Francisco Soto Ramblings about code, life and stuff.

I am a rocket scientist! Kind of.
Aug 07, 2013

Affordable Access To Space

So… Mexico

In my last post I wrote we were going back to Mexico. That was the plan, really. I even put my vacating notice with my land lady. But two days after I did that I got a very interesting message in Careers StackOverflow. The subject of the message was: “Interested in programming for space?”.

Yes. That was the subject line.

The content of the message wasn’t very long. It was only a couple of paragraphs. The first saying what they do, satellites, and the second about what they need: a low level programmer for the satellite’s code.

How can you say no to something like that?

Enter NanoSatisfi

I did. Or at least I tried. I had already made my mind that I wasn’t going to look for another job for a while. I didn’t want to rush into things. I wanted to take time off, relax and think what is it that I truly wanted to do next. So I gracefully declined.

But, really. Who wouldn’t be interested in programming for space? Really, are there people out there who would truly say no to such thing? Certainly not me. I said no but I couldn’t shake the idea off my mind. So I researched about NanoSatisfi and what they stood for.

Quote from one of their videos:

Now imagine if tomorrow your child comes home and says: “Mom, today I controlled a satellite in space.”

Peter Platzer

That is definitely something I would love to be a part of so I wrote back to them.

The company is doing something great that I love. They are a small startup and thus reached out to me looking for a developer who can work in any part of the stack (web, database, backend, api, embedded) but clarifying that my primary responsibility would be the embedded software close to the metal. So close you can actually taste it. So it is basically a broad range of roles, technologies and paradigms to play with; it is very hard to get bored. If you are bored or tired there is always something else to do.

So we had a call, I went there to interview for a day. They were happy, I was happy and so they presented and offer and after the usual back and forth I accepted it.

Now I do satellites for a living!

I’ve been here for four days and I am loving it. The first generation satellites were just launched from Japan. And I am hard at work with the second generation. So far I’ve tested one of our new boards and been playing with two microcontrollers we are going to use.

There is a beautiful and challenging simplicity in diving into microcontroller data sheets, following PCB schematics and trying to understand them, working with tiny operating systems and trying to squeeze maximum performance and memory savings into the code.

I can’t wait to have my code go into space at the end of this year!

Go up.

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