Content Team | Exploring Space with BAE Systems: The Azalea Project

Exploring Space with BAE Systems: The Azalea Project

In this episode, we explore the exciting developments in space technology with Liz Seward, Head of Space Strategy and Market Development at BAE Systems. 

With a background in business development, marketing, thermal engineering, and mission systems engineering, Liz has worked on notable projects such as the ExoMars rover and a mission to return a sample from an asteroid. She is also a prominent figure in Women in Aerospace Europe and the International Astronautical Federation.

Our conversation begins with an introduction to the role of space in defense, emphasizing the need for earth observation and near-real-time intelligence for multi-domain operations. Liz explains how space technology provides critical capabilities for global monitoring, weather forecasting, mapping, and communications, all essential for modern defense strategies.

We delve into BAE Systems’ re-entry into the space sector after 20 years, highlighting the Azalea project. Azalea is a groundbreaking initiative combining multiple sensors and machine learning for faster data analysis. It uses software-defined radios, synthetic aperture radar, and onboard processing to fuse multi-sensor data such as RF, radar, and optical, providing actionable insights rapidly. This project aims to reduce the time from data capture to useful information for operators, marking a significant advancement in earth observation capabilities.

Liz also discusses the future of space innovation, focusing on dual-use capabilities that serve both defense and civilian needs. She shares insights on software-defined satellites that can be reprogrammed to meet different use cases securely and the UK’s efforts to establish supportive regulations around space sustainability and debris mitigation.

A critical aspect of our discussion is the urgent need for talent development in the new space age. Liz introduces BAE Systems’ launch of the UK’s first-ever space engineering apprenticeship program. This initiative aims to build a talent pipeline by combining part-time work at BAE with a part-time engineering degree from the University of Portsmouth. The program seeks to attract passionate individuals eager to work on hands-on space projects, including the Azalea project.

Throughout the episode, Liz provides a comprehensive view of how BAE Systems measures success, both in delivering new capabilities to key customers like the UK government and in providing solutions internationally to allied countries. For the Azalea project, success is defined by its ability to offer step-change earth observation capabilities.

Join us as we uncover the innovative strategies and projects at BAE Systems that are set to shape the future of space technology. How is your organization preparing for advancements in space capabilities? Share your thoughts and join the conversation.

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