Meet Alex: Engineering Intern at EUMETSAT
Interview with Alex Minetto, Engineering Intern at EUMETSAT.
Hi Alex, could you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Alex Minetto and I am from Turin, Italy. I am a student at the Polytechnic University of Turin, where I have completed my bachelor’s degree in Cinema and Media Engineering. I am currently studying for my master’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering.
What does your role as an engineering intern involve?
The team I work in is mainly focused on the ground segment of Metop satellites. The ground segment for the instrument’s external calibration consists of three ground transponders that are located in the Turkish desert. These transponders receive signals from the ASCAT instrument on Metop satellites. My job is to come up with new solutions of improving the acquisition and analysis of the signal between Metop’s ASCAT instrument and the transponders on the ground.
Every day I have to run simulations such as mathematically modelling the path of the signal from the satellite to the ground. To do so, I have to write codes and design new algorithms to make the simulations more reliable.
In the end it all comes down to problem solving, which I believe is the most challenging part for all engineers.
What skills and personal qualities are important for this role?
Ability to solve problems quickly and come up with solutions is definitely a must-have for an engineering role like this.
What I also found to be important are communication and presentation skills, as you often have to present your work to people of various backgrounds in a way which would allow them to see the value of it.
Naturally, programming skills and signal analysis fundamentals are also highly important for such role.
What do you like about your internship?
I really enjoy the overall environment here at EUMETSAT – it’s very international and everyone seems to be happy to help you with anything. I also like how modern the facilities are and the fact that I am equipped with all the tools and technology that I need.
Speaking about my internship in particular, I really appreciate the unique nature of my work – there is no other place in Europe where I would be able to work with meteorological satellites.
What is more, I find it great that I have all the time that I need. There are very little deadlines, but even those are just to help you structure your work.
What is your advice to someone interested in this field?
My advice would be to focus on the practical side of things, as implementations and solutions are what matter the most. This is why I would encourage anyone interested in telecommunications engineering to look for opportunities to put things into practice, and EUMETSAT is an excellent place for it.
What are your goals for the future and how do you feel this internship will help you achieve them?
Space engineering communications is a highly fascinating and interesting area of science and engineering, so my goal would be to continue working in this area in the future.
Here I started working with signal analysis and extraction, which is just a small part of a very broad field. This internship has also allowed me to understand the physical nature of signals and the physical impediments of them. I feel like it is a great starting point for broadening my knowledge and that’s something I intend to keep working on hereafter.