Alice Gorman is a space archaeologist at Flinders University, Adelaide, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Space Industry Association of Australia. Every issue she will showcase up-and-coming talent, thought leaders, and companies in the Australian space sector.
In this issue, her guest is Elizabeth Weeks. Elizabeth is Research Operations Manager at SmartSat CRC, a consortium of universities and other research organisations, partnered with industry that has been funded by the Australian Government to develop know-how and technologies in advanced telecommunications and IoT connectivity, intelligent satellite systems and Earth observation next generation data services.
1. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
Achieving a balance between work, study and family is extremely important to me and something I continue to strive for. Outside of that, I am very proud to be working in such an exciting and developing industry.
2. What was the most useful subject you studied at school or university for your current career?
My background is actually in the humanities, and I have an honours degree in philosophy and literature. Whilst these do not seem directly relevant to my current career, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are transferrable to any industry. I recently completed a topicon strategic thinking, and this has also been very useful to understand the concepts, tools and frameworks that can be applied to organisational issues and opportunities.
3. What are you currently reading and how does it relate to your space work? [This could be a book, article, audio book or podcast, website]
I’m always reading, listening to, and watching many things so this question is easy! I’ve been on a music memoir bender lately and am currently reading Life by Keith Richards. This has absolutely no relation to my space work but does help me unwind and escape at the end of the day. Another much more work relevant book that I have on the go is Satellite: innovation in orbit by Doug Millard. This traces the history of the satellite’s technological development and the historical and political context. I really enjoy the In-Orbit podcast by Satellite Applications Catapult UK who we recently collaborated with on a suite of research projects under the UK-Australia Spacebridge Framework Arrangement.
4. If you went on a one-way trip to Mars tomorrow, what is the one item you couldn’t leave without and why?
The thought of such a trip terrifies me but if I were to go to Mars, I would have to take something I could listen to music on as I can’t get through a day without it. Nothing lifts my mood, motivates, or calms me like music does. My Mars playlist would definitely include some David Bowie.
5. What is your vision for the future of Australian space industry?
SmartSat CRC’s vision is to build an Australian sovereign space capabilities through world class research and development in space systems, technology and solutions to enhance Australia’s economic prosperity and deliver national benefit. It’s exciting to see our research teams working towards this vision and solving real world problems including water and land management, and safeguarding our national security.