Name: Dr. Adrian James
Job title: Project Manager Solar-B EIS
What education and qualifications do you have?
BSc Hons in Applied Physics, PhD in Physics
Give an outline of your career so far
I started my PhD at UCL-MSSL in 1988 after receiving an honours degree in
Applied Physics from Coventry Polytechnic. My research was concerned with
designing and developing an Ion detector for a future Soviet project going
to Mars. Toward the end of my studentship funding for the Mars 96 project
was secured and I was given my first job as detector scientist/project
manager for the flight development of the FONEMA (Fast Omni-directional
Non-scanning Energy Mass Analyser) instrument.
Following the loss of Mars 96 shortly after launch in November 1996 I
spent a year as a Quality Assurance Co-ordinator on the Optical Monitor
instrument for the ESA XMM-Newton spacecraft.
In 1998 I became detector manager for the PEACE instrument on the Cluster
II spacecraft. This involved design optimisation, development, build and
calibration of 10 instruments for detecting electrons in the Earth's
plasma environment. The four Cluster II spacecraft were successfully
launched in the summer of 2000.
Since then I have been the project manager for the EIS
(Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer) instrument which will be flown
aboard the Japanese Solar-B spacecraft in 2006. As well as managing the
project on a day to day basis within UCL-MSSL, I also manage the development
of the whole instrument across the multi-national consortium involving 3
different teams in the UK and teams in the US, Japan and Norway.
Why did you choose this career path?
The role of project manager at the instrument level allows me to have
inputs in all aspects of the mission from early definition of the mission,
through development, to the launch and beyond. During this time I get to
be actively involved, as part of a team, in turning the initial design
concepts into a fully functioning instrument in space. Being involved with
this development, overcoming all the technical difficulties involved in
building space systems, is a highly rewarding experience.
What does your current work involve?
There are 2 main aspects in my current role. Firstly I am responsible for
the management of the project which as an aim is to produce the instrument
on time, within budget and to the required quality. This involves planning
the project development, controlling the project and reporting the state
of the project to the principal scientists and higher management levels.
On a daily basis this will mean producing schedules, organising meetings,
controlling budgets and many other administrative tasks associated with
running a successful multi-million pound international project.
Secondly, along with the systems design team, I have to advise and make
design decisions on all aspects of the system. This means that it is
important for a project manager to have a basic understanding of the system
and its associated life-cycle from concept, through development and onto