Pat Norris has worked in the space and software industries since the 1960s. Born and educated in Ireland, he has been involved in the space and software sectors on both sides of the Atlantic in both public and private sectors for more than 40 years. He currently devotes time to lecturing to Primary and Secondary Schools using his "space" experience to enthuse young people about engineering and science, and about careers in Britain's space industry. In October 2016 he received the Sir Arthur Clarke "Lifetime Achievement Award" from Ms Walda Roseman, Chair of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation Board in a ceremony at the Royal Society in London (pictured).
Pat started his working life in the UK at the radar Laboratories of Elliott Automation. He moved to the USA in 1966 working for the RCA Service Company at the Goddard Space Flight Center, supporting NASA's activities in orbit determination, gravity field modeling and satellite geodesy. In 1967 he joined TRW to work on the Apollo moon landing program in Houston Texas. He led a small team of engineers analyzing the challenges of navigating to the moon and back. He received the Apollo individual Achievement Award from Neil Armstrong in August 1969 for his endeavors - in particular the determination of accurate geodetic locations for the one third of NASA tracking stations whose data had to be binned in the Apollo 8 mission.
From 1971 to 1980 he worked for the European Space Agency as system and software engineer on the Hubble Space Telescope, the Meteosat weather satellite, the Aerosat navigation satellite and the OTS telecom satellite.
Since 1980, Pat has worked for CGI (formerly called Logica) in the UK. This multinational software company is now the European leader in space software - its software currently supports the missions of more than 200 satellites. Space missions in which Pat has been involved in this role include the Giotto probe to Halley's comet, the Hipparcos star mapper, the Huygens probe to Titan, the Galileo navigation system, the Inmarsat-4 global mobile broadband network, the XMM-Newton X-ray astronomy observatory and the Skynet 5 military communications satellite. His current role is Adviser to the Vice President of the Space Business Unit.
Pat was Chairman of the Royal Aeronautical Society Space Group from 2004 to 2012, and is a former Chairman of the trade association of Britain's space industry, UKspace (previously called UKISC). He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Chartered Engineer (CITP).
Pat is a STEM Ambassador and a Space Ambassador and uses these credentials to give talks in UK Primary and Secondary Schools. In Primary Schools the objective is to make engineering and science interesting for young children. In Secondary Schools the emphasis is more career-oriented, demonstrating the potential for a career in Britain's space industry and ending up with advice on A-Level and University courses. The talks can be tailored for a duration of 15 minutes to 1 hour and can accommodate specific objectives of the teachers.
In addition to his books described elsewhere in this website, Pat has written many magazine articles and contributed chapters or sections to two multi-author books:
- a section on the applications of space in the International Handbook of Space Technology (2014)
- two chapters in the Handbook of Space Security (2015): (1) Eavesdropping Satellites, and (2) USA Military Satellites