Out of this world! Graduate Harris is the World’s Youngest Satellite Engineer

Published on 7 May 2021

From a young age, Harris Angeli spent his time designing and creating mechanical parts for his projects. With a fascination with Space, it was no secret that he wanted to broaden his horizons beyond this planet.

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Despite only graduating in 2019, he has taken giant steps – or leaps – toward his dream of becoming an astronaut by landing a job with Hellas-Sat, a satellite communications company. 

The Mechanical Engineering with Renewables alumnus knew that undertaking a degree in engineering would give him a solid grounding for a career in the Space industry.

“My degree let me specialise in any area across a broad engineering spectrum,” Harris said.

“Life in the UK exceeded my expectations and undoubtedly broadened my horizons. It allowed my mind to reach its greatest potential, leading to paths never imagined.”

Harris Angeli

In 2020, he reached the final of the international ClimateLaunchpad competition. His product, Wind-E (a portable wind turbine), is a cleantech product designed to revolutionise how we charge electronic devices. He developed Wind-E during his thesis project at Dundee.

A week after graduation, Harris was already working in the Space industry. He undertook six months of dedicated hands-on and theoretical training at Hellas-Sat. He became qualified to operate spacecraft models from the manufacturing colossus of AIRBUS, Thales Alenia Space and Lockheed Martin.

He is now a qualified satellite engineer and is the youngest spacecrafts’ operator in the world.

“The most amazing thing about this job is communicating with complex robotic systems of GEO (geostationary) satellites miles away from Earth,” exclaimed Harris.

“I perform various procedures such as manoeuvre firings for orbital correction. This involves firing specific thrusters on the satellite to perform the required orbital adjustments. Orbital asymmetries which appear on the satellites are caused by the gravitational forces of the Moon and Sun, the solar radiation pressure, and the non-perfectly spherical shape of the Earth.”

“At the same time, by analysing daily the telemetry data, I check the health of the spacecraft’s systems or I even execute and train on various emergency scenarios on the simulators.”

“Being a satellite operator in a mission control room, is as fascinating as it sounds but it can be stressful. Can you imagine space investments worth more than $250million are at your command via a keyboard? I always have to be confident with my actions and well prepared for any times of contingency.”

From school to choosing to study at the University of Dundee and pursuing his dream career, Harris has kept his dream at the forefront of his mind. Now his career has taken off, he is always making discoveries and creating amazing experiences.

“Be committed and believe in yourself. Through commitment, you can gain motivation to pursue success. Learn from the journey and have fun along the way. If you work hard for your dreams, you’ll get what you truly deserve!”


Press Office, University of Dundee