Meet Cristina Rodriguez, Space Software Engineer at Thales Alenia Space in the UK
Can you please explain your job?
I am a space software engineer, which means that I design and develop software that is used in space systems, sometimes for actual satellites and rovers, and sometimes for Earth-based applications. I am currently working on studies and support projects for future Mars missions. I studied aeronautical engineering at university, and then retrained as a software engineer in my job. This background allows me to approach the work I do from both angles, and better understand how what I design and code affects the final spacecraft behavior.
What are you most proud of in your day-to-day activity?
Working in space. It has always been my dream. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was growing up, and although I don't go into space myself, my work and my creations do. Space is my spark! The work I do day-to-day enables us to explore and visit space, and brings us closer to the rest of the universe. How cool is that!?
Is there anything you are working on right now that is particularly exciting?
MARSBalloon! MARSBalloon is one of our outreach projects, where we launch school experiments in a balloon to an altitude of 30 km, where conditions are very similar to Mars. We have been doing the initial work for the next launch, and the announcement for MARSBalloon 2019 has just gone live. It is a small project, but it gives me a direct opportunity to share my passion for space with the younger generations. I would have loved to have access to something like this when I was in school myself.
In 3 words, what are the qualities required in your profession?
Creativity, determination, and thoroughness.
First artistic view: © Thales Alenia Space/Marchioro