Inmarsat scholarships help launch careers in space

13 October 2014: Inmarsat is working with the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, to tap into the expertise of postgraduate students to help its business.

Mansoor Shar, from London, and Ahmed Abdi from the Netherlands, are the first students to be offered the Inmarsat scholarships for the ISU’s Master of Space Studies (MSS) programme which started in September.

Both will look at specific ideas for Inmarsat as part of their studies.

Excellent opportunity

“This is an excellent opportunity to add fresh thinking to our business while supporting a research institution. I am confident that innovative ideas will result from this cooperation with the ISU,” said Ruy Pinto, Inmarsat Group Chief Operations Officer.

The MSS programme is aimed at students passionate about a career in the space sector, as well as professionals wanting to move into the space sector and researchers wishing to move from academic life into the space industry.

Mansoor, who has a degree in computer science, has worked in finance for a few years but recently decided to change career direction and follow his passion for space – something he’s been fascinated about since he was a five-year-old boy growing up in rural Pakistan.

Large space-ladder

He said: “Being able to clearly observe the arm of the Milky Way made me instantly fascinated by space and this passion has stayed with me ever since. I even remember asking my grandfather if it was possible to go to space with a large ladder!

“Taking the scholarship is the best decision I’ve made. It’s a breath of fresh air doing something I love and meeting others with similar interests and ambitions. The diversity of students and scope of the course is quite extraordinary.”

He added that one of his long-term ambitions is to help reduce the cost of access to space.

Improving lives

Somalia-born Ahmed, who grew up in the Netherlands, started the course just a few months after finishing his BEng Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics and Space Technology degree at Kingston University, London.

His interest in space was sparked as a teenager when he began to understand the benefits and limitations of space activities.

“In many countries there is no access to the basic things in life which make surviving an extreme task in itself. If I can in one way or another contribute in improving lives on Earth, I will be extremely happy,” said Ahmed.

His future interests lie in working in space-based apps to improve people’s lives and minimise conflicts and deaths from disasters, as well as telemedicine and researching reusable satellites and launchers.

Dr Ramin Khadem, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees at ISU, who is also a former Inmarsat Chief Financial Officer, said: “The ISU is the unique institution that prepares future generations of space scientists and entrepreneurs. It’s great that Inmarsat has shown its commitment to space education and desire to promote young and promising talent that can make a contribution to the field.”

International Space University: www.isunet.edu