Andrew Rader (BEng/03, MASc/05) first experienced something he built taking to the skies during his final year in Carleton University’s Bachelor of Engineering program in Aerospace Engineering. His capstone project involved designing, building and flying an uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV).
Now, as a Mission Manager at Los Angeles-based SpaceX, Rader leads a team that co-ordinates all technical and programmatic aspects involved in launching a multi-satellite space mission with the company’s reusable Falcon Heavy rocket.
Having been introduced to aviation at an early age, Rader earned a pilot’s licence at 17. After completing undergraduate studies, he continued at Carleton and earned a Master of Applied Science in Aerospace Engineering before eventually pursuing a PhD in Aeronautics/Astronautics Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In 2013, Rader took part in the Discovery Channel’s Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All reality series, ultimately winning the competition and the title of “Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All.” He has also been in the running for two separate Canadian astronaut selection campaigns and hopes to one day go to space and even walk on Mars.
“Becoming an astronaut is something that I will continue to strive towards,” he says. “It would be an incredible privilege to participate in scientific discovery, observe our planet from orbit, and share my sense of wonder with the people of our world.”
Prior to joining SpaceX, Rader worked as a systems engineer on several microsatellite missions with Honeywell Aerospace (formerly COM DEV International), including one that launched last year to monitor all ships across the world’s oceans.
Rader also hopes to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers as the author of a series of illustrated children’s books focusing on space exploration.