The UK Space Agency is responsible for developing and delivering the Government’s civil space policy, working with the European Space Agency and other international organisations and agreeing with UK industry how to maximise the benefits of space technologies.
A Reader in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Dr Macdonald is well-qualified for his new role with the UK Space Agency, which he will fill until 30 June 2020.
As home to SoXSA and the Strathclyde Space Institute — one of Europe’s largest space research groups — Strathclyde has close ties with a growing number of internationally-recognised space companies based in Scotland .
The University’s strong links with industry and government are helping to grow the sector which now supports around 7,000 jobs in Scotland.
Dr Macdonald holds a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a PhD and prior to joining the University of Strathclyde in 2008, he worked at SciSys Ltd on several projects throughout the entire lifecycle, including ADM-Aeolus and LISA-Pathfinder.
His work has an end-to-end focus on the development and application of space mission systems to challenge conventional ideas and advance new concepts in the exploration and exploitation of space for the betterment of life on Earth.
Dr Macdonald said: “Joining the Steering Board at this time is an exciting opportunity to help steer the UK through the challenges of the next few years.
“The UK faces a challenging period of transition in the coming years as we exit the European Union, yet at the same time there are exciting new opportunities within a rapidly changing global space sector.
“But the UK has a strong space sector, a sector that has shown itself robust to economic shocks and challenges, growing at 8% per year throughout the global financial crisis of the last decade.
“It continues to grow at similar rates, and, if I may say, higher in Scotland. The UK is home to world-leading universities and technology companies, employing highly-skilled scientists, technologists and engineers across the country.
“I look forward to playing my part in guiding the UK space sector to an even more prosperous future.”
Dr Macdonald led the development of The International Handbook of Space Technology, a comprehensive handbook providing a holistic understanding of modern spacecraft, and is the only European Associate Editors of the Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, the top-ranked archival journal in Aerospace Engineering.
He is a registered European Engineer, a Chartered Engineer, a member of the Young Academy of Scotland, a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Last year he was awarded the 2016 Royal Society of Edinburgh Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane Medal in recognition of his “outstanding research work in the development and application of space mission systems.”