​​Satellite Spotting & Operations Handbook

Copyright @ Satellite Spotting. All rights reserved.

In 1978 at high school, I was asked by my careers adviser what would be my dream job? I told him flatly that I would love to be an Astronomer. He chuckled somewhat. I did apply for the RAF in 79 / 80 so I could learn a trade in radar and then missile technology. The longer term intention was work for NASA on the space shuttle - it hadn't even flown by then. I learned in 2012 that Dad withdrew his consent at the time so the application failed (it was required as I was under 18) - thanks Dad. I left school and ended up delivering soft drinks for a living, then moved up in the world and became a Postman as Dad wanted all along. By the time I reached 30, I started my own business teaching Astronomy & Astrophysics via a planetarium. So I now can say I'm a professional astronomer as I teach it as a living and also helped to form an observatory at Canterbury High School and currently working on two others. When I managed to get on TV thirteen years after I left school, I hoped my career adviser was watching; Dad was, he didn't say a word.

Teachers don't tend to laugh at their pupils with ambition any longer, I hope parents don't either. From personal experience, it is extremely demoralising and depressing. The opportunities today are much more varied and achievable - please ignore anybody that laughs and just quietly pursue an ambition anyway - but be realistic too. If one path doesn't work out, drop it, another will surface later. Don't forget Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Neil Armstrong, Marie Curie were all children once with an ambition to do something big. They were all quiet as children but had big thoughts and ideas. 

In the UK alone, some 70,000 people are employed designing, building and operating satellites and is worth £9.7 billion ($14 billion) a year as of 2015. Predicted growth will take it £19 billion ($28 billion) by 2020 and £40 billion ($60 billion) by 2030. Perhaps some of the youngsters at school today may gain a spark of enthusiasm in this field from satellite spotting and consider something related to it as a career. An extra 100,000 jobs will be created within this field during the said time-span.


Britain produces statistically some of the most reliable satellites in the world along with Germany and the USA.

A career in space