Alyssa Faulkner is Key Account Manager Space at TTTech North America, working with our customers Maxar Technologies and Northrop Grumman on the NASA Gateway projects.
We sat down with her for a chat in the run-up to World Space Week 2021.
What inspires you about working in the space industry?
What inspires me is the prospect of space travel and working on human spaceflight, which is extremely challenging.
I also find it inspiring to contribute to NASA’s Artemis program, the mission to get the first woman to the Moon. The program’s name is not a coincidence. In Greek mythology, Artemis is the goddess of the Moon and the twin sister of Apollo. And the Artemis program follows NASA’s Apollo program.
For me, it is incredibly exciting to be part of ground-breaking, challenging international space programs like Artemis and Gateway. TTEthernet® was baselined for these programs in the International Avionics System Interoperability Standards (IASIS) and I am honored to be able to work with NASA and to provide networks that make human space flight safer.
For Gateway, we have been working with the prime contractors Northrop Grumman on the Habitation and Logistics Module (HALO) and Maxar Technologies on the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), which are the first two Gateway modules to be launched. The worldwide space community is involved in the Gateway, in getting it designed, built, and launched, but not just the Gateway itself. The docking vehicles and the Human Landing System (HLS) will also be instrumental in getting the first woman to the Moon.
How does TTTech Aerospace contribute to the space sector?
TTTech Aerospace provides reliable networks for aerospace and space, including human space flight. We have designed a radiation-hardened ASIC, built products around it and continue to do a lot of business development in the space industry. For the Gateway projects, we have introduced a modular product line in a 3U cPCI form factor that makes use of our space-rated product portfolio. This allows us to provide our customers with turnkey solutions and reduces customers’ risk. With our solutions and expertise, we have become an extension of our customers’ engineering team, allowing them to focus on the overall module and the application.
To support our work on the Gateway, we opened an office in Houston, TX, and staffed it with experts in systems, software, and program management with vast experience working in the space industry. Our experts work with our prime contractors, with NASA and our team in Vienna, as well as our space hardware partners like RUAG Space. With the extensive expertise, our team supports customers who are facing challenges in their avionics systems from a software and systems standpoint and helps them find efficient and innovative solutions.
What relevance does the space industry have for our daily lives?
Starting with the ISS (International Space Station) and continuing with the Gateway, the international space community collaborates on groundbreaking research efforts. On the ISS, 15 countries work on research projects in environments that were not accessible before, doing experiments that study diseases on Earth, help us learn more about our atmosphere, support growth of food in microgravity, to name a few.
NASA has confirmed the presence of water on the Moon, which is instrumental in sustaining a permanent outpost there. This will help us to conduct a greater variety of research not possible on Earth that can inform our understanding of space and our planet’s environment.
This year’s topic for World Space Week is “Women in Space” – who are the women that inspire you in your job and in the industry?
There are many women who inspire me, both here at TTTech and in the space industry. At TTTech, I am surrounded by an amazing team of people. There are many women I am indebted to who are experts in their fields, e.g. project management, contracts, legal and support. They allow me to focus on my job which is supporting our existing customers and opening our business to new customers.
On a larger scale, there is an unusual number of great women leaders at the top of the aerospace industry, such as Kathy Lueders at NASA, Kathy Warden at Northrop Grumman, Marillyn Hewson at Lockheed Martin, Gwynne Shotwell at Space X and Kathy Laurini at Dynetics.
The deep expertise and bold, strategic, compassionate mindset these women bring to these leadership roles allows them to inspire their teams and is instrumental in creating innovative solutions that will shape the space community now and into the future.
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