Ellis Elliott
11 Feb 2020



Senior Project Manager in the Imaging Systems Division


​Ellis Elliott, imaging systems project manager​


How did you arrive at RAL Space?

I previously worked in the Oil and Gas sector - my degree is in Geology and Environmental Hazards – I was based in Aberdeen for 2 years, but I found that industry quite corporate and was looking for something more 'researchy'.  I heard about the opportunity at RAL Space, went through the assessment centre and was accepted onto the graduate scheme.

What is your role?

I am a project manager – I work in the Imaging Systems Division, mainly managing projects around camera electronics boxes on GOES-R​.  I'm also working with the Open University on a really exciting project called ProSPA – it's a lunar lander mission looking at contaminants and volatiles on the surface of the moon and seeing if we can use them as resources for future space missions.

Why is your role important?

It's important to have a customer facing person on our projects – one person who is there to interact with both the internal and external stakeholders. It's also great to have the opportunity to get out and meet customers to put faces to names, see their excitement about space and how they might apply the tech. Being able to see customer facilities, their technology and have that shared experience all adds to that bigger picture of what we do.

What's the best thing about your job?

One of my projects is due to launch in 2023 and at the outset it can feel quite daunting because the timescales involved in space missions are so long. So working to schedules, pulling people together and seeing things come to fruition is really satisfying. When you reach the end of a project phase and see the finished box it's really exciting and there's a real sense of achievement in knowing that you helped them to build it – it makes all the time and effort worthwhile.

What do you value about working for RAL Space?

I've had some serious health challenges since starting to work at RAL Space. I've felt really supported and have always been encouraged to take all the time I've needed to recover fully and look after myself – health comes first here and that's very reassuring. On a personal level I've been very grateful for having a really approachable line manager and for all the support I've had from my division.

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

Do your research! Space is quite different, so if space is your interest, then take the time to understand the industry a bit so that you can demonstrate a general awareness of space missions and projects. Don't be overwhelmed – within the industry there's an appreciation that the learning curve is steep for new starters.

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

Worry and stress less! Be calmer about school and University and just enjoy the moment. Life has a way of working out for the best.