British Science Week marks its 30th anniversary this week! It’s a national celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths; fields that leverage space research to innovate technologies, unravel cosmic mysteries and advance our understanding of the universe.

Hear from Space Wales’ Dr Rosie Cane as she discusses how she got interested in space, her career so far and the role Wales plays in the wider UK Space ecosystem that employs 49k employees directly and delivers £7bn value add to the UK economy.

Rosie… Tell us about working at Space Wales and your role there

I work at Space Wales, the trade association for, and the voice of, the space sector in Wales. We are one of 15 Space Clusters that make up the UK Space Ecosystem, and my role is Cluster Development Manager. I have the privilege to work with, support and promote 85+ incredible space-related organisations in Wales’ space sector to support growth.

In Wales we’re very focussed on sustainability and aligning with the Welsh Governments net zero ambitions. As such, our strategy ‘Wales a Sustainable Space Nation’ was published in 2021, highlighting our key strengths.

What was your career path?

I started off studying Observational Astronomy at the University of South Wales, a degree which focussed on practical astronomy skills like getting your hands onto a telescope, and analysing real space data. I then followed this with a PhD in Astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, at the University of Edinburgh, where I got to travel to America, Canada, Germany and The Netherlands to attend conferences and undertake fieldwork. One thing I really enjoyed over this time was visiting schools and taking part in science festivals to talk about space!

I then left university with some excellent research skills, and did a Space Placement in Industry (run by the UK Space Agency and Satellite Applications Catapult) looking at creating a university student rocketry competition for education and training with UK Launch Services Limited. This was an absolutely fantastic experience where I learned how to undertake stakeholder research, budget and plan efficiently, and learn more about rockets!

This equipped me with the skills to undertake a role as Knowledge Catalyst at Exotopic, a Science and Technology consultancy, focussing on the space sector and further developing this rocketry competition, alongside work such as ATI’s FlyZero Programme and UK Space Agency LaunchUK projects.

How did you get interested in space?

I’ve loved space ever since I was young – I remember my Dad watching TV shows and films like Star Trek, Star Wars, The Sky at Night… And I was fascinated! In Year 6 of school we got to go on a trip to the National Space Centre in Leicester, and that was it, I was hooked!

Where can someone find out more information about careers in the Space Sector?

You can find out more about space in Wales by visiting Further to that, two excellent starting points to learn about careers in the UK Space Sector are Space Careers UK and the Space Skills Alliance.