Dr Susan Jason features in an article for International Women’s day “Women in space interviews.”
For over a century, International Women’s Day, held on 8 March each year, has marked a day of celebration and advocacy for women’s rights and equality around the world. Universities, governments, charities, organisations, corporations and the media all celebrate the day. We are using this as an opportunity to turn our gaze upwards, to the vast space sector, to showcase the work of the incredible women who work within it. As of March 2021 we have seen 65 women in space with jobs ranging from astronauts, cosmonauts, payload specialists and more; we have certainly come a long way since 1963 when Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who flew on Vostok 6, was the first woman in space. Women are now an integral part of the industry and if we turn our attention to the earth – who are the women who are leaders in the field?
This article is an opportunity to explore the diverse range of problem-solving, satellite-operating, growth-creating jobs that are available for women in space today. These are a group of talented, hard-working, ambitious and supportive women, who are leading the way in the space industry and these last few weeks we have been lucky to interview them, about their work, passions and what it means to be a woman in leadership now. It takes a whole host of different people, from diverse backgrounds to bravely explore the unknown of space – and to make things that seem impossible, possible. These women certainly do that.
Dr Susan Jason
Principal Engineer and Head of Outreach, In-Space
Dr Susan Jason is Principal Engineer and Head of Outreach for In-Space Missions with over 21 years of experience working in the space industry across over 20 space missions, numerous developments across commercial, agency, national and international projects. Susan’s professional and personal dedication to the sector has led to a PhD in Low-Cost Spacecraft Systems Engineering and her career has grown rapidly with Surrey Satellite Technology and now with In-Space Missions working on projects involving mission design, space environment analysis and much much more.
”I want to work on projects that make a difference to the world and do good for the world. But I am inspired to fix problems, to deliver solutions. The space industry is so varied and you can do anything within it. It doesn’t matter what you think your strengths are – technical, creative, scientific – there is a place for you to do that here.
A big part of her role in the space industry is about getting out and about to talk about current and future technology, learning from others and creating beneficial partnerships. This involves going into schools and talking with students about careers, engaging with the UK space agency on advisory boards, working with the Local Enterprise Partnership on strengthening links between business and academia in the region and presenting at international conferences. Susan has been an inspiring and motivating figure – inspiring and motivating a diverse workforce of genders, ethnicities and backgrounds to enter into the rewarding and varied careers of the sector.
”We want to see an equal route and equal opportunities in the space sector and any sector for that matter, for anyone. I want to encourage anyone to step out of their comfort zone to find what they want to do. We are lucky in Space-UK to see the emergence of this diversity – from different routes, specialisms, backgrounds, countries and genders. Long may it continue and at an accelerated pace.