UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory
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Project Manager

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 operations.

Mullard Space Science Laboratory - Holmbury St. Mary - Dorking - Surrey - RH5 6NT - Telephone: +44 (0)1483 204100 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL

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