Time and space for research

Two aviators were given the opportunity to develop their areas of research through the Air and Space Power Centre’s secondment program.

CAPTIONFLTLT Inderbir Singh outside the Air and Space Power centre in Fairbairn, Canberra. Story and photo by Cassandra Bowers.

Corporal Owen Hingston and Flight Lieutenant Inderbir Singh each undertook a two-week secondment with the Air and Space Power Centre (ASPC) to focus on how humans cope with space travel, and apply their knowledge in communications and engagement respectively.

Corporal Hingston, a physical training instructor at 1 Recruit Training Unit in Wagga Wagga, first reached out to ASPC to further his interest in space medicine. This resulted in the ASPC sponsoring him to attend a ‘Space Medicine for Earthlings’ seminar hosted by the Australian National University in Canberra, which delved into the possibilities of space medicine and human performance optimisation.

During the seminar, Corporal Hingston had the opportunity to discuss his thoughts on this topic with Air Vice Marshal (retd) Tracy Smart. The secondment also included dedicated time with the ASPC research staff to mentor him through his research endeavours.

“I met like-minded people – a group who are also interested in understanding the human body but are not dissuaded by the challenge of keeping it operating in the most extreme environments or the challenge of providing medical assistance when isolated by days or months’ worth of distance,” Corporal Hingston said.

“My secondment also made me feel valued as a mind. Rank and position were almost left at the door, when the importance of what I could contribute to science became what people valued most.”

Flight Lieutenant Singh, a maintenance officer with 35 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley, also undertook a secondment at the ASPC’s new facility.

Calling on his previous work as an Indian country liaison officer and experience in the Air Force, he assisted with developing communication channels to link the senior leadership team closer to the workforce.

Although the secondment was only two weeks long, Flight Lieutenant Singh felt he made a contribution in addition to furthering his professional development participating in engagements with ASPC stakeholders from organisations including the Australian Space Agency and University of NSW.

“It was about career broadening – my career development as an officer in the Air Force as well as an engineering officer,” Flight Lieutenant Singh said.

“One of the postings I would love to do eventually is to be either a Defence attaché or an international engagement officer in the Air Force and represent the ADF.”

Flight Lieutenant Singh and Corporal Hingston will each write an article for the ASPC’s Air/Space blog, supported by the centre’s specialists in research communication.

“My vision at the moment is to educate the workforce or wider Defence Force on the capability of the C-27J; where it has come from, how it’s maturing all the time and how the aircraft itself is now proving its capability by being basically the Indo-Pacific region’s platform of choice,” Flight Lieutenant Singh said.

“We’ve realised the importance of it and trust our workforce who can do the engineering, logistical and operational work to make this aircraft as capable as any others that we have in the military.”


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