We asked some of our ESPACE Alumni (graduated students) to tell us about their ESPACE experiences and about their current positions:

On the 27th of Octobre 2015 Süddeutsche Zeitung published an article called Ein Doktorand aus München will ins Weltall written by Elsbeth Föger about Akram Abdellatif's journey from his childhood in Egypt through our ESPACE master program till his training to becoming an astronaut. For our English readers we have a translation prepared here.

- Akram Abdellatif (class fo 2015), Aerospace Engineer/Private Pilot at Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)

Short note about my career development after ESPACE:

  • Young Graduate Trainee for ESA in ESTEC (in the Netherlands) working together with the Galileo System Performance & Performance Evolution Team.
  • Currently a PhD researcher for CNES and CLS Group (in Toulouse) in the field of Multi-GNSS hybridization for precise positioning

A few words about ESPACE:

ESPACE opened the doors for me to the exciting field of space science. Following the completion of my diploma in Surveying Engineering, I wanted to continue my studies in the field of satellite applications and deepen my knowledge in space technology. The ESPACE master’s program provided me the opportunity to learn all about satellite missions and products. I had the unique opportunity to meet professors and lecturers who are specialists in their domains. I chose to specialize in Navigation and learn more about the current advances and research topics of GNSS systems. The knowledge I acquired proved very useful for my career choices later.

Following ESPACE I worked first as a Young Graduate Trainee at ESA (in ESTEC) in the Galileo System Performance and Performance Evolution Team. Currently I am pursuing a PhD at CNES and CLS Group in Toulouse, in the subject of Multi-GNSS Hybridization for Precise Positioning.

Finally, the ESPACE master’s program was also a significant opportunity for me to meet wonderful people from other countries, cultures and professional backgrounds. All of this in Munich, a city with a lot of space industries and institutions, in the heart of Europe.

After ESPACE I started PhD studies at university of Helsinki, Finland. During ESPACE I was interested in spacebourne remote sensing of the atmosphere and got introduced to an airbourne Doppler wind lidar during my Master's thesis. The courses I took during ESPACE and the six months spent at DLR for my MSc thesis gave me an excellent background for PhD studies.

Currently, I'm investigating turbulent mixing within the atmospheric boundary layer. I work with ground based Doppler wind lidars and ceilometers and I'm also involved with airbourne in-situ measurements.

Although the ESPACE master program requires a significant effort from the students, it also provides the essential skills and knowledge to continue to PhD studies or to become an expert in industry.

"The ESPACE program gave me more than just technical education, it also showed me how people from all over the globe can share knowledge and work together in the particular field of earth sciences. This was sometimes challenging and different views on how to approach tasks collided, but by resolving these situations I gained valuable experiences for working in an international environment. There, a common language is the key to share ideas and though for the majority of us students English was not the native language, we quickly got used to it and ESPACE offered an encouraging environment to strengthen our cross-border communication skills. Another important experience for me was the interdisciplinary approach of ESPACE, demonstrated not only by the wide areas of subjects covered in its lectures, which range from satellite technique, the whole infrastructure required to make such satellite missions possible, up to the scientific analysis of the data, but also by the multitude of institutions supporting the program. Cooperation between institutions is also a key motivation for the DLR - TUM joint project I now work in as a research scientist and PHD candidate. Thus, the ESPACE program prepared me well in many ways and provides me a good basis for my future career."

- Christoph Gisinger (class of 2012), Institute of Astronomical and Physical Geodesy (IAPG), Technische Universität München, Research scientist and PHD candidate in the field of SAR and GNSS

What did you get out of your experiences as an ESPACE student?

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." M. Luther King.
When a person is challenged, he will be encouraged to perform his best. ESPACE and coming to Munich have been big challenges in my life. ESPACE has challenged me in many ways:

  • Through a variety of lecturers from academia and industry. Through seminars, workshops and projects fostering the competition and group work as in real space projects. Through the constant search for improvement of my work. Through the pursue excellence not as an act, but as a habit.
  • Interacting with a multi-cultural group of people has been equivalent to discover different personalities, understanding better other points of view and also better knowing oneself. Working with them has meant being able to adjust, communicate, learn, listen, explore new ways of doing things and truly discover diversity.
  • Munich is equally a magnet for young people all over the world who look to excel in key areas for the future, such science and engineering, as well as for those who look for a thriving offer of culture, sport and recreation. Living here has offered me priceless experiences which keep on happening today.

And moreover, it has given me the chance to satisfy my thirst for knowledge in an area in which I was already very fond of: GNSS."

How did the ESPACE program prepare you for your current position?

