Welcome to the latest feature in our ‘Day in the life’ series with Space Systems Engineer Pejman (Pej) Nejadi.

Pejman Nejadi - Space Systems Engineer - In-Space Missions photo

What inspired you to become a Space Systems Engineer – was there someone or something that flicked the switch and made you want to work in space?

I liked the idea of being able to do something outside of this world, space has that edge and mystery, it is complex; I wanted to be involved and find out more. Also, when you have a physics teacher who is enthusiastic and excited about space and the topic they teach, it rubs off on you and it does not get any better than that!

What did you do before joining In-Space?

I was with SSTL for nearly a decade where I had a number of differing roles. I liked to move around in the early days, to gain an understanding and overview of all aspects of space engineering. I started in AIT (Assembly, Integration & Testing) which is the back-end production of spacecraft design. It was very rewarding but I realised that I wanted to be involved in design aspects more so I moved across to the front end and became a Mechanical Engineer. In this role I was involved in designing spacecraft and learned about the interactions and dependencies between the rockets and the satellites. Additionally this enhanced my understanding of the interconnection between various spacecraft subsystems internal to the satellite. When I was looking for the next challenge, I wanted to have an overview of the satellite architecture and also interact with the customer on the business development side so this naturally led me on to become a Systems Engineer.

What appealed to you when the opportunity came up to join In-Space?

The small agile group of engineers who are focused, talented, and willing to have a fresh take on how to get things done was very appealing. When discussing the company road map with our CEO, it made me realise I would like to be part of building a successful, recognised, and ambitious brand.

What are your main roles and responsibilities as a Systems Engineer?

Being a jack of all trades and master of some! I am involved with projects when they are at their earliest stage and I assist in making sure that the finished product will fulfil the client’s needs and objectives. It is a technical management role alongside project management delivery.

A key aspect of the role is interfacing with the customer, making sure that their requirements and objectives are well understood and can be met.

The ability to keep an eye on the bigger picture and not to deviate from the objectives whilst finding the appropriate solutions and implementation to get to the end result is a key characteristic of a system engineer.

It is important to take a step back when challenges arise and to take a calculated and measured approach when solving problems and differentiating between when compromise is acceptable and when it is not.

What is your favourite part about working here?

I feel privileged to be working amongst a team of world class experts. The attitude towards challenges we face in our day-to-day tasks are seen as enabling increments which gets us closer to achieving a common and worthwhile goal. This is not a 9-5 job; it is so much bigger than that!

Who has influenced you the most when it comes to how you approach your work?

Growing up, my dad was a big influence; he was instrumental in distilling the value of getting a job well done no matter what job. I always find myself asking what he would do when I get stuck!

Additionally, the team approach influences me greatly. Everyone cares about what they do and the quality of their work, if you do something right, everything else follows and things generally fall into place.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Solving problems that seem difficult initially and seeing the progression as we move through the challenges and finding resolutions. I like working hard and seeing the results. It is exciting to talk to the rest of the team and to see how they are interacting and working together, it makes me proud to be part of the team.

When I am not at work, responses I get telling people what I do is very inspiring which is usually full of enthusiasm and curiosity, as everyone loves space.

What is a typical workday like?

I talk to the other engineers, and we plan the work ahead and have many discussions with the customers. A lot of my job is working on the spacecraft design and performance aspects, so I need to keep in close contact with the customers and my colleagues.

I have to work across multiple disciplines to be able to design systems that perform the intended function, reliably, while taking into account the effects of environment in space (i.e. vacuum, temperature extremes, radiation, launch vibration etc.) which generates a lot of constraints and makes for challenging engineering solutions.

Day to day activities include making informed and guided decisions and working out how to break down larger problems into smaller ones, it is having a hierarchical view and being able to communicate to different skill sets across the team to get the job done.

What would we most likely find you doing at the weekend?

Family life is the key part of my values and I enjoy being able to wind down and catch up with friends and family over the weekend and socialise; usually with a coffee in hand. Cooking for people is also one of my favourite activities, in particular introducing people to traditional recipes!

I also enjoy spending time outdoors, thing’s like gardening ,hiking and in particular riding my motorbike would be some of the typical things I would do. I also enjoy learning new skills when I can, I have recently re-started my martial arts training and am looking to become a fully qualified scuba diver.

Article  by In-Space Missions
Date: 24th August 2021