This year World Space Week focused on the importance of women in space and Sarah Pickett, Spacecraft Analyst at Inmarsat, discussed with us her role in the aerospace industry and the importance of encouraging young women to consider a career in STEM.
Source: The Engineer
What is your role at Inmarsat and what does it entail?
I am a Spacecraft Analyst in Inmarsat’s Satellite Operations Division – which focuses on the development of large, geostationary satellites. As a Spacecraft Analyst, I am responsible for the satellite operations engineering work stream for the Inmarsat-6 satellites – Inmarsat’s most complex spacecraft to date.
As part of the division, our work is dedicated to the operation of the Inmarsat-6 fleet – with the first of Inmarsat’s I-6 satellites due to launch later this year. Currently, my team and I are working to prepare every element of our operations to get the two I-6 satellites ready for the day we take control.
Can you tell us what drew you to engineering in the first place?
I grew up fascinated by engineering and always admired my dad’s ability to fix almost anything. This led me to study Aerospace Engineering at university – the decision between materials and space engineering was to me a no-brainer. After university, I decided to accelerate my studies, gaining my MSc in Space Engineering before joining Inmarsat’s graduate scheme to start my career.
The graduate scheme was a truly invaluable experience. During the two-year programme, I spent several months rotating through the business, from working as a programmer to spending six months working in the product teams, learning about the value that the company’s spacecraft bring to its customers. My final placement was in satellite operations, and I absolutely loved it, so when the opportunity arose to join the team permanently, I jumped at the chance.
Who has inspired you during your career in the aerospace industry?
While my dad played a major part in facilitating my interest in engineering, and giving me that initial interest in the industry, I am continuously inspired by the role models I work with on a daily basis.
Having the opportunity to be working with such influential, inspiring people – both male and female – continues to foster my interest and excitement in engineering. For me, it is important to surround yourself with positive people, who both encourage and challenge you.