In the Spotlight

Meet Faye Winters

Engineering Manager in the UK

Meet Faye Winters

Engineering Manager in the UK

    Can you please explain your job?

    I am Engineering Manager for Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) in the UK. EGSE is non-flight electrical equipment used to control, test, and validate an instrument, payload or satellite prior to launch. We procure, specify, integrate, and maintain EGSE for almost all of the science missions currently being worked on at Thales Alenia Space in the UK, including MicroCarb, FLEX, PLATO, and CO2M. My team and I are involved at every stage of the project, from the bid all the way to the launch. MicroCarb will measure sources and sinks of carbon, the principal greenhouse gas driving global warming, while PLATO is both a science and space exploration mission for the detection and observation of exoplanets. CO2M is a crucial Copernicus Earth-observation mission designed to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by human activity.

    I’m currently coordinating EGSE delivery and integration for the European Space Agency (ESA) FLEX mission, part of ESA’s Living Planet program. FLEX will improve our understanding of how carbon moves between plants and the atmosphere and how photosynthesis affects the carbon and water cycles. I find it very motivating to contribute to such important scientific missions that will help make positive environmental changes and help protect life on our planet.

    What are you most proud of in your day-to-day activity?

    Faye Winters

    © Thales Alenia Space

    I’m very proud of the agility that my team show every day. Due to the wide range of subsystems that EGSE supports, and the different phases of the projects we work on concurrently, no two days are ever quite the same! The teams are always very responsive and adaptable to changing requirements, and seeing the teamwork and the culture we’ve established makes me very proud. The assembly, integration, and test for FLEX is being performed in the UK and my team will support and maintain the EGSE throughout the project lifecycle, all the way up to launch.

    Which event in your career have you enjoyed the most?

    I was lucky enough to take part in the LISA Pathfinder launch campaign in 2015, for two months in Kourou, French Guiana. LISA Pathfinder’s goal was to test the technology in space required to detect low-frequency gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity. I was responsible for setting up the EGSE in the preparation phases and in the bunker of the launch tower, and I was on standby to fix any issues with the equipment right up until liftoff. I even got to sign my name on the payload fairing! It was an amazing experience to see something that you’ve put a lot of hard work into launched into space!

    In three words, what are the qualities required in your profession?

    Agility, creativity and communication.