UC Graduate’s Study Project Wins Award, Sends His Career Rocketing

Flynn Doherty, recent graduate of University of Canterbury (UC) has been awarded the 2020 People’s Choice Award at the UC Engineering Final Year Projects Showcase. His award-winning project created a 3D visualisation of an aerospace launch vehicle for the company Rocket Lab.

While studying for his Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons), Flynn was fortunate enough to intern at Rocket Lab, where senior software engineer Chris Ching suggested the project.

“We went through the team’s backlog of projects and matched one with UC’s requirements that would allow Rocket Lab to develop something we typically wouldn’t have spare resources to try. We could approach this project with a clean slate and prove some technical concepts that we can now incorporate into our internal tooling. I think industry engagement offers an applied, practical perspective for students, so was pleased with the outcome,” Chris said.

Together Flynn and Rocket Lab created a 3D virtual representation of the aerospace launch vehicle used during flights. From there, Rocket Lab personnel, including operators and engineers, could more easily obtain data from the vehicle about its position, attitude, and state of operation.

Flynn expressed his gratitude for recognising his hard work, believing that being allowed to complete his degree’s final project with industry heavyweights like Rocket Lab meant he could help solve real-world problems.

Fortunately for Flynn, this project has also led to a software engineer’s role, working specifically on flight simulations for Rocket Lab.

“It’s an exciting role that enables me to work with several other teams to ensure that operators in mission control can effectively monitor, test, and launch the electron rocket. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside and learn from some of the smartest and supportive people in the industry.”


Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash

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