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Communications Engineer – Career Spotlight

Adan: I basically design communication systems
for spacecraft. A communication systems is the ears and mouth
of the spacecraft because it allows for the ground station on earth to send commands to
the spacecraft for them to be processed. And also while the spacecraft is orbiting earth, it’s collecting
all this good data that needs to be sent back to earth. Narrator: One of Adan’s projects is the
communication system for the Magnetospheric MultiScale Mission or MMS. NASA wants to learn
more about the Earth’s protective magnetic layer, also called the magnetosphere, and
the sun. What I have in my hands right now, it’s
the real antenna. The transmitter and receiver are connected to here. So if you need to transmit,
you need to send your signal through here, it goes through this system, and it radiates
into space. And whatever station is on the ground [earth]
will pick up that frequency [signal] and you can actually receive all the information that
you want. Narrator: To make sure the antennas for MMS
will work as they were designed, Adan and other science engineers use a special room
called the Anechoic Chamber. You’ll notice that it has, it’s full of
pyramids, tiny pyramids made out of foam. That carbon foam [DEFINE] would actually absorb
RF [radio frequencies]. Now you know that if you’re transmitting
through a regular room, a lot of the energy bounces back and forth. You don’t want the
energy that comes or bounces from other sources. So that’s what the pyramids are there for.
Anything that hits those pyramids, it actually gets absorbed and not reflected. Science can be challenging at times. Math
can be challenging at times. If you see something and you’re curious about it, just ask the
question; it’s not gonna hurt anybody. It’ll make you a better person just because you
know something that you didn’t know yesterday. Narrator: To learn more about the MMS mission,
go to Discover more about space at NASA for Students
at And to find other Science careers, visit

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