Carla Careri

In space career - always see the big picture

How does a career in space operations start?

Let’s hear about the experience of Carla Careri. Holding an Aerospace Engineering master degree and with some short previous experience, Carla joined us in 2018 as a Spacecraft Controller for Sentinel 1, Sentinel 2 and Sentinel 5P, in the framework of the support service for Copernicus, the European Earth Observation programme operated from the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt (ESA).

Photo: ESA

Carla Careri

When did you step up to an engineering role?
After a bit more than one year as a Spacecraft Controller, my career path evolved and I took a position as a Spacecraft Operations Engineer (SOE) within the Sentinel 6 and Sentinel 3 Flight Control Teams. My areas of responsibility concern the Power, Thermal and TT&C spacecraft subsystems, but I also deal with the Ground Segment and, in particular, with the Mission Control System.

How did your Spacon experience help you with this growth?
I had been eager to become an SOE since the moment I set foot in a control room, but I realise now how important it was for me to perform real-time operations as a controller, starting from the basics and learning how to be responsible for the spacecraft before going deeper into the technical details of its subsystems.

Which has been the most exciting moment of your career to date?
It has been the launch of Sentinel 6, on November 21st, 2020! As a member of the Mission Flight Control Team, I was actively involved in the preparation activities, the simulation campaign and the LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) shifts. It wasn’t easy, I had been in the team for only ten months when we launched and I kept having this feeling that there was so much to know and that whatever I learnt was never enough. But finally, seeing the launcher go high in the sky and feeling the adrenaline rise, together with the excitement, the fear, the motivation, the concentration, was definitely worth all the efforts! Today I’m extremely proud of having been part of that journey and grateful for the opportunity I have been given.

By the way, that LEOP was performed under very strict Covid-19 prevention conditions, which added extra stress to all the participants. Our customer ESA acknowledged this successful performance by thanking the team for enduring this brilliantly.

What do you expect or imagine for your future career?
I am not able to see myself in 5, 10 or 20 years, as four years ago I would have never been able to imagine myself here today. I went through my path step by step, embracing one little challenge after the other without ever wondering what would come next. So far, this turned out to be a great strategy! I wish to always be able to see the big picture, the purpose hidden behind the documents to read, the procedures to update, the systems to test and to always find in it the excitement and the motivation I can find today.

Thank you, Carla!