Carla Signorini HEAD OF THE ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT
INSTITUTION ESA SPACE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY CENTRE - ESTEC NOORDWIJK, THE NETHERLANDS
AGE56
NATIONALITY ITALIAN

MY JOB

My work is mainly about technical coordination, so it's management, but it’s technical management. And I think it's a very privileged position. Because at my age (I can openly say I'm fifty-five), it's good that I'm still learning in the technical field. It's a very dynamic environment. I have to update myself continuously. And this is very good for me because my background is technical. I am also in charge of quite a big team of 250 people divided into five divisions and a large number of sections. So I have a responsibility over people which also means motivating people.

ABOUT ESTEC

It’s here we find most technical of the expertise for designing and developing satellites. We do this together with European industries and research centres, not just alone. In fact they do most of the work. But the satellites are also tested here so we have a very big test centre, and also technology laboratories such as the solar generator laboratories.

MY ADVICE TO SPACE GIRLS

I think that to work in space, the first quality you need is to be curious. You must be curious and this curiosity should lead you towards studying science. The other point is, you must like working with other people. This is a key point because our spacecraft are for a minimum part made of hardware but for a maximum part made together. So most of the cost of our satellites is not the cost of the hardware itself, it's the cost of the hours people work together. The human factor is very important. Anything in space is made by many, many experts working together. So I'd say that curiosity and, let's say, a kind of taste for working with other people are two key ingredients.

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photo:
© Magda Rakita