Smeds was born in Uppsala and received his Licentiate in Technology from the Department of Electrical Measurements at the Lund University Faculty of Engineering in 1972. He has spent most of his working life working for the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany.
In 2000 Smeds and other ESA engineers questioned the sufficiency of the previous testing of the Alenia Spazio-built communication system on Cassini, and Smeds and his colleague Claudio Sollazzo travelled to the Mojave desert for additional tests, discovering that the design of the receiver on the Cassini orbiter had not taken into account the Doppler shifting of the signals from the Huygens probe. The results led to a change in the trajectory of Cassini to work around the problem.
- IEEE Spectrum: "Titan Calling: How a Swedish engineer saved a once-in-a-lifetime mission to Saturn's mysterious moon"
- ESA: "Modest hero sparks team response"
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