I currently work as software engineer for Trimble Navigation. I am developing GNSS industry-specific applications in different areas such as precision farming, or monitorization of infrastructures. After 2 years of ESPACE, I have strengthened and broadened my knowledge on GNSS and also improved my programming skills. Also, living in Munich I have been able to learn and practice German, which I need today at work. Altogether with my desire to learn have provided me with that I was looking for: a solid foundation in GNSS and a recognized degree from a world-class university as TUM."

- Juan Erencia Guerrero (class of 2012), GNSS Software Engineer for Trimble Navigation Limited

"The ESPACE program has three key strengths: its lecturers, its interdisciplinarity and its location. The ESPACE lectures and high-level lecturers provide students with profound knowledge and excellent contacts for future PhD or job opportunities. The large number of disciplines and institutes involved in ESPACE force the student to the edge of many space-related science and engineering topics, both in lectures and projects, which is excellent for their learning minds and gives a lot of areas for specialization to choose from. ESPACE is located at the TUM, an elite university, and has lecturers from LMU, DLR, DGFI and other very renowned institutions at German and European level. ESPACE is based in Munich, one of the cities with highest quality of living in the world, and one of the focus cities in Europe in education and jobs related to space technology.

During my specialization in satellite navigation at ESPACE, I was given the opportunity of co-founding a start-up company with lecturers of the TUM's institute of communications and navigation. I wrote my master thesis there about algorithms for precise GNSS based attitude determination for vehicles and ships and I will continue at the company for a PhD thesis. I'm also in charge of other projects and cooperations with industry and academic partners, as well as consultancy services in satellite navigation and Earth observation for the government of my home country, Colombia, and supervision of students for internships and master theses at the company."

- Juan M. Cárdenas (class of 2012), project coordinator, software developer for ANAVS and PhD Student at the Institute for Communications and Navigation (TUM) in the area of GNSS based attitude determination. Juan was selected as one of the 100 successful Colombians abroad in 2013 by Marca País Colombia and the association Fusionartein Madrid.

"With the increasing complexity of commercial and scientific Earth-orbiting satellites, the growing need of robust, flexible and scalable spacecraft requires the analysis of different strategies to meet specific mission requirements fulfilling at the same time these system demands. The implementation of rendezvous and formation-flying technologies (guidance, navigation and control) in the core mission planning is one of the main technological trends in current and future mission designs. The ESPACE program provided me the basic knowledge and skills on satellite technology and applications, allowing me to be part of this scientific quest. Its interdisciplinary curriculum, representing the synergy of maths, physics and engineering with a strong focus on system design, along with the multicultural and truly international environment provided by its students, makes it a very attractive and unique master program in the field of space and satellite technology."

- Gerardo Allende Alba (class of 2012), PhD Student at DLR - German Space Operations Center at Oberpfaffenhofen in the area of relative navigation of formation-flying satellites

"Global monitoring of the environment is nowadays mainly conducted from space.” This was one of the main lessons I learned during my Bachelor’s degree in Environmental engineering. Joining the ESPACE Master’s program was therefore a trendsetting decision. The interdisciplinary curriculum covered major aspects from current satellite technologies and their applications. Together with social skills conveyed through strong intercultural teamwork in several projects and working groups, ESPACE qualified me as a competent partner for both science and industry. I’m proud to be an ESPACE Alumni contributing to a lifelong network of satellite applications experts."

- Christian Rinner (class of 2011), Project Engineer for MTG (Meteosat Third Generation), OHB System AG, Bremen, Germany

"If space is the final frontier, then ESPACE was my spacecraft. The ESPACE program is perfect for those who aim to learn more about satellites and their applications both on our planet Earth and in space. It gave me an opportunity to meet the big names in this field and to work on the most current research topics. The multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural background of the students in this program presents a perfect recipe for success. As a PhD student, I can proudly say that my foundation in remote sensing is strong because of the ESPACE program."

- Gopika Suresh (class of 2011), PhD Student at the University of Bremen's Institute of Environmental Physics/Center for marine environmental sciences doing her PhD in the field of Automatic Detection of Natural Oil Slicks in Synthetic Aperture Radar Images

"The ESPACE program gave me a solid base on which I can now draw to lead debates with a broad knowledge of the Earth system. The program sparked my interest in the Earth System and I am grateful for that. It is very refreshing to take part in a program that has very different specializations and is not as narrow minded as conventional programs."

- Delf Neubersch (not pictured, class of 2010), PhD Student in the Research Unit for Sustainability and Global Change at the University of Hamburg and a stipend recipient of the International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modeling

"ESPACE provided me with a platform to study several aspects of space science related courses and eventually specialize in one of them. I found great pride in interacting with the best minds from all over the world. The course helped me gain confidence to work independently on practical engineering problems. The program itself gave me enough opportunities to evaluate and nurture my strengths. Thanks to ESPACE, significant value is added to my career profile."

