Academy Fellowship for Kirriemuir engineer

A Kirriemuir man who developed computer technology used by hundreds of spacecraft across – and above – the world has been granted a major accolade by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 11:00am
Academy Fellowship for Kirriemuir engineer
Steve Parkes, who has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering for his innovative work.

Steve Parkes, chief technology officer (CTO) of STAR-Dundee and former Professor of Spacecraft Electronic Systems at the University of Dundee, has been elected as a Fellow of the academy in recognition of his work leading the development of SpaceWire and SpaceFibre network systems.

SpaceWire is currently being used in hundreds of spacecraft, costing in excess of $50 billion, which are monitoring the Earth, exploring the Solar System and studying the universe.

SpaceFibre is the next generation of this extremely successful technology, offering high-performance and high-reliability. It is already being designed into its first space applications and flying on two experimental spacecraft.

Steve has been a constant innovator since moving to Scotland 26 years ago and joining the university, where he became Professor of Spacecraft Electronic Systems.

He has worked extensively with the aerospace industry and space agencies across Europe, the USA, Japan and Russia, being recognised by the Saltire Society in 2019 for his international scientific work and world-leading reputation. In 2012 he was also awarded a Specialist Bronze Award by the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Steve founded technology company STAR-Dundee in 2002 to support users of SpaceWire, leading the company for 15 years as managing director and CEO, becoming CTO to focus on engineering and business development activities.

Stuart Mills, STAR-Dundee CEO, said: “In addition to founding and leading the company, Steve is responsible for writing the SpaceWire and SpaceFibre standards, with input from the international space community. As well as being used in many spacecraft, these standards are the key technologies on which STAR-Dundee’s great success has been built.

“Steve continues to innovate, overseeing our world-leading research and development activities. He is also contributing to the development of new open standards which will benefit the wider space community.”

Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Our Fellows represent the best of the best in the engineering world, and we welcome these 69 excellent and talented professionals to our community of businesspeople, entrepreneurs, innovators and academics.”

“This year’s new Fellows are the most diverse group elected in the history of our institution.

“The engineering profession has long suffered from a diversity shortfall and the Academy is committed to changing that, including by ensuring that our own Fellowship community is as inclusive as it can be. It is well established that diverse organisations tend to be more agile and more innovative, and as the UK’s National Academy for engineering and technology, we have a responsibility to reflect the society we serve in addressing the shared challenges of our future.”

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