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Working together to create Europe’s launchers
An expert in space technology, Claudia Flöte has spent her professional career supporting European access to space, covering technical aspects and team management.
Tell us about your job at ArianeGroup
For two years I have been responsible for Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher production, which means that I and my teams manage the assembly, integration, and test of the main stages at Les Mureaux (France) and the upper stages at Bremen (Germany), as well as and final assembly operations for both launch systems in Kourou (French Guiana).
How did you first come in contact with the company?
After graduating in physics, I started with ERNO Raumfahrttechnik GmbH in Bremen (an ArianeGroup predecessor) in 1988, working on the EURECA project for a free-flying satellite carrying 15 European microgravity experiments.
You’ve been with company quite a long time, and seen many developments
Early on, I worked for Ariane 4 stages in Bremen and during launch preparation in Kourou. Towards the end of Ariane 5 development, I was given product management responsibility for an Ariane 5 subsystem, then the complete upper stage, working with storable propellants. Subsequently, I became product manager for the newly developed cryogenic upper stage.
In 2007 I took on the management of multi-disciplinary, multinational teams in charge of validating flight-worthiness of the Ariane launchers. That means we not only produce the launchers, but we also have to provide the proof that each model of the launcher with all its specificities is totally ready to fulfil its mission.
What do you most like about working for a European and multicultural company?
Being responsible for three teams on three different sites (Bremen, Les Mureaux, Kourou) means we have to draw on our multicultural and multinational assets, always trying to find the best ArianeGroup solutions, in both technical and economic terms, for all aspects. Motivating multinational teams to work together is always my highest priority and source of success.
What do you think is the key to team leadership today?
My leadership principles, in line with the ArianeGroup model, are based on trust, leading by example, and empowered delegation, to speed up innovation.