- Ganesh Lalgudi Gopalakrishnan (class of 2010), Senior Engineer, Satellite Navigation Systems at VEGA Space GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany

"ESPACE has provided me with a strong conceptual understanding of space engineering and its Earth-oriented applications. Space technology has always fascinated me and ESPACE gave me immense knowledge about it and how it could be used to know more about our planet, its climate and changing environment. I interacted with the smartest people in the areas of my interest, the lecturers are the best in their fields, providing a strong technical know-how and an opportunity to work on state-of-the-art research projects. Another great advantage was being part of an international environment which was something not to be missed. ESPACE gave direction to my goal of pursuing a career as a research professional in the field of Remote Sensing. Currently, I am persuing a doctorate in the field of Persistent Scatterer Interferometry, which would help us know more about urban subsidence and uplift, slope stability and landslides, seismic and volcanic deformations."

- Kanika Goel (class of 2009), PhD Student at DLR (German Aerospace Center) in Persistent Scatterer Interferometry, Munich, Germany

"Before getting a position at EUTELSAT, I worked for 4 months at Sagem Defense and security (R&D), in the military GPS field. The goal of this position was to conduct a study on an anti-jamming GPS antenna. ESPACE gave me all the GPS knowledge to be able to understand the key points of this project.

Concerning my new position in EUTELSAT, I am in charge of the technical feasibility of the communications through GEO satellites (dealing with link budgets, satellite coverage, bandwidth and power availability of the transponders on board). The whole ESPACE program covers all the steps required in a satellite mission (from the basic definition of the requirements to the end of life of the satellite, going through the launch, and the operational use). This provided me with strong overall knowledge in satellite missions as a general point of view. All the master lectures and projects are in English. This last point helps me a lot today, since 100% of my job at EUTELSAT is in English. ESPACE is also a very good opportunity to meet people from different counties and cultures, in many occasions such as working together on a project but also in daily life (playing music, sports…). The staff is very friendly and is composed of talented professors."

- Josselin Berthod (class of 2009), Satellite Resources Engineer, EUTELSAT, Paris, France

"ESPACE implies going beyond the stage of being a fascinated observer of satellites and space engineering. The program enables you to become an active participant in space science who can processes data, interpret results and develop methodologies for space missions. The interdisciplinary structure of the program gives you flexibility to specialize in different areas. In my case it is the application of satellite data for the management of environmental and social issues on our Earth.”

- Sarah Abelen (class of 2009), Technische Universität München, International Graduate School of Science and Engineering, PhD Candidate in "Signals of Climate Variability in Continental Hydrology from Multi-Mission Space and In-situ Observations"

"The two years of ESPACE opened my mind in ways I did not think possible and showed me how to be competitive with the best space scientists in the world."

- Carlos Javier Rodriguez Solano (class of 2009), PhD Candidate in Satellite Geodesy (GNSS), Institute for Astronomical and Physical Geodesy, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany

"As an ESPACE Student, I acquired much applied knowledge of navigation and all kinds of applications in traffic, railway, marine, aviation, and so on. The practice of information technology and the SAR satellite design project have been especially useful for my current job in project management."

- Weizu Zhao (class of 2008), Project Manager, CTITC Research, China Transportation and Telecommunication Center, the Ministry of Communication of the P.R.C.

"A very extraordinary thing about ESPACE is that the program's content is not somehow historically based. A good portion of the lecturers come from experts from research institutes, other universities, and companies. It appears to have been a thoroughly thought out program with regard to which fields of expertise would be necessary, with all the experts from these necessary fields coming to lecture for the program!"

- Volker Tesmer (class of 2008), now working in the department for space system studies of the space technology company OHB-System

"What I am currently working on benefits greatly from my ESPACE studies. For example, the research on gravity field recovery requires the knowledge of orbital mechanics, numerical modeling and the ability to do software programming, all of which I learned from the ESPACE program."

- Dr.-Ing.Weiyong Yi (class of 2007), Scientific Staff, Institute for Astronomical and Physical Geodesy, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany

"ESPACE opened the doors to the fascinating field of space science and technology. During the program I gained not only solid knowledge but also the proper way to learn. The highly competent teaching staff from the fields of research and industry offer the students a good opportunity to experience current technology as well as state of the art research work. The program's nice international atmosphere was also an enjoyable part of my experience...all in all: ESPACE was a excellent experience for me!"

- Dr.-Ing. Xinxing Wang (class of 2007), SpaceTech GmbH

"ESPACE offers you, in a very international environment, the opportunity to learn and what is more important, to understand the relationships and connections between space-oriented measurement-techniques and current scientific applications in different fields. It brought me a better understanding of our planet and an overview of the possibilities that space offers humanity to reach a deeper understanding of it."

- J.L. Bueso (class of 2007), DLR (German Aerospace Center), Munich, Germany