Florence Duveiller

M.S.A.E. 2018

What is your next adventure?

I am moving back to France to work for the Center of Space Studies, the French version of NASA. I will work as a mission planning engineer.

What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?

I am excited about returning to France with this degree. I will be working in a new city - I'm from Paris, but I'll be working Toulouse - and I'm very excited about returning to the space industry not as a student, to see what my opportunities will be. I had a lot of experience as an undergraduate, I was the head of the Student Space Center which created research partnerships for students and industry. But now I will not be the student.

Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?

My best and biggest accomplishment while I was here was my thesis, "Communication Architectures between Earth and Mars." It represents a lot of work, because, when I got here, I knew nothing about this subject. I had to start from scratch, to find a thesis that I could do. I had a lot of help from my advisor, Dr. Mavris, and from Dr. Olivia Pinon Fischer, who helped me to define the literature I had to study.

I was also involved in the Airbus Design Space Exploration project, where we used aircraft as a baseline and started to consider all of the options for changing it. I focused mainly on the wings - how having a winglet at the end influences other aspects of the vehicle.

I also was involved in a NASA Grand Challenge where the goal was to design a framework to generate a mission to Mars.  We had to look at all of the possibilities -- the launch, the design, the types of orbits, the types of propulsion systems - to generate the optimal framework. Then, we had to meet with subject matter experts from NASA to explain our work.

How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?

My thesis really helped me to tie things together. But, what really helped was the process of my entire education. In France, my education was very theoretical. Here, it was more experimental. The combination was great.

Also, coming here, to the United States, was smart. If you want to work in space, which I do, you have to know it's a global enterprise. It's no longer one country, one mission. Countries are collaborating so, for me, having that experience in the United States was great training for the future.

What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?

First, it would have to be: don't be afraid of challenges, of taking on difficulties. Go for the most difficult problems because it's through facing difficulties that you gain knowledge about the subject and about yourself.

Also, be curious. Go see people who are learning things that you are not learning. Listen to them, and get interested.

And that reminds me of this: Georgia Tech is not your whole life. Get outside of the School sometimes, even if it's just to get involved with a student group -- like SEDS [Students for the Exploration and Development of Space]. Anything that feeds your curiosity is a good thing.