Dstl careers Junayd, principal space scientist

Space is pivotal to defence and security operations, providing critical services, such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, precision navigation and timing, and communications. Dstl has a space programme that seeks to explore the full potential of space for defence.

A number of leading experts are among Dstl’s principal space scientists, including Junayd Miah who leads in the development of several major satellites and ground networks – helping to push the boundaries of space capability for the Ministry of Defence. He leads a diverse team of 20 scientists and engineers to deliver the space solutions for defence. His team includes some of the best experts in artificial intelligence, data analytics and spacecraft engineering within the UK.

Junayd talks candidly about his incredible career, which he says is thanks to his hard working parents, but also the opportunities Dstl has provided.

I had a fascination in space that was nurtured at a very young age. I was raised by two loving, hard working parents who settled in the UK in the 1980s to raise a family. My Dad spent countless hours teaching me about planets, stars, and galaxies in an ever expanding universe. He was my first and best teacher of astronomy!

My passion for astronomy continued throughout my teenage years to higher education, undertaking a degree in Physics and Astronomy with my Masters period spent researching in the United States at Harvard University. I then returned to the UK to undertake a PhD in Astronomy, investigating galaxy evolution at the University of Durham. Upon completion, I was eager to apply the skills learnt to help push the boundaries of space technology and was fortunate to identify a position at Dstl to do exactly this. I haven’t looked back since!

Dstl provides an environment to think creatively and work with a diverse group of experts to solve problems. I am encouraged to meet with partners both virtually and in person, wherever they may reside, and am trusted to build relationships to meet national objectives.

Moreover, I am often rewarded for my work and success both internally and externally as Dstl recognises and promotes achievements of its employees. The acknowledgment, instilled trust, and freedom to engage with scientists and engineers across the globe to push the boundaries of technology is what I enjoy the most at Dstl.

The most exciting piece of work that I have delivered occurred in 2020 when I enabled the UK government to operate its first satellite in over 17 years. Much of the government’s understanding and ability to operate satellites ceased in the early 2000s. However, the government sought to grow space capability again in 2015 as space re-emerged as an important domain for the UK. Dstl specifically received a large government investment to revitalise UK space by demonstrating the ability to operate satellites.

The work that commenced proved challenging, however it presented an excellent opportunity

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