FLIGHT SYSTEMS - Matthew Sharkey

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As an undergraduate Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering student, Matthew Sharkey was drawn to Monash HPR seeking out an opportunity to pursue his passion for rocket technology and electronics. Since joining the team in 2019 he has acted as both a vice lead on Project Icarus and more recently as the Flight Systems section lead.


Roles and Responsibilities at HPR:

Flight Systems is directly responsible for developing and operating the recovery systems necessary to safely bring home our rockets. As Flight Systems section lead I oversee the efforts of a multidisciplinary team to realize development outcomes for these recovery systems rooted in reliability, safety, and technical excellence.


Projects and Tasks worked on:

Since joining the team, I have lead development on the Deployment Bay systems used in Project Icarus and Project Aether as well as extensive testing and validation programs for each.  Additionally, I am also proud of my work building backbone software used in receiving telemetry from our custom sensor stack and distribution amongst our ground station network. As a technical lead, I have high ambitions to see Monash HPR’s recovery and avionics technology develop into some of the most capable, reliable and sophisticated examples in the world.


Favourite Monash HPR moment:

Without question, my favourite moment thus far was seeing a small puff of smoke as Project Aether separated and released its drogue parachute at 15,000ft during its maiden flight. Rocketry is unforgiving with absolutely no room for error, particularly when it comes to recovery, so to see Flight Systems efforts culminate in a successful deployment was fulfilling in a way which is impossible to describe. Amongst a turbulent development cycle and obvious challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic it represented resilience, determination and ingenuity of the Flight Systems group who I will be forever proud of and grateful for taking on that challenge.