Twinkle is a project of Blue Skies Space Ltd.

Payload Consortium
  • Cardiff University – Contact point: Dr Enzo Pascale
  • Open University – Contact point: Dr Manish Patel
  • Leonardo-Finmeccanica (formerly Selex ES)
  • Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd – Contact point: Dr Susan Jason
  • STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory – Contact point: Paul Eccleston
  • STFC UK Astronomy Technology Centre – Contact point: Ian Bryson
  • UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy – Contact point: Dr Giorgio Savini
  • UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory – Contact point: Berend Winter
Science Consortium
  • Cardiff University
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • Imperial College
  • Keele University
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Manchester
  • Open University
  • Oxford University
  • Queen Mary University London
  • Royal Holloway
  • Royal Observatory Edinburgh
  • … and growing!
Team Biographies


Dr Marcell Tessenyi is Project Manager for the Twinkle mission and CEO of Blue Skies Space Ltd. He is responsible for the day-to-day programmatic activities with an overall view of the Twinkle project. This includes co-ordinating the team involved in the mission, making sure the technical studies stay on time and on budget and that the plans for fundraising are well defined. Marcell has a PhD in astrophysics from University College London in exoplanet spectroscopy. He has worked in France and in the UK, gaining experience in engineering and management training. His contributions to space instruments include the European Space Agency’s M3 candidate mission, EChO, the M4 candidate, ARIEL, and M5 Specho space mission concepts.


Professor Giovanna Tinetti is Science Lead for the Twinkle mission and Chief Scientific Officer for Blue Skies Space Ltd. Giovanna has coordinated the research team on exoplanets at UCL since 2007. Awarded a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Turin, Giovanna is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and has previously been a European Space Agency (ESA) external fellow and NASA Astrobiology Institute/NRC fellow at Caltech/JPL. Select appointments and achievements include Principal Investigator, European Research Council-funded programme “Exo-Lights”, editor of American Astronomical Society DPS journal, ICARUS, and Institute of Physics Moseley medal 2011 for pioneering use of IR transmission spectroscopy for molecular detection in exoplanet atmospheres. She is Principal Investigator of ARIEL, one of three candidate-missions selected by ESA for its next medium class (M4) science mission, due for launch in 2026.


Dr Giorgio Savini is Payload Lead for the Twinkle mission and Chief Technology Officer for Blue Skies Space Ltd. Giorgio has worked at UCL since 2009 on metamaterial concepts for satellite optics, as well as mid- and far-infrared modulation techniques for spectroscopy and interferometry. He leads FISICA, a project funded by the EU under FP7 to assess next-generation space-based interferometer platforms. Giorgio was awarded a Masters in Physics and PhD in Astronomy from the Sapienza University of Rome. Moving to Cardiff University, he worked on selection and testing of the optical components and the ground calibration campaign for the Planck satellite’s HFI instrument and the software pipeline validation for the Spire spectrometer on the Herschel Space Observatory.


Dr Susan Jason is the Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd Technical Lead for the Twinkle mission. She joined SSTL in 1999 and has worked on concept design, systems engineering, assembly, integration and test (AIT) across a range of spacecraft. Past projects include: the design of Disaster Monitoring Constellation, which was the first international collaboration of low cost small satellites operating in constellation for Earth observation applications; environmental systems engineering for the ESA GIOVE-A mission which transmitted the first European navigation signals as well as education and training missions such as ESA’s ESMO and the University of Surrey and SSTL’s STRAND-1. She received her degree in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Leeds, and an MSc and PhD in Space Science and Engineering from Cranfield University.


Doug Liddle is Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) Head of Science for the Twinkle mission. Doug has worked in engineering and management at SSTL since 2001 and has contributed to over 20 satellites built by the SSTL team. Projects include the design of ESA’s first navigation satellite and development of satellites ranging in size from 4kg to 3 tonnes. In 2012 he was part of the industrial team that set up the UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult facility to leverage investment in technology into economic growth for the UK. He is currently SSTL’s Head of Science and Institutional Business, sits on a number of national industrial committees and manages SSTL’s interface to the UK space agency and ESA. He has a degree in physics from Oxford University and has previously worked at the Defence Research Agency in Farnborough on various missions including the Ministry of Defence’s Skynet 4 Milsatcom programme.


Dr Enzo Pascale is the Instrument Scientist for the Twinkle mission. Enzo is an observational cosmologist at Cardiff University with research interests in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), high-redshift galaxies, star formation, astronomical instrumentation and extrasolar planets. After graduating from the Sapienza University of Rome he worked at the California Institute and the National Research Council in Italy. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Toronto.


