Reaching beyond the stars

22 Apr 2016

As Graduate On-Board Software Engineer for Airbus Defence and Space, Emile Victor has a burgeoning career in space exploration after securing a position on the ExoMars Rover team.

Since graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Software Systems and Aerospace, Mr Victor has been fixated on working with a large aerospace company and began his career in the Airbus Defence and Space Graduate Program.

Airbus Defence and Space is one of only a handful of players in the space services market, leading the way in innovative space exploration with the robotic investigation of Mars using the ExoMars Rover.

“I help design, build and test the communication protocols and software that allows the planned European Space Agency ExoMars Rover to function and communicate to our teams back on Earth,” Mr Victor said.

“Our day-to-day work is not all that different from most software engineering; we read a lot, think a lot, build, test, rinse and repeat until we have a quality product.

“The only difference is that this product is going to Mars.”

With French heritage coupled with proficiency in the language, Mr Victor was keen to utilise this international perspective in his career. However, growing up and living in Brisbane meant significant personal investment and the courage to back himself when he applied to the European Airbus program.

“It was a 34,000km round trip to get to an interview with no guarantee of a job,” Mr Victor said.

“I had to be on my A-game.”

In the Graduate Program, Mr Victor has had the opportunity to experience placements at other sites around Europe, as well as work in teams that are creating change on a global scale.

“I am enamoured with all the amazing products that our industry produces; products that have even positively impacted my life personally,” Mr Victor said.

“As part of our graduate program we have the chance to do placements on other sites; I chose Toulouse, in the south of France.

“We work with teams all over Europe, which means that language skills and a willingness to travel can be helpful.”

While the south of France sounds inviting, Mr Victor remembers his time at the St Lucia campus fondly and recalls the culture and simple pleasures of being a student.

“I miss being able to stop half way through the afternoon for a drink with friends at Wordsmiths, and making use of the beautiful campus,” he said.

“I would definitely recommend getting involved in societies both at UQ and abroad early on in your university career.

“The social aspect is one of the most valuable things you will get out of your time at UQ, and puts you in a really good position when you graduate.”

Mr Victor is making use of those social networks and reconnecting with our alumni community abroad, where he is one of the Young Alumni representatives in the University’s London chapter.

Alongside his work on the ExoMars Rover project with Airbus, Emile is testing his entrepreneurial skills as the Founder and Chief Technology Officer for the start-up, a service that visualises flight maps, and maintains a database of searchable aviation data.

With such a strong start to his career, Mr Victor may find himself even further from Brisbane if his trajectory continues on the same path.