Astrophysics Officer

Lieutenant Amelia Chen is an astrophysics specialist, and is a member of the science branch. Chen’s military background allowed for direct entry as a commissioned officer in the ISDC.

Role

Astrophysicists deal with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties of celestial objects, as well as their interactions and behavior. A broad discipline, astrophysics encompasses mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics. This discipline is central to the scientific theories underpinning much of the technology used in the engineering of interstellar vessels.

The science officer posted to the bridge will typically be an astrophysicist as those skills will be required to analyse any phenomena or unknown vessels encountered by Endeavour. The bridge science console will have access to a range of short and long range sensor systems.

Short range sensors provide details of nearby objects (up to 5000 GU’s - well outside visual range) using passive analysis of emitted EM and active scans which use RADAR. Together these systems can provide an understanding of the structure and configuration of an object in space as well as any activity that generates EM such as propulsion, weapons or communications systems.

Long range sensors use radio telescopy and other sensor systems to interpret EM emitted by distant celestial phenomena. This data can be used to identify points of interest for further exploration or any unusual activity that may represent a danger to the vessel.

The bridge science officer is responsible for interpreting the sensor data and advising the Conn on any tactical, navigational or scientific implications.

Where relevant the bridge science officer will also be supported by specialists from other disciplines such as astronomy or planetary sciences.

Career

Lieutenant Chen was born, raised, and educated in Hangzhou, China, before graduating top of her class at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. Enlisted into the China National Space Administration (CNSA) as a trainee officer, Chen’s obvious abilities soon saw her selected to work on support teams for a range of exploratory missions including Shenzhou 9, the first mission to carry a Chinese woman into space.

A lifelong member of the Chinese Communist Party, Lieutenant Chen resigned from the party shortly after the launch of Shenzhou 10. She left behind extensive work and a prominent position on the planned Chinese Space Station.

That was because Chen’s talents and expertise had already caught the eye of ISDC. Select members of the CNSA report secretly to the ISDC to assist with recruitment of rising stars like Chen.

Becoming an Astrophysics Officer

Interested in Amelia’s role as an Astrophysics Officer?

To take on a similar role yourself, you’ll need to apply to be a commissioned officer. If selected, you’ll undertake both military training and study in astrophysics. In some cases, previous study in Astrophysics may allow a faster path through the early stages of the commissioned officer career track. Typically, those with prior technical or academic experience would follow the warrant officer career track.

If you want to serve aboard in deep space, you'll also need to complete your qualification aboard. This is a course of training and supervised practical experience gained during training cruises, completed in parallel with your astrophysics work.

While commissioned officers do not have formal specialisations, as a science officer you’ll likely remain within the science branch during most of your career. Commissioned officers from any branch are eligible for senior command positions including vessel command.