researcher in mechanical engineering aims for the stars | Imperial News





Dr Fabian Hualca-Tigsilema (Vibration UTC) has been accepted into the 2021 ESA (European Space Agency) Astronaut Campaign.

The program has five phases, and it has now moved to phase two. He recently traveled to Germany for the first performance tests.

What is your engineering research and what kind of work do you do in the mechanical engineering department at Imperial?

I specialize in secondary air systems for turbomachines, but currently my research at UTC Vibration focuses on the design, construction and commissioning of an aeroelastic flutter rig.

What motivated you to apply for the European Space Agency program? Why do you want to become an astronaut?

My motivation has always been my passion for learning and my willingness to help others. I want to become an astronaut because I believe that one day we will inhabit another planet, and I want to do my part! Today’s astronauts and space agencies need all the help they can get.

How has your engineering experience been useful on the ESA program?

My engineering career has allowed me to stand out from the 22,000 candidates. Only 7% were selected to take the next step, and I was one of them.

Conversely, do you think that being in the ESA program will be useful for your career as an engineer?

It has already helped me a lot. In the second step of the selection process, I met some amazing people, people whose skills and knowledge are off this planet! Being able to ask questions about space and airplanes to such experienced engineers and pilots is a luxury few have. I feel honored and grateful to have met such wonderful people.

How has your experience of the program been so far, in a nutshell?

Like a dream! One that I wish would never end.

Nadia Barbu

Nadia Barbu

Department of Mechanical Engineering



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