.

What is your role?

Production and software group leader. I manage the production of circuit boards and electrical instruments which are used on various spacecraft such as D-CIXS​ which flew on SMART-1 to the Moon​​. I also manage the software section, where I have four software engineers who work for me and we do embedded software. So my current role is a systems designer, where I look at the bigger picture. 

What's the best thing about your job?

Looking up at the M​oon and going 'I've got stuff on there!'. Also the challenge of engineering itself, I really enjoy designing things and solving problems. 

Why is it important you do what you do?

We use my designs to find out new things about the universe. It's important to find out how the Earth was made and developed. People talk about going to Mars in the future, but I think we should learn how to live on the Moon ​- which is only a week's travel away! Two of my instruments so far have looked at the Moon, the programme we're working on at the moment (PROSPECT) with the Open University will be sending a chemistry set the size of a boot box to the Moon. Here it will look at the compounds inside the lunar soil, which will be useful for scientists and future engineers to work out where to put a Moon base. 

What advice would you give to people looking for a job in your industry?

If you want to work in the space industry be inquisitive and prepare to think outside the box. Just be interested as engineering is really fun. 

Is there anything you wish you could tell your younger self now?

Maybe learn to sail sooner! I'm really happy with what I've done. But really make sure you have a diverse career and learn lots of different things.

​The year my grandfather got me into electrical engineering.​ I am the eldest child in the photo (right of photo).

Chris Howe with both his engineering grandfathers. 

Wit​​​h both my engineering grandfathers. My electrical engineering grandfather (left of photo) worked for Northmet Power and my mechanical engineering grandfather (centre of photo) worked for Cowans Sheldon. 

Contact: RAL Space Enquiries