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Meet the Romanian women working in SSA (Space Situational Awareness)

on 12 March 2021

The Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) invites you to read a series of presentations of the women working in Space Situational Awareness (SSA): Diana Beșliu-Ionescu, Mirela-Mădălina Bivolaru, Ulpia-Elena Botezatu, Ana-Maria Neculăescu, Maria-Alexandra Niță, Violeta-Domnica Poenaru, Irina-Beatrice Ștefănescu and Mirela-Mădălina Trelia.

Diana Beșliu-Ionescu


I am a researcher at the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, within the Dynamics of the solar atmosphere and heliosphere department. I did my PhD at Monash University, Australia supervised by another Romanian female scientist Dr. Alina Donea. The PhD work was related to sun quakes, more specifically analysing solar seismic emission using helioseismology and multiwavelength analysis. Later on, my research extended to understanding how solar eruptive events influence our magnetosphere, such that now my expertise switched to space weather. My team from the Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy contributed to one of the future ESA missions - Proba 3 by providing the Catalogues for the ASPIICS images and the CMEs that will be detected during its observation time. I participated as a team member or as a project coordinator to several national and international projects in solar and heliospheric physics and space weather.

Mirela-Mădălina Bivolaru


I am a scientific research assistant at the Romanian Space Agency, with expertise in Space Situational Awareness (SSA). In my current position, I gained experience by getting involved in national and international projects in the SSA domain, such as SAFESPACE and EUSST. I graduated from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Politehnica University of Bucharest in 2016, and now I am a PhD student at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

Ulpia-Elena Botezatu


I am currently an analyst with the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA). My research interests gravitate around the intersections between cities, infrastructures and security, with a focus on space technologies and services and their disruption’s impact to the urban settlements. As part of my work at ROSA, I deal with Critical Infrastructure Protection with regards to urban systems. I am also part of the National Secretariat of the Inter-Institutional Group on Security Research. Furthermore, I am a liaison officer for a series of academic institutions, such as the International Academy of Astronautics. I am a delegate to both the Security and the Steering Committees of the European Union Consortium of Space Surveillance and Tracking, as well as to various agencies of the European Commission, European Space Agency, and International Standardization Organization on SSA/SST/STM topics. I am also involved in NATO Science and Technology’s work on NATO Space operations.

Ana-Maria Neculăescu


I am currently the Space Program Manager at National Institute for Aerospace Research “Elie Carafoli” (INCAS). Furthermore, I am INCAS delegate in the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) of the Association of European Space Research Establishment (ESRE). I am an aerospace engineer with a Master’s degree in space structures and integrated space systems and I am now pursuing a PhD in the space flight dynamics domain. My professional background is related to several space-related topics such as multi-disciplinary optimization of launch vehicles, space flight dynamics, control algorithms for vertical take-off and landing vehicles and space project management.

Maria-Alexandra Niță


I spent years in higher education in the UK, obtaining a Bachelor’s with Integrated Master’s (MEng) in Aerospace Engineering with Management (2017) and another Master’s Degree (MSc) in Space Systems Engineering (2019). During my studies, I collaborated in very international work environments and travelled to Colombia, Belgium, the USA and Germany for space-related activities. Currently, I work as SST engineer in GMV Romania, where I am the operations manager for data processing services in the frame of the National SST Operational Center (COSST); previously, I worked on a project related to autonomous collision avoidance. Working in SSA is the natural culmination of my career path so far, as my studies made me realise the importance of maintaining space safe and accessible, for the present and future. For this, SSA and SST are essential, as well as evolving international cooperation, cultural sensitivity, responsible technological progress and education.

Violeta-Domnica Poenaru


I graduated from the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Physics, Technological Physics Department with Master of Science Degree, title of thesis “Holography and its applications” in 1998. Since 2012 I have a PhD in Agronomy with the thesis “The use of multi-temporal satellite images to landslides and subsidence monitoring in the Ocnele Mari salt mining area taking into account the vegetation effects”. From 1998 I am working at the Romanian Space Agency as the research engineer. My field of research includes Synthetic Radar Aperture for disaster monitoring, GIS applications and last and not least SSA/SST. I was involved in many EO national and international projects. SSA domain especially near earth objects and space surveillance and tracking areas fascinated me and led me to extend my research activities in this field. Since 2018 I am TEC and PMO delegate in the EUSST projects on behalf of the Romanian Space Agency.

Irina-Beatrice Ștefănescu


I have graduated as an aerospace engineer in 2002 with a major in Avionics and received my MEng next year. Then, 2018 meant the completion of my PhD thesis which deals with automatic flight control systems in helicopters. In early 2013 I also became the holder of a professional helicopter pilot’s license (CPL(H)). I became part of the ROSA team since the end of 2002, and I have been involved in several projects related to GNSS, air navigation, and the first Romanian CubeSat. During the last several years, I have worked as a lecturer at the University Politehnica of Bucharest. My main interests regard aircraft, navigation and automatic flight control systems.

Mirela-Mădălina Trelia


I’ve completed Bachelor's degree in 2016 and Master's degree in 2018, both at Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest, Faculty of Geodesy. After graduation, I've worked in the private sector for two years, where I was involved in activities such as systematic registration of properties, processing of LiDAR and photogrammetric data, GNSS measurements, digital maps creation and Earth terrain/surface modelling. Since January 2019 I work for Romanian Space Agency, where I am part of the Space Situational Awareness (SSA)/Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) team. I currently work in EUSST (European Union Space Surveillance and Tracking) project, Romanian Space Situational Awareness project (SAFESPACE), and I collaborate with Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy for astronomical observations of spatial objects (asteroids, comets, satellites and space debris), processing of CCD images, positional measurements and ephemeris calculation.