Flight Lieutenant Rayan Gharazeddine's love for science, technology, engineering and maths began in his childhood family kitchen. 

“I was always interested in science as a kid, my father use to read science books to me and we use to do basic experiments in the kitchen much to my mother’s delight,” Flight Lieutenant Gharazeddine said.  

“When I was six, I watched the TV series Cosmos by Carl Sagan and was hooked. I was always interested in space and space physics.” 

This keen interest in STEM led him to his role as the senior orbital analyst in the Australian Space Operations Centre (AUSSpOC) at Joint Operations Command.  

As an orbital analyst, Flight Lieutenant Gharazeddine ensures the Chief of AUSSpOC has enough awareness and information on what is taking place in space.

He provides the assessment based on raw data generated from a multitude of sensors. 

“I also provide analytical advice on the effects that other users of space could have on the ADF.  This allows the tactical operators to be prepared for that environment,” Flight Lieutenant Gharazeddine said.  

The team in the Space Operations Centre is responsible for producing space effects in support of Chief of Joint Operations and also ensures ADF operations have all the support they require from a space perspective.

I have been given fantastic opportunities by my leaders to use my STEM skills to help develop and enhance the space contribution to the ADF.

“We leverage on some national capability in addition to international partnership with our allies in order to provide this service,” he said.

“We focus on two areas. The first is space domain awareness, where we look at what is in space, what is it doing and how is it going to affect us. The second is space control, which are all the measures we take to use space.”

Flight Lieutenant Gharazeddine said as technology advanced, so did the team’s importance to the conduct of operations and the ADF overall. 

“Space used to be an enabler for the ADF. With 5G technology in our hands, it has reached the point where we are reliant on space not from just a military standpoint, but all aspects of our lives has some sort of dependency on space,” Flight Lieutenant Gharazeddine said. 

“GPS for navigation and timing, information such as weather forecast, crop planting and harvest, disaster relief, search and rescue beacon tracking and other things. We have also supported NASA human space flight in recent times.” 

Flight Lieutenant Gharazeddine was grateful for the opportunities Defence had provided to pursue his interest in STEM.

“I have been given fantastic opportunities by my leaders to use my STEM skills to help develop and enhance the space contribution to the ADF,” he said. 

“I had good leaders in the past that observed my potential and recognised my passion for space. It is because of them I gained a role as a space operations officer.

“While posted to the Space Operations Centre my leaders recognised my science background tasked me with looking after the science aspects of space operations namely orbital analysis which is a foundation of Space Domain Awareness.” 

Many jobs in Defence provide an opportunity to work in STEM. National Science Week runs until August 23.