16/08/2021

Systems engineer Adrien Doucet has left his home behind in France to help drive South Australia’s space industry innovation.

Adrien Doucet knows all about aiming high. As head of engineering at Adelaide start-up Neumann Space, Doucet is helping to revolutionise the space industry as we know it.

The French-born engineer – whose resume includes roles at Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space – was recruited by Neumann Space at the beginning of 2020, but it was Adelaide’s reputation as the centre of Australia’s national space industry that sealed the deal.

“Looking at the space ecosystem in Adelaide, it was a natural move where I would have an opportunity to drive space industry innovation and cultivate my entrepreneurial mindset,” he says. “I believe there is no better place for a space tech start-up to play an integral role in setting the state’s strategic direction, development and growth.”

Doucet is developing an electric plasma propulsion system for small satellites, a step forward from conventional methods.

“I have transferred from chemical propulsion to electric propulsion,” he says. “That wave has been driven by the end user who wanted more capacity on the spacecraft, which involved reducing some weight by changing the propulsion system. Our team is currently turning an innovation into a reality – the goal is to fly the first Australian plasma propulsion system in space.”

Inspiring and leading those around him is an important factor in Doucet’s – and South Australia’s – success, and it’s a responsibility he takes seriously.

“I have a position of technical influence in a fast-paced entrepreneurial organisation, but the most important aspect of my role is to build a terrain for the team to unleash their full potential, nurture their creativity and innovative mindsets and achieve their goals,” he says.

And Doucet recognises his own drive to innovate and inspire mirrored in his new home state.

“I believe South Australia will position itself as a leading state for manufacturing, launch and operations of smallsat constellations,” he says. “I foresee our state driving innovation by joining forces with other revolutionary organisations, including high-data processing and transmission capacities using artificial intelligence techniques, and maneuverability through propulsion systems to adjust the orbits of the small satellites network.”

Those goals of reaching for the stars will also be a reality for today’s STEM students considering a long-term career in space. “The coming of both the Australian Space Agency (ASA) and the Defence and Space Landing Pad to Lot Fourteen in Adelaide is propelling a constellation of employment opportunities for the next generations to come,” he says.

“South Australia is a career gateway of the future for the next generations – in all STEM fields, whichever your passion is, there is a place for everyone in space.”

Pictured: Adrien Doucet.

Sourced from: ‘Space & Creative Industries, Future Industries Jobs of Today’, Sunday Mail, 1 August 2021, p.2.