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ArianeGroup manufactures more than launchers. Meet one of our specialists.
Azeline has a degree in mechanical systems engineering with a specialisation in PLM tools (product lifecycle management). After completing her final-year internship at ArianeGroup’s Les Mureaux site, she stayed on as a configuration manager for a few months, and subsequently became a program manager.
Can you describe what you do as a Program Manager for antenna reflectors and launcher upper part products?
My job is to oversee project execution: timeline management, costs, risks and opportunities, continuous improvement. I lead project meetings, ensure strong team spirit and coordinate work teams. I am also in charge of relations with the customers and ensuring their satisfaction.
Can you explain what antenna reflectors are in layperson terms? What are these products used for in satellites?
Antenna reflectors, which look like large parabolic dishes, are set up on satellites and deployed once a satellite is in orbit. Reflectors make it possible to send signals from space to a specific location on Earth.
What is a “launcher upper part product”?
These products are meant to ensure coupling between the launcher and its satellite. Their purpose is to carry and sometimes separate a satellite from its launcher (e.g. Sylda for Ariane 5: a dispenser system on which the satellite is mounted during lift-off). To better grasp the concept, make believe that the launcher is a car and the satellite is a passenger; the upper part product is the seat (ejection seat in this case!).
You studied abroad. Is this an advantage when working at an international company?
A long stint abroad is definitely an enriching experience that helps you to learn about cultural differences, which is undoubtedly very useful in an international business environment. You learn to adapt, you become accustomed to new educational methods. It reminds me of a key aspect of my job: understanding and analysing customer needs. Studying abroad also helps you to grow as an individual, to push your boundaries and of course to improve your language skills.
You have held different management positions for Ariane launcher projects. What are the most important things you have learned along the way?
I learned how an Ariane 5 launcher operates and how to manage changes in a complex system. But I also learned to listen, and to be adaptable and empathetic in order to functionally manage a team and work as one towards a common goal.
Did you dream of working in the space industry as a child?
No, it wasn’t necessarily a childhood dream. However, it meant a great deal to me when I was offered a job to work on the Ariane 5 launchers. I travelled a lot as a child and my favourite memory has always been a trip to French Guiana during which we visited the European space port.
What advice would you give someone that wants this type of job?
I would encourage students or young professionals to look into the CVA (Community of Ariane Cities) summer school programmes.
Thanks to Azeline for her time and her advice. Do you have any questions for our experts? Ask away on our social media accounts, or suggest other ArianeGroup employees whom you would like us to highlight on our website.