Employee Spotlight: Jacob Debono, Mechanical Engineer
Jacob works in EOS Space Systems’ Mechanical Engineering team, whose focus, in broad terms, is the ruggedisation and mobilisation of EOS technologies.
He and his colleagues work to enhance the durability, stability and transportability of the many EOS products that rely on complex optical systems, including those used in the growing field of Space Domain Awareness (SDA), in which EOS is an acknowledged global leader. The powerful but delicate optical equipment in EOS laser systems is typically built for use only in the laboratory, where every environmental element – from wind-induced vibration to humidity to temperature – must be rigidly controlled. The Mechanical Engineering team develops, among other things, technology that addresses the shortcomings of lab-bound hardware so that the relevant components will be capable of withstanding large temperature fluctuations, the stresses of long-distance transport and other environment-related challenges.
These advanced capabilities are among the factors that make EOS’ SDA products industry-leading. Jacob has been with EOS for just over two years, working with team leader Dejan Stevanovic, whose professional history includes positions at NASA and the Australian Department of Defence. Jacob says Dejan – “a fantastic mentor” – has taught him a great deal about the highly specialised subfield of opto–mechanical engineering. “Pretty much any engineering question you ask,” he says with a smile, “Dejan tends to know the answer.” When asked what he enjoys about his role, Jacob cites the collaborative, problem-solving nature of the R&D processes that are at the heart of EOS operations. He takes great satisfaction in the end-to-end nature of his job, as concepts move from whiteboard to rough sketch to finished product, “complete with maintenance manual”. He also prizes the variety; he spends roughly equal parts of his workdays behind the computer and out in the field, and every day brings fresh challenges and problems to be solved.
Jacob’s engineering talent has led him into some remarkable experiences outside of work. He was heavily involved in establishing ANU’s Solar Racing team and has competed in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, a 3022-kilometre sprint in solar cars from Darwin to Adelaide. In 2017, he was chosen from over 500 applicants to spend a year at the INFINITI Engineering Academy – a rare opportunity that included a six-month spell at the Renault Formula 1 Team Technical Centre in the UK. For someone who had long been a devoted F1 fan, it was a dream come true. Jacob is passionate about renewable technology and sustainable engineering, and he believes strongly in giving back to the community through charity work. He was named a finalist in the Engineer of the Year category at the 2021 Momentum Media Space Awards.