Last month, SPIN’s Volunteer and former Arduino Team Manager and Intern, Stella Koutsoumpou participated in European Space Agency’s Concurrent Engineering Workshop that took place in ESEC – Galaxia in Belgium. Stella was glad to share with us her experience in an interview.

Why did you apply? What did you expect from this workshop?

After spending almost a year as Arduino Manager for SPIN – Space Innovation, it seemed as a unique opportunity to find out how actual space missions are designed by professionals at ESA – European Space Agency. One of the main knowledge acquired, during my work on such projects was that interdisciplinary teams are needed to make everything work.

What did you do at the Concurrent Engineering Workshop and what did you learn?

During the workshop we implemented the Concurrent Engineering Method to design a space mission. The most important thing I learned through this process was that communication is key to the success. The efficiency of the Concurrent Engineering Method is based on how well can the members of each team communicate their concerns about the design in real time. 

What was your mission?

We tried to design a solar sail cubesat for deep space exploration, one that could take photos of fly by planets and objects and take magnetic measurements as well, with the main mission being measuring the magnetic field inside the heliopause (125AU).

Tell us three things you will remember…

  1. Working with a lot of people from all over the globe, with similar interests as me and how we managed to conquer the barriers of language and share our knowledge in order to design our mission.
  2. Our visit to ESEC – Redu. As many of you may know ESEC – Redu is a ground station for many of ESA’s satellite missions and more. There, we visited the actual Control Room for the Proba I&II missions and saw a lot of satellite dish antennas one of the largest ones is used for the Galileo Satellite Positioning System. We also got to speak to a few people who work there and got to learn a bit or two about their everyday schedule.
  3. The excitement when we learned the mission we would later on try to design and the sudden change from enthusiasm to worry and then to problem solving in cycle that continued until the very last minute.

How has your involvement in SPIN – Space Innovation affected your decision to apply for the Workshop?

Being a part of SPIN – Space Innovation has completely changed my view of the space sector and it was one of the main reasons I applied to the workshop. During 2019, I studied for my team different ways to achieve space telecommunications as well as on how to design a CanSat launcher recovery system. This was the main reason I was motivated to go and at this point I would like to thank them for the support they showed before submitting my application. Being part of interdisciplinary teams on both occasions has shown me the importance of diversity  in terms of achieving a common goal. I also really enjoyed the vast applications in science that can take place in space context/ environment from theoretical physics and space exploration to applications for medicine, proving to me once more why we the space sector should be well known between young scientists and engineers. 

Learn more about ESA’s Concurrent Engineering Workshop:

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