UCL Centre for Systems Engineering


Space Systems Welcomes Industry Speakers

2 June 2023

UCLse’s MSc module, Space Systems, running this month, will welcome industry speakers including from the European Space Agency and In-Space Missions.

Photo of students in a classroom

As part of our MSc programmes, UCL Centre for Systems Engineering run the Space Systems module. As well as our own experts, this module usually boasts an impressive array of speakers from industry, and 2023 is no exception.

This module provides a broad understanding of the space sector by exploring why the space sector is important - socially, economically and politically, and its relationship to the contexts of technology, systems engineering and project management.

For the sessions looking at the applications of space missions, we have Mina Syriou and Antonios Maillis from the European Space Agency. To support the session on the anatomy of a space mission we have Professor Alan Smith, former Director of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, and looking at low-cost approaches we have Doug Liddle, CEO of In-Space Missions. Finally, looking at Future Space and the possible impacts on systems, technology, and policy we have Professor Serge Plattard, former Senior Resident Fellow of the Space Policy Institute.

Ian Raper, the module lead, said “We are so grateful to our speakers contributing to our teaching. The incorporation of current real-world experience is so valuable to our students, allowing them to better connect theory to practice. It is also good that our students see a range of possible future careers and hopefully some will be encouraged into the space sector.”

Headshot of Mina Syiriou
Mina Syriou, Business Applications & Partnerships Engineer, European Space Agency

Mina is an Earth observation evangelist, with business development, project management, organisational leadership, and hands-on remote sensing/ geospatial expertise. This has been achieved through a track record working across NGOs, academia, the Scottish government, the United Nations and the space sector. 

In her current role at ESA, she’s responsible for developing and promoting space-based applications and services in various verticals with a focus on energy and utilities. She helps establish and develop strategic partnerships with private and public stakeholders in innovative technological domains and markets. Part of her role also involves supporting SMEs, start-ups, and new ventures on space-tech-related concepts.

Additionally, Mina is the business development lead of the Energy Working Group for downstream applications within her department, focusing on the clean energy transition in response to climate change and the need to secure energy supplies.

Mina is a Fellow and a Chartered Geographer at the Royal Geographical Society. She holds a position as a STEM Ambassador. She’s also a mentor to geospatial/ EO professionals/ business start-uppers in various groups and business accelerators.

Headshot of Antonios Maillis
Antonios Maillis, Satellite Applications Engineer, European Space Agency

Antonios is an experienced Satellite Applications Engineer holding an MSc in Satellite Communications and Space Systems and a BEng in Electronic Engineering. He has extensive knowledge in Systems-level analysis and design, while able to approach downstream space solutions from an end-to-end perspective.

Antonios is a certified Six Sigma and MoR professional. He is an expert in DMAIC, Waterfall and Agile methodologies.

Antonios’ projects portfolio involves activities in the domains of IoT, Hybrid communications, energy, agriculture, commodities, aquaculture, maritime, aviation, connectivity (emergency services, rural regions, offshore), e-health and structural monitoring.

In his current role at ESA, Antonios leads ESA funding initiatives addressing diverse market verticals. He’s the lead of the inter-directorate’s working group on ‘energy assets operations and maintenance’ aiming to leverage space applications in innovative, sustainable services to support the energy sector. Prior to joining ESA, Antonios was a Satellite Communication Engineer at the Satellite Applications Catapult while earlier in his career, he was licensing and managing Spectrum as a Spectrum Delivery Manager for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Headshot of Alan Smith
Professor Alan Smith, Professor of Detector Physics, UCL

Professor Alan Smith has a background in Astrophysics, Instrumentation, Space Research and Systems Engineering. He has been involved in sounding rocket and satellite programmes for almost 30 years, 8 of which were spent at the European Space Agency.

Since joining UCL in 1990 he has become: Associate Director of Programmes and Head of Detector Physics at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory (the largest University-based space research organisation in the UK); Director of UCL's Centre for Advanced Instrumentation Systems and Academic Coordinator of the Sira-UCL Postgraduate Training Partnership; Director of UCL's Centre for Systems Engineering (UCLse); and more recently, Director of the Laboratory and Head of its host Department, the Department of Space and Climate Physics.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Association of Project Management.

Headshot of Serge Plattard
Professor Serge Plattard, Honorary Professor, UCL

Prior to Prof. Serge Plattard's current position at UCL, Serge was Senior Resident Fellow at ESPI since 2012, a European space policy think tank he started and ran from 2004, working on space governance, exploration policies, and space security. From 1998-2003, he was CNES’s director for international relations.

A nuclear physicist for 12 years, he then turned to science & technology diplomacy, first at the French Ministry of External Relations in 1981, and later as a science & technology counsellor with French Embassies in India, Japan, US, and UK. He lectured in nuclear physics at Université d’Orsay, and in R&D innovation and technology economy at Université Paris-Dauphine, and the French Business School ESSEC. He also lectures at UCL and at the International Space University in Strasbourg.

He is a life member of the American Physical Society, founding member of Euroscience and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. Serge is a Knight in the order of the Légion d’Honneur and holds the Golden Rays in the order of the Sacred Treasure (Japan).

Headshot of Doug Liddle
Doug Liddle, CEO, In-Space Missions

After leaving Oxford in 1993 with an MA in Physics, Doug joined the Defence Research Agency (now QinetiQ) to work on all things space, including radar surveillance, space radiation, spacecraft dynamics and military communications systems.

In 2001, Doug moved to Surrey Satellites to become a spacecraft systems engineer. Over the following years, he developed several new spacecraft including Europe’s first Galileo demonstrator satellite, GIOVE-A; ran the Science and Exploration business unit; and delivered multiple satellites and optical imaging payloads including the UK’s first cubesat.

In 2015, Doug created In-Space Missions, a company founded to develop new pace-enabled services and offer expert consultancy to industry, academia and government. Since 2015, Doug has variously run the UK’s rocket programme; led the technical development of a disruptive innovation centre; developed a commercial demonstration platform for space; and initiated a company delivering real-time video and immersive experiences from space.

Doug also sits on a number of industry boards (UKspace, Space Growth Partnership, and SPRINT) and takes an active interest in STEAM outreach.