1. Let’s start off by Introducing yourself.
My name is Jenna Robinson. I am a class of 2021 graduate of Arizona State University with my master’s in science and technology policy. And my undergrad is in astrobiology and bio geo sciences also from Arizona State University.
2. What is your internship role and what do you do?
So this summer, I’m working with the policy team as an intern and I’m working with them to craft policy and regulations and develop industry norms that favor on orbit servicing and orbital sustainability.
3. What made you decide to apply to be an intern at Astroscale US?
So I’ve always really been interested in the commercial space sector and I really wanted to work with a company to get a sense for how it’s different from civil space and from government space. And I applied specifically with Astroscale because it’s a new company that’s taking on a really significant and potentially challenging area of orbital debris. And I think that the work that I can do here will make a difference in the broader space community, which was something that was really attractive to me.
4. What does a typical day look like for you?
That is a good question. I don’t think I’ve had a typical day so far, but during the week on average, I usually have one or two meetings or webinars, depending on what day it is. And then I’ll do some research for an independent project that I’m working on. And then every now and then Luc and Charity (the Astroscale U.S. Policy Team) will ask me to contribute to some more of the day-to-day tasks. So things like writing up a background paper for a meeting with the congressional delegation or picking out a policy paper for us to discuss at our weekly meetup.
5. What is something that surprised you during your first couple of weeks?
I think I was most surprised at just the sheer amount of talent at Astroscale. Everyone here is ridiculously qualified and also very passionate about the mission and it creates a really great culture that’s been very welcoming and also very inspiring. I get up in the morning and I’m excited to come to work.
6. What are you looking forward to?
I think the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is coming to the Denver office and actually getting to meet people in person and seeing the work that you guys do firsthand.
7. What are things that you have learned outside of work that you have integrated and applied into your time here at Astroscale U.S.?
So I’m currently leaning on my somewhat limited background in public budgeting and finance for the independent research project that I’m working on. So I’m investigating the idea of introducing a deposit refund scheme in the orbital environment as a method of debris mitigation. So yeah, using a little bit of that public policy background, and then I’m also using the exposure that I gained to the congressional appropriations process during my internship with the United States Senate to help the policy team craft their appropriations requests.
8. What do yo like to do when you are not working?
Man, I feel like this sounds very typical because everyone at Astroscale says it, but I’m really into being outdoors, especially in Arizona. Well, right now it’s not nice, but typically beautiful weather here. So I really enjoy hiking, taking my dog out for walks. I also got back into reading during quarantine, so I’ve been reading some pretty good science fiction and also some nonfiction works about America’s space program.
9. What is your favorite space movie?
This one was a good one because my knee-jerk reaction was to say The Martian, but I’m actually going to go controversial on this one. I really like Star Trek Beyond and I don’t know if you’re a fan of the Star Trek franchise, but a lot of the older Star Trek fans didn’t really like that movie. But I think it really honored Roddenberry’s commitment to creativity, diversity. And also just to the admiration of space as the final frontier for exploration.
10. Controversial question: Star Trek or Star Wars?
So I do like both, but if I have to choose one or the other, Star Trek hands down. I actually have a tattoo of the Vulcan salute.
11. Advice for recent college grads or potential interns?
Yeah. So I feel like these always sound cheesy, but I think the best thing I can say is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. So if you’re interested in something, even if you don’t think you’re fully qualified or even minimally qualified apply anyway, seek out the opportunity anyway, because the worst they can say is no, but I think people would be surprised just how far tenacity and enthusiasm can get you when you’re in your career search.
12. Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that so far I’ve really enjoyed working with Astroscale and I hope to continue having a really good experience with them and hopefully get to meet everyone.