Local space systems engineer honoured with international award

Alex Godfrey with his Royal Aeronautical Society Award Alex Godfrey with his Royal Aeronautical Society Award, accompanied by head of engineering Christopher Tree.

AMPTHILL, BEDFORDSHIRE, 7 DECEMBER 2017 – A talented engineer from Ampthill-based Lockheed Martin UK has been honoured with a prestigious international award by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).

Alex Godfrey, systems engineer at the Bedfordshire technology business, was awarded the NE Rowe medal after he delivered a lecture on Space Rider – Europe’s first reusable spacecraft – and the company’s work on the project.

Space Rider, currently being developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), will launch from a rocket and orbit the earth gathering scientific data, carrying out research and delivering cargo to and from the International Space Station. Crucially it will be capable of surviving re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere, making it reusable and an affordable way to access space.

Lockheed Martin UK won a contract to work on key parts of the cutting-edge spacecraft last year. Alex is helping to develop the actuator system, which controls Space Rider’s descent, and the landing system to bring the vehicle safely back to earth.

He gave a lecture on the project to the Bedford branch of the RAeS, and then again to judges at the organisation’s London headquarters.

Christopher Tree, head of engineering at Lockheed Martin’s Ampthill site, said: “Alex’s lecture and accompanying paper were outstanding. He outlined the benefits of lower cost access to space, discussing how autonomous space vehicles can undertake critical operations such as microgravity research, cleaning up of space debris, and satellite repair; before talking about Lockheed Martin’s work on Space Rider and the engineering challenges involved.

He’s a very talented young engineer and brilliant at sharing his passion with others – he’s equally at home discussing complex space systems with the RAeS committee as he is talking rockets with primary school children. We’re very proud of him.

The RAeS medals and awards are the most prestigious and long-standing awards in global aerospace, honouring achievement, innovation and excellence from across the world since 1909.

After receiving his award last week at a glittering ceremony at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Mayfair headquarters, Alex said: “I love what I do and to have my work recognised by the Royal Aeronautical Society is a huge honour.