Meet one of ESA's engineers behind Destination Earth
29 May 2023
Inés Sanz Morère is an ESA Earth Observation Data Processing Engineer, based at the agency’s Centre for Earth Observation (ESRIN), in Frascati, Italy.
Inés’ work responsibilities are divided between the Copernicus Earth Observation Programme and the Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative. For Copernicus, Inés supervises the mission planning activity for Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2. For DestinE, she manages the implementation and future operations of DestinE’s Core Service Platform, which is the user access point to DestinE ecosystem.
Inés previously worked as a Young Graduate Trainee (YGT) in the Flight Dynamics division at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Darmstadt, Germany. She holds a PhD in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, which had a focus on reducing the uncertainty of aviation’s climate impacts, obtained from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Inés joined ESRIN in September 2021.
ESA: How did your studies and experience as a YGT benefit your career?
Inés:Being a YGT at ESOC allowed me to discover two different aspects of ESA. First, the fantastic working environment, with privileged working conditions, allowing you to be part of an international community and to be surrounded by extremely smart people. And secondly, the benefits ESA initiatives have on society and the environment. Earth observation satellites provide global high-quality and high-resolution information, for instance, on the changes impacting atmospheric composition, Earth’s surface, and water levels. This information is advancing knowledge of the potential impacts of climate change on our society.
ESA: What does your role as an ESA Earth Observation Data Processing Engineer entail?
Inés: The role of Data Processing Engineer can entail many different things and, at ESA, the main objective is to make sure data retrieved by ESA satellites are correctly acquired, transformed, and distributed to the users, while being adapted to their needs. More specifically, as part of the DestinE initiative, we aim to create an ecosystem of operational services, profiting from the availability of Earth observation data at ESA, including a full digital twin representation of Earth, in order to address the environmental problems our society is currently facing.
ESA: What are the challenges and successes of your role?
Inés: One of the main challenges of our work at ESA is to keep up with the technical evolutions that are happening outside our agency, adapting our activities to them, and taking risks with innovative solutions (as operational services need to continuously guarantee a level of performance and quality). Another challenge – which is also a success at the same time – is the need to collaborate between different people and departments with different roles and expertise, within ESA and with other agencies. Successful collaboration between diverse teams results in fruitful and interesting outcomes.
ESA: What does it take to succeed in a STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) career, especially as a woman?
Inés: From my point of view, the main things you need to succeed in a STEM career are to be perseverant and disciplined while being a student – and to be comfortable with mathematics. As a woman, I think the lack of references and leadership visibility is the main obstacle, I hope through this type of interview we can slightly contribute to solve this issue by highlighting women working in STEM fields as role models for young people.
Calling on all interested users of Sentinel data, who would like to submit their results, turning their experiences into 'success stories'.
If you have a good story to tell, of how any of the Sentinel satellites are producing data that bring benefit to your work and/or to society, please contact the Sentinel Online Editors at: firstname.lastname@example.org with your proposals.