Rocket science summer

Fourth year science/engineering student Joshua Critchley-Marrows writes to us about his internship at the German Aerospace Centre.

Joshua Critchley-Marrows, in his fourth year of his Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science, has been enjoying a summer break like no other – he has been taking part in a three-month internship in the German Aerospace Centre.

Writing below, he tells us about his experience:

Joshua Critchley-Marrows at the DLR Institute of Space Propulsion

Hallo! Ich schreibe dir aus Deutschland.

In a small rural forest in Germany’s southern state of Baden-Württemberg, one would expect nothing more than just a picturesque set for a Hansel and Gretel story. However, in this woodland stage sits Europe’s largest rocket testing facility, the DLR Institute of Space Propulsion.

Having been here for little over a month, I have already seen and experienced what can be said to be the leading developments of the world’s rocket industry.

Even as I sit here at my desk now, I can feel the vibrations of a hybrid rocket engine test, one of the latest advances in space propulsion technology.

To be a part of such an environment, working with similar impassioned people, really is truly inspiring.

A section of the testing facility in Germany

Currently, I am developing a computer model for a radial in-flow turbine, so we can assess its worth for use in a rocket engine. Typically, axial engines are used in propulsion applications, however if my results are positive, a radial in-flow turbine will greatly improve the efficiency. Already, the results seem promising!

Living and working in Germany was initially quite challenging, but you can quite quickly join the club. Germans are a very warm and helpful people, and I have made many friends here in even the space of a month.

The food and beer is also fantastic, where most dishes in restaurants and pubs are produced to a high quality.

It is good to learn some German, as even though most people can speak some degree of English, they always appreciate you making the effort in German.

I thoroughly encourage everyone to look for opportunities overseas.

Working in a foreign environment is excellent for skill-building, where the approach to certain tasks can sometimes be the complete opposite to back home.

Being able to develop international connections really is the best way to realise your career ambitions and potential.

Time now to return to the rockets. Tschüss!

The new undergraduate experience available from 2018 will make internships, industry placements and work experience more accessible and aims to improve graduate employability.

Read our earlier profile piece on Joshua Sometimes it is rocket science

10 March 2017

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