Professor Jonathan Tennyson FRS is Senior Advisor to the Twinkle mission and Chairman of Blue Skies Space Ltd. Jonathan is Massey Professor of Physics at UCL and leader of the ExoMol project, which aims to determine how the molecules in exoplanets absorb and emit light as a function of temperature. Jonathan trained as a chemist taking Natural Science at Cambridge and a DPhil in Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Sussex. He worked at University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands and Daresbury Laboratory before moving to UCL. At UCL he has set up a team using accurate application of quantum mechanics to studying the physics of molecules. He was Head of Physics and Astronomy from 2004 until 2011, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009.


Anita Heward is Communications Officer for the Twinkle mission. As freelance science communicator, Anita has worked for a wide range of organisations including Europlanet, the Royal Astronomical Society and the Google Lunar XPRIZE, and has run the press office for more than 20 international scientific conferences. Anita worked on the IYA 2009 ‘She is an Astronomer’ Cornerstone Project, and is a supporter of initiatives to increase gender equality in science and engineering. She was the founder and Director of the British Festival of Space and was a member of the core team that set up the National Space Centre in Leicester. She has MSc in Earth Observation Science from the University of Leicester and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Sussex.


Dr Laura McKemmish coordinates the EduTwinkle ORBYTS programme. Laura is a Marie Sklolwdska-Curie research fellow working in Prof Jonathan Tennyson’s group at University College London. By training, she is a quantum chemist and molecular physicist, and enjoys using this expertise in innovative and interesting interdisciplinary projects, such as producing data for use in studying exoplanet atmospheres. As part of the ExoMol team, she has become heavily involved in the outreach and education aspects of the Twinkle project. She assisted in the Origins of Life exhibition at the 2015 Royal Society Summer Exhibition, and has given multiple school science and careers talks to all ages. In the first half of 2016, she led a student team as part of the pilot ORBYTS program to collate experimental data on Titanium Oxide spectroscopy, and extract molecular energy levels. The resulting academic paper has been accepted by the Astrophysical Journal Supplementary Series.


Rebecca (Bex) Coates is responsible for visual media for the Twinkle mission. Bex has a background in visual media, specialising in science communication. She has experience working for media institutions across London, including factual science television production. Bex has also worked internationally, spending a year working and living in Jerusalem, and has produced and written an award-winning documentary short set in Bangladesh. Bex has a BSc in Digital Film and is currently completing an MSc in Science, Technology and Society at UCL, with a focus on science engagement online.


Ed James is responsible for the Twinkle mission blog and newsletter. Ed began blogging about biology as an undergraduate at the University of Sheffield on his site Ed’s interests in animal behaviour led him to work for several months in northern Belize at a wildlife rehabilitation and research centre called ‘Wildtracks’. Ed is currently completing an MSc in Science, Technology and Society at UCL, focusing on both science communication and alternate methods of funding science.


Katy Chubb is a Team Lead for the EduTwinkle ORBYTS programme. She has been a PhD student with the ExoMol group at UCL since September 2014. She studied Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham where she gained an interest in quantum mechanics and exoplanets, amongst other things. As part of ExoMol, Katy is working to provide theoretical data which will aid the characterisation of exoplanet and cool star atmospheres, focusing in particular on the acetylene molecule. She got involved with Twinkle as part of the Origin of Life exhibition at the 2015 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition and has done a number of related outreach events since. She is also currently working with the Twinkle team as a team leader for the EduTwinkle ORBYTS project and was one of the lead Astronomers for the pilot of the Mayors Fund for London Astronomy Club.


Tom Rivlin is a Team Lead for the EduTwinkle ORBYTS programme.


Jack Baker is a Team Lead for the EduTwinkle ORBYTS programme. Jack is a PhD student at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, UCL, undertaking ground-breaking research in the field of Computational Condensed Matter Physics. Quantum mechanical simulations are performed on systems of unprecedented size to probe the nature of ferroelectricity in nanoscale systems.

Formerly, Jack has worked at the UK’s national particle accelerator, Diamond Light Source as well as having worked for McLaren Motorsport in the applied technologies sector. Jack also has a strong interest in teaching. He demonstrates in both first and second year laboratories on the topics of Practical and Computational Physics.


Dr Maire Gorman is a Team Lead for the EduTwinkle ORBYTS programme.


Will Dunn is EduTwinkle Schools Outreach Coordinator.