Sweety Pate, Satellite Operations Systems Engineer & LG Lead of WIA-E Belgium

It is rightly said, “the dream is not what you see in sleep, dreams are things that don’t let you sleep”.

Here is my journey from a Dream to Reality!

As a child, I was always fascinated by space objects & flying robots. Will there be life on other planets? Can we reach these planets & if so how? Born in a small countryside town in India, “Chalisgaon”, many such questions were on my mind. Inspired by my family, I followed my passion for aerospace, science, and technology.

Over the past 10 years, I have been working with the leading aerospace industries and research organizations. My career journey started with the undergrad studies in aerospace engineering, where I successively in 2011 & 2012, won awards from NASA for eco-friendly aircraft designs. At the age of 21, I represented the country & presented the award-winning research at NASA Langley Research Center. In 2012, I also bagged an award for space vehicle design from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The prize-winning undergrad studies led to a year-long research position at German Aerospace Center – DLR, where I worked on innovative aircraft & space vehicle concepts. For higher education, I got enrolled in a Space Engineering course at TUDelft, the Netherlands. At the university, I was a member of the Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering (DARE) student association, where we designed, build, tested, and launched the sounding rocket – Stratots 2+ from INTA (Spain), which made a European amateur rocketry altitude record of 21.5 km. During my thesis project, I worked at Thales Alenia Space in Italy on “Multidisciplinary optimization of re-entry vehicles – Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) & Space Rider”. I got an opportunity to contribute to one of the most fascinating projects, – Poland Mars Analogue Simulation (PMAS) 2017 as an Analog Astronaut and a CapCom.

What I’m working on:

I’m currently working as a Satellite Operations Systems Engineer at QinetiQ (Belgium) and involved in ground-breaking space missions, namely ALTIUS satellite for stratospheric ozone monitoring & QKDSat satellite for secured communication. I’m responsible for the most crucial aspects of the space mission – satellite onboard software and ground segment design. Along with these projects, I’m the technical lead at QinetiQ for the European Space Traffic Management (EUSTM) Horizon 2020, which focuses on setting new space operations technical guidelines, best practices, and increasing the space situational awareness among the global space community.

Apart from the job, I’m a member of the AIAA Space Operations and Support Technical Committee (SOSTC), Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) Belgium core team, & the National Co-ordinator of NASA JPL Scientist for a Day Challenge. Through these organizations & WIA-E, I’m contributing to the global aerospace community & inspiring the young generation in their journey of a Dream to Reality!