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  • Writer's pictureBosco Lai

From Internship to Innovation: The Journey with UK Space Agency's SPIN Program

Our Data Science Intern, Abdulhameed

Last summer, through the UK Space Agency SPIN program, we had welcomed Abdulhameed Yunusa to Little Place Labs as a Data Science Intern. 

Bosco Lai, CEO of Little Place Labs, on Abdul's internship:

'Abdul's contribution has been significant. He brought an amazing amount of energy and computer science experience into our work. We're thankful to the UK Space Agency and Catapult for supporting his journey through the SPIN program.'

Abdul shared his experience upon completion of the program: 

My journey into the space sector began with a visit to the National Space Research Agency (NASRDA) in Nigeria, sparking my fascination with space studies. As a science enthusiast with a background in Computer Science, I decided to pursue a master's program that integrated my previous experiences with space studies and allowed for a placement opportunity. This decision led me to the UK Space Agency which has a Space Placements in Industry (SPIN) program, which stood out for providing hands-on experience in the sector for newcomers like me.

Choosing Little Place Labs (LPL) for my placement was a natural fit. LPL offered the perfect balance, merging software and satellite systems. It provided me with invaluable experience that complimented my academic background and allowed me to apply theoretical knowledge to practical challenges.

Expectations and Realities of the Internship

Entering the internship, I envisioned a dynamic and fast-paced environment at a Space Tech startup. Little Place Labs lived up to my expectations, offering a stimulating experience filled with activities, design reviews, and collaborative efforts. I was thrilled with the amount of support I received from the team, and the final output exceeded my expectations. 

Highlights of the Projects and Skill Development

One notable project involved integrating Edge AI, Satellite Payload Data, and Cloud Infrastructure to create an innovative solution. As part of a collaborative team, we developed a proof-of-concept for real-time data analysis in space. This project not only enhanced my problem-solving and coding skills but also introduced me to the fascinating realms of machine learning and cloud computing.

Lessons Learned in the Space Industry and Tech Startup Environment

Navigating the space industry and the tech startup culture taught me the importance of effective communication, the need to avoid assumptions, and the surprising prevalence of research and feasibility studies. Approximately 60% of space solutions involve meticulous groundwork before implementation. The significant role of mathematics, statistics, and physics in this domain continues to be a delightful surprise.

Advice for Future Interns and Aspiring Space Industry Professionals

For future interns and those aspiring to enter the space industry, conducting a skills analysis aligned with the placement description is crucial. Striving for a 50% match can facilitate a smoother transition and minimize the learning curve. While passion opens the door to space, it's essential to recognize that passion alone is insufficient. Identify your preferred area, start building a presence, and equip yourself with essential skills such as Python and C. Understanding space terminologies enhances your adaptability. During your internship, embrace curiosity, interact with diverse teams, and keep an open mind as you explore the vast and exciting realm of space.

For more information about the UK Space Agency SPIN program, visit this link

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