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From Barcelona to the stars: an exciting journey in space with Serco

Àurea Cors Espinal, one of our remarkable space colleagues, is actively shaping the future of space data collection. Hailing from Barcelona, Spain, Àurea currently serves as a Spacecraft Controller for Copernicus Operations Support Services (COP-2) at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, on behalf of Serco. 

Commencing her journey with Serco approximately 2.5 years ago, Àurea will soon transition into a new role as a Spacecraft Analyst for EPS-SG (Metop-SG) at EUMETSAT – marking an exciting internal promotion.

Aurea at ESOC looking at computer screen (space)

After graduating from the Polytechnical University of Catalunya (UPC) with a degree in Aerospace Systems Engineering a few years ago, Àurea rapidly moved Darmstadt to join Serco which was “a great decision she will never regret”. More recently, she has been pursuing a master’s in engineering management at Brunel University of London, striking a balance between academic excellence and professional responsibilities. This commitment has been made possible by Serco, playing a pivotal role in sponsoring her master's degree, aligning with her ambition to merge technical expertise with managerial experience and create a positive impact for herself, the company, and our customers.

In her Spacecraft Controller for COP-2 capacity on behalf of Serco, Àurea has played a key role in the team contributing to the Copernicus programme. She oversees routine operations at ESOC on behalf of Serco, ensuring satellite functionality, conducting real-time operations, and overseeing offline activities to guarantee data transmission to users of the satellite data. Operating within the control room for 10-hour shifts, Àurea's precision and dedication are evident as she strives to make a positive impact daily.

I think you need to bring your skills to the job, but also the job gives you skills to your personal life. In the current team I am working, there are about 50 people, all of them are incredible individuals and very talented, so I had a chance of working alongside them, learn a lot, and had the privilege to get help from them to grow professionally in my first job. Therefore I am really grateful and proud to be part of this team

Àurea Cors Espinal

Making a positive impact, every day

In the broader context, the Copernicus programme delivers Earth observation data, offering valuable insights and user-friendly services. Àurea takes pride in knowing that the satellite images she works on are essential not only for meteorological purposes but also for societal needs, such as monitoring climate change and aiding in disaster management to positively impact the future.

Àurea's contributions extend beyond her professional duties, emphasising the societal impact of her work, including an open database of Copernicus data used by start-ups to provide specialised services. The images captured by Sentinel 2, the satellite Àurea works on, have been featured in news coverage of a fire near her hometown in Spain, highlighting the direct relevance of her work to real-world events.

Aurea at ESOC outside with satellite (space)

"My journey at Serco has been characterised by supportive management, including opportunities in participating in conferences and being part of exciting groups of professional womens."

Àurea Cors Espinal

Aurea smiling with folded arms (space)

The inclusive culture at Serco stands out for Àurea, who has always felt empowered as a female employee. Actively participating in Women in Aerospace initiatives, currently co-leading the Barcelona Regional Network, she is keen on re-launching the regional Network of Darmstadt, further strengthening the network within Serco and making a positive impact on diversity and inclusion.

Àurea draws empowerment from her network, connecting with like-minded individuals in Women in Aerospace and the Space Generation Advisory Council. As an advocate for gender equality in the space industry, she notes the positive shift towards more women occupying higher roles, contributing to a positive impact in the industry.

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