Space has fascinated me ever since I learnt about it in high school physics – it’s the reason I decided on aerospace engineering.
I chose UNSW because of its modern campus and flexible timetable. There are also many interesting societies, which are great for networking, experimenting with equipment and developing leadership skills.
A highlight of my aerospace degree was a week of flying in a small aircraft, experiencing tight turns and zero gravity drops, with a beautiful view over Sydney. I also enjoyed the hands-on Engineering Design classes where we used machining tools to make a piston.
Through scholarships I had the incredible opportunity to go on two exchanges: studying Advanced Fluid Dynamics in Beijing and doing a commerce internship in Jakarta. I developed new working skills, learnt about different cultures and did some amazing sightseeing.
My UNSW degrees gave me a solid foundation of technical knowledge that I draw from today. Many of the engineering concepts I learnt have proved helpful at work, and at times I still revise relevant theory.
After graduation I secured a job as a Spacecraft Engineer at Optus, working to keep a fleet of seven geostationary satellites healthy. They are located approximately 36,000km up in space. I plan manoeuvres to fire thrusters and keep each satellite in its desired orbit, ensuring continuous communications to our customers down on Earth, which include Foxtel and free-to-air TV stations.
Over the last six years I have worked my way up to become Senior Spacecraft Systems and Orbits Engineer. I analyse satellite telemetry, perform spacecraft maintenance procedures, respond to rare anomalies and code procedures to command our satellites.
I’m lucky to have stumbled upon a job I love, and sometimes I still pinch myself at how what I’m doing on the ground is controlling a satellite far away in space. I also enjoy getting to say: it is indeed rocket science!