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  • Writer's pictureSkykraft

From trajectory optimisation to thermal analysis of spacecraft

Our interns really do get to work on some cool projects at Skykraft.

Our latest recruit through the Defence Industry Internship Program (DIIP), Natashja Sultana has graduated from the University of New South Wales (Sydney) with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Hons) and is now part of the team designing, analysing and building spacecraft.

After spending 2022 learning about spacecraft systems and orbital mechanics through university courses and her own research thesis, Natashja took those learnings and decided to pursue her passion for space.

Her thesis 'Trajectory Optimisation for a Return Phobos Mission' explored unique trajectories to direct a crewed spaceflight to Phobos, the largest of the two moons of Mars.

"Choosing this topic to research in university was a valuable experience because I was able to pursue my passion for space and do so in an environment where every failure or roadblock helped me learn," said Natashja.

After those learnings, Natashja researched companies in the space industry that would offer hands-on experience working on the integrated processes and operations of a spacecraft.

"Every day I learn something new. The work is challenging and at times can feel daunting working on a task I don’t have experience in. However, I am embracing being out of my comfort zone, and learning new skills. I am so grateful for the support network here at Skykraft that has invested in my growth."

"Being able to design, analyse and build a spacecraft is not the everyday experience most engineering graduates would have in Australia. I do kick myself and say, how cool is my job? But equally, I know I've put in the hard work to be here."

What's next?

Natashja is working on the thermal analysis of new spacecraft and applying heat transfer principles to ensure Skykraft satellites stand up to the harsh space environment.

With a long-standing passion for space, Natashja now enjoys being part of the team and hopes to continue to forge ahead in the Australian space industry.

"It would be out of this world!"

Outside of her space work, she enjoys travelling to new countries, relaxing beachside with a good book and exploring her creative side through painting.

Natashja pictured above, exploring Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

About the DIIP

DIIP is an annual program funded by the Commonwealth, matching SMEs with engineering students nearing the end of their degree with the aim of increasing awareness of career opportunities in the defence industry and providing student interns with the opportunity to gain real-world work experience in a growing sector.

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