Let's Space It. Ignacio Rocca

Full name
11 Jan 2022
5 min read
Let's Space It. Ignacio Rocca

Space is arguably both finite and infinite while the universe is expanding, and this evokes ambition, excitement, and puzzlement in humans. Out of this space technology, designed for space exploration, is born. Thus, it is even more interesting to learn the life stories of people behind innovation and technological development.

In this series of articles, we are introducing our colleagues behind ReOrbit technology. What brought them to the industry, their journeys towards humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier, lessons learned, and things they’d create if there were no technological limitations.

Meet Ignacio “Nacho” Rocca, an Avionics System Engineer at ReOrbit. Nacho's lifelong passion for complex things has driven his journey into the space sector. He graduated as an electronic engineer in 2009 and has since gained expertise in diverse fields such as telecommunications, electronics, and radiofrequency. Nacho has recently celebrated his first anniversary at ReOrbit, let’s hear his story.

Why did you choose space?

Ever since I was young, I loved electronics and enjoyed breaking things apart, such as radios. I liked to inspect all the little details, and eventually, I was able to put them back together by myself. I am unsure when and how I developed an interest in the space industry as a potential career path, as I have gained professional experience in many fields unrelated to space. However, I will say that my fascination with complex things led me to where I am today.

You started your career as…

After graduating from university as an electronic engineer in 2009, I have worked in various fields, primarily on telecommunications, electronics, and radiofrequency. Initially, I served as a TT&C and Data Downlink Subsystems engineer for the SAOCOM mission. The main objective of this mission is to provide an effective Earth Observation and disaster monitoring capability, for the needs of Argentinean society, economic and productive sectors, and the National Space Programme. Later, I transitioned to the SAOCOM Satellite System Engineering Team, where I focused on debugging and validating procedures, interfaces, and EGSEs for SAR Central Electronics. Tackling complex problems fast in the SAOCOM mission was an important and challenging part of my career.

In March 2023, I joined ReOrbit as an Avionics System Engineer. This is a different approach than what I had been involved in for over 14 years because I was a small part of a bigger machine in bigger companies. Here at ReOrbit, I have an engaging role and am deeply involved in my work. I have noticed my efforts have a quicker visible impact than before.

Your most memorable memory so far?

During my career, I have been involved in the launches of many satellites and various tests. One of the most memorable launches I was involved in was part of the SAOCOM mission.

I recall being present on the launch site of SAOCOM 1A at Vandenberg Air Force Base some weeks before the launch date. We conducted a lot of tests, and then I watched the launch. Due to the pandemic and because a different team was in charge, I was unable to be at the launch site for SAOCOM 1B, but we did perform the same tests before the satellite departed from Bariloche. Especially the radars were a massive undertaking. I was involved in the design, manufacturing, and testing phases of the radars. Seeing my hard work come to life and experiencing the first data coming in was an incredible feeling. It was an enormous project with many people working on it, and being a part of it was just fantastic.

Your most valuable lesson so far?

Learning from mistakes and gaining experience over time is essential. It is through these errors that you will acquire a lot of knowledge and become more experienced in the end. Another very valuable lesson I know is to do some extra tests. In the dynamic environment of space technology, it’s better to be as safe as you can.

What does nobody prepare you for?

Working with people with diverse personalities. You will enhance your people skills once you start working. No one tells you that you will make mistakes on this front, but you will gain a lot of experience from them over time. This is something that you cannot be taught during your university studies, although you may receive advice. Ultimately, you will learn on your own.

The one thing that you will never forget?

I will never forget the people involved in the projects I have worked on. The relationships I developed with them during the process are unforgettable, and they are the ones I learned to trust. Therefore, for me, people are the most important and valuable aspect.

What’s more, I genuinely believe that here at ReOrbit we have a great culture of celebrating milestones and bonding as a team. And it's an important part of our identity. I look forward to the moment when we get together for our upcoming launch.

The one thing that makes you smile?

It is incredibly rewarding to witness the successful completion of complex designs and projects and to see them function as intended. Whether it's watching a satellite launch or celebrating milestones with your team, knowing that you played a part in making these accomplishments happen makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Imagine there are no technological limitations, what do you wish you could design/create in the space sector?

Communications have been and will be the technology that makes big changes in the global lifestyle. From a farmer to a person who is in the middle of the Antarctic Continent, having connectivity is something that will help day-by-day work but also in emergencies. I would like to create new technologies that benefit global connectivity. For instance, a broadband cell phone that would work everywhere and would no longer be dependent on the ground infrastructures.



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