Getting hands-on work experience within the space industry

Before Lennart Mueller left his recent internship at EUMETSAT, he took the time to explain to us what it was like having the opportunity to work within an operational satellite agency.

Lennart interned with the “Process Assurance and Management Support” division for six months, gaining valuable experience that will no doubt benefit his future career.

Read on to find out what he learnt during his time here!

Can you please introduce yourself to our readers and explain what your role is?

My name is Lennart Mueller and I am working at EUMETSAT as part of an internship programme within the Process Assurance and Management Support division. My role is integrated with the Geostationary Quality and Product Assurance team responsible for the upcoming Meteosat Third Generation Programme (EUMETSAT’s next generation of geostationary satellites).

Lennart at EUMETSAT HQ, in front of our real-size Meteosat Second Generation satellite

What does the Quality Assurance division do exactly and what were your tasks?

The Quality Assurance (QA) team supports the achievement of product performance in line with scheduling, costs and specifications. The Quality Policy defined in the EUMETSAT Management System is implemented at programme level by the MTG QA team. This is done by the definition, establishment and implementation of working practices, anomaly management, participation in review boards before/after tests, test witnessing and conduction of incoming inspections and deliveries.

My tasks included the participation in quality inspections, witnessing test campaigns, supporting the working practices training for the technical teams and anomaly management. Another part of my work included the improvement and enhancement of a software tool used for the preparation of anomaly metrics.

We heard you received an award for the “best engineering degree student of 2020 in Germany” – what were the criteria and who awarded you with that?

I graduated with a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Technische Universität Berlin and was given an award by the German association of engineers. Every year, the two best graduates from universities in the Berlin-Brandenburg area in their respective field are honoured. Luckily, the ceremony could be held last year, which marked a good conclusion to my studies.

Was this your first internship and how was it doing an internship during lockdown?

During my time at university, I completed a couple of shorter internships, as well as a six-month internship at Airbus Defence and Space. This experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, was quite different.

I started the internship in the last weeks of September 2020, right before stricter restrictions were put in place again. Therefore, I was able to get to know the entire team in person and spent some time on site, which was great. I was also able to join the boxing club and had several weeks where I could get to know other people on site, have lunch in the canteen and experience a more typical routine at EUMETSAT.

After that, on-site presence had to be reduced and I spent the majority of time teleworking. Therefore, all our meetings had to be fully virtual, including the trainings and inductions and I could only be on site once a week.

What made you choose EUMETSAT for your internship and how did you get to hear about us?

I have heard about EUMETSAT during my space engineering courses at university where it was mentioned as one of the space agencies and as an interesting place to work. Since then, I have thought about a possibility to get to know it myself and I have found this internship on the EUMETSAT website.

Can you tell us a bit more about your degree?

As I mentioned previously, I have already finished my master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Technische Universität Berlin. Many of the courses I took were offered by the chair of space technology, which offers courses focused on technology, design and operations. During my studies, I spent one year at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain and one semester at Technion in Israel.

With one month left to go of your internship, how do you feel about leaving EUMETSAT and what will you do next? How do you think what you’ve learnt here will help you in your future career?

My time at EUMETSAT has given me a valuable insight into the work of an operational space agency and into the work in quality assurance. The colleagues are great and everyone is very supportive. I really learned a lot working in QA for the MTG programme and feel prepared for the next steps in my career. In the future, I would like to continue working in the space industry.

What were you most looking forward to doing before coming here? Has your experience met your expectations?

My expectations were to get to know the work in an intergovernmental organisation, defined by an international environment, the cooperation of experts from many fields and large and interesting projects. These expectations have been fully met.

What did you enjoy most about your time here and did you come across any challenges?

I enjoyed the work and cooperation in my team, but also working with other teams from all parts of the project. The diversity of my tasks were sometimes challenging but I really enjoyed getting an insight into many of the various fields of the organisation and of the work of a QA engineer.

Do you feel like you’ve had any kind of personal growth during this time?

I definitely learned a lot during my six-month internship at EUMETSAT. I was introduced to a very focused and professional working environment and a large programme combining many different parties.

EUMETSAT and studies aside, what do you like to do in your free time?

I like to do sports which is why I joined the EUMETSAT boxing club and I recently started to play piano, which has been a good occupation during the lockdown.

Do you have any advice for young people that might want to follow in your path and intern here?

I would definitely advise to apply for an internship at EUMETSAT. There is a steep learning curve, great people and a wide range of interesting activities.

Thanks a lot to Lennart for this interesting insight into his internship with us – we wish him all the best in his future career!

If you’d like to see more of what goes on at EUMETSAT, follow our Instagram account to stay up to date!

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Natalie Lunt

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