Ed Chester – Director at Catena Space
Ed Chester is co-founder and a Director of Catena Space and has led on the research projects and technical aspects of mission operations training. He has been a director of multiple start-ups, including two that developed products based on secure web services. He has held several technical positions, including ESA Spacecraft Operations Engineer and Integration and Test Programme Manager. He was Head of R&D and Earth Observation group lead at the Aerospace Research Technology Centre, Barcelona, Spain.
Ed is a Chartered Engineer, has been Chair of the Academic Council of the International Space University and was Associate Professor of Space System Design at the Technical University of Catalunya, Spain until moving to the UK.
His extensive experience in various projects and places in the world has brought him a wide network of professionals. Yes, it was Ed who brought together this consortium, since he had collaborated before with most consortium members.
Ed says: “What I love about the space sector is that it is necessarily international and multidisciplinary. Working across domains with different people is very rewarding.”
What fascinates you about space?
There are too many answers! For now, I find it fun that if you could take all the other planets in the solar system – the huge ones, everything – and put them side-by-side, they would all fit between the Earth and the Moon.
Your greatest memory involving space
It definitely includes the Viking images of Mars as published by National Geographic in January 1977.
I also like that with our small team, after over 10 years of waiting, it turns out we managed to land Beagle-2 on Mars, almost in the centre of the landing ellipse.
Your first memories of HATCH…
I remember thinking that it was a good challenge to integrate cutting-edge technologies and small companies, probably smaller than expected. We took those aspects as a strength rather than a risk. I was excited to realise that I already knew the key people in the perfect partner organisations to make a small but very effective team.
Which was the most exciting part of the project?
It hasn’t happened yet. It will be finding out how well it performs in realistic use with all the data behind it.
What are your favourite HATCH (planned) features so far?
Networks. An unconstrained way to link information of interest and allow it to grow and adapt. It’s not a set of bookmarks. It’s not a snapshot, it’s something more dynamic. I'm also looking forward to finding out how people want to use it. Getting notified about changes in things I’m interested in will be useful.
How do you think HATCH will help stakeholders and why?
It will be easy to quickly identify how funding went into technologies, organisations, or geographic regions. In each case, the outcomes/impacts should be more accessible, and different kinds of stakeholders are interested in exactly that kind of information. To the extent possible, we are also linking project activities with the location database used by Eurostat (NUTS) to simplify reuse of data for stakeholders with specific regional interests and use cases we have not yet imagined in the project.
What do you think about the HATCH consortium?
Except Eurecat, we are all very small organisations with focussed expertise and very limited resources to invest in side projects and in widening skill sets. For each of us, HATCH is therefore a key focus that is well aligned to core business.