Today was probably the busiest day I've had in a very long time.
What started out as a suggestion among friends to go to two of the biggest aerospace conferences in the UK, turned out to be a 2 day, multi-vehicle adventure down to the south of England, to get an insight into some of the best engineering companies in the space right now - as in, literally 'in space'.
After some planning amongst friends within the University of Sheffield's student project drone teams, a collaboration between AeroSoc, Project Hex and Project Kestrel led to a 6 man (and 1 woman) trip, to attend the DroneX and Space Comm Expo 2022 conferences in London and Farnborough respectively, on the 7th and 8th September.
Today was the first day of that journey, and wow, was it a ride.
After a 4 hour coach from Sheffield to London, a quick stop for food, a handful of tubes and a walk down an extremely long centre (ExCel London really is massive) we arrived at the DroneX exhibition.
Amongst stalls filled with drones, live demos of takeoffs and landings, full scale aircraft on exhibition and talks from leading experts in a whole host of aerospace related areas - the amount of knowledge and technical experience to delve into was overwhelming.
We split up and dove headfirst into conversations with representatives from a variety of different companies, some of whom were even based abroad in other parts of Europe and America. From operations leads, to chief business executives, and even some CEOs, it was crazy to think that we as students were getting the opportunity to ask whatever our curiosity was pointing us to, for free.
In some cases, our questions actually challenged the representatives to come up with explainable, justifiable responses, and it was satisfying to see that at least to some extent, we knew what we were talking about. For me, the focus was purely on learning about both the business side of managing these companies, and the technical aspects of drone engineering, with a focus on communication methods. There was so much to see and do that by the end of it we were all exhausted.
If there's one thing I learnt from today, it's the value of networking. Connecting with complete strangers, from industry professionals to even former university students who took the same courses as me - it was amazing to hear the stories of so many others in the space, listen to their expertise and contributions, and develop my understanding of the industry as a whole.
I actually plan to combine all of the photos and videos I've taken of the trip into a vlog for my YouTube channel, so stay tuned for more updates!
In the meantime, day 1 of the trip comes to a close, and day 2 lingers with the anticipation of another packed event with a ton of space related insights!
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