Loughborough Student Life

Introductions – Meet Charlie!

Hi! My name is Charlie, and I’m a 5th year Mechanical Engineering (masters + placement) student in the Wolfson School.

I am founder and chair of Loughborough Space Society, play AU Lacrosse on the Men’s 2nd team, and represent the Academic and Careers section of LSU societies. I’m (trying) to hold down four part-time jobs; I am a Wolfson school ambassador, a University Ambassador, and a maths mentor for GCSE and A-Level maths.

Previous escapades around campus include being programme rep for my course and president for the Wolfson school, a social sec and competitor for AU trampoline, as well as being a member of AU Sub Aqua, TEDxLoughborough and LSU Gliding Society.

I have a passion for space and aircraft, having worked in industry on supersonic fighter jets, hypersonic propulsion systems and next-generation spacecraft. For my sins, I was awarded an engineering leaders’ scholarship by the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2016.

I love travelling and meeting new people; I have visited 27 countries to date (#28 coming up in March) and I’m an avid photographer to boot. I will try and share some photos of campus and my adventures over the next few months. When I’m not trying to do everything at once, I can be spotted in Powerbase, in the library or in Fusion (RIP Thursday lectures).

Space-eXams

Two pretty exciting things happened in the last month. Firstly, I survived another semester of exams, which by definition is the single greatest miracle known to science. Secondly, SpaceX recently launched the second most powerful rocket ever made (after the Saturn V moon rocket); Falcon Heavy.

I’ve had three exams this January, a study soufflé topped with a sprinkling of coursework submissions and assessed presentations. Thankfully, the exams have been well spaced a week apart. My late nights in the library finishing off reports and tidying up presentations (and singlehandedly consuming all the coffee supplies), were nicely interspersed with some relaxed daytime revision and walks in the snow.

Speaking of which, I have never seen so much snow here! I live just opposite the library off-campus at the top of the hill, and the view one morning was simply spectacular – dazzling white virgin snow forming on the hills outside my window – I grabbed my camera and managed a two-hour time lapse before the skies cleared.

Having finished two days after everyone else, I happily partied the weekend away and all too soon, Semester two is upon us.

Two days in, and excitement is building within the Space Society – as a committee, we organised a livestream of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy (FH) launch in one of the lecture rooms on campus. It was arguably the most highly anticipated rocket launch in decades. But why? SpaceX is an American company pioneering a method of recovering and reusing rocket boosters after launch (every other rocket is fully expended). Falcon Heavy had never flown before, with a high chance of a spectacular RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) occurring.

As you may guess by its name, FH is a heavy-lift rocket, very heavy in fact. It can launch almost 64 tons to orbit, the weight of a fully laden 737 (that’s more than twice as much as any other rocket operating today).

However, the launch went spectacularly well, with the payload (The CEO’s own Tesla sports car. Yep.) being successfully hurled into a Mars transfer orbit. The two side boosters gracefully returned to a controlled landing at Kennedy Space Centre, to the cheers of everyone at SpaceX HQ and our members watching here in Loughborough. The only minor failure came when the company tried to recover the centre core of the rocket, which “accidentally” ploughed into the ocean at over 300 miles an hour. Footage to come shortly, we hope.

Semester two is winding up into a gentle jog panicked sprint now; I’m sure I’ll have plenty to ramble on about in my next blog. Until then, fly safe!

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Hi, I'm Charlie, I'm a 5th year Mechanical Engineering student and founder of Loughborough Space Society. I'm into photography, sport and rocket science.