From Academia to New Space, Diving Into the Realization of Space Optical Communication!

This is the 15th interview with Andrea, the third non-Japanese member of WARPSPACE.

Originally from Italy, Andrea was a researcher who had been working on free-space optical communication since his university days. We asked him why he chose to work for a space startup!

-First of all, please tell us about your responsibilities.

I am currently responsible for technical sales as a member of BizDev. Also, I have been involved in research on space engineering and optical communications, so I am using my expertise to support CTO Nagata.

-How did you become interested in space?

I have been interested in space since I was a child. I spent my childhood observing the sky with a telescope that was given to me as a gift, and I loved watching Science Fiction movies. My interest in space gradually grew, and I decided that I wanted to study space engineering.

When I entered university, I enrolled in a course that allowed me to study space engineering, and during my studies I was able to experience many projects related to space development and technology. I was involved in research on space optical communications during my master’s program and had the opportunity to participate in many space-related projects in collaboration with ESA and universities.

-So, you have had a very fulfilling student life!

In fact, Italian universities have a big difference from Japanese universities in that they allow students to decide when to graduate. I was able to be involved in multiple research projects and programs, and I was able to gain a lot of experience throughout my university career. I graduated in 2021 and worked as an engineer and BizDev member at a spacecraft development company.

-Why did you choose a Japanese space startup?

The biggest reason is that WARPSPACE was a great fit for me.

I was originally looking for a job outside of my home country with an emphasis on working in a job related to New Space, and my first encounter with the company was when I found WARPSPACE’s Linkedin page.

As I researched the company’s business, I realized that the company’s goal of realizing an optical communication network in outer space matched exactly with my experience and what I wanted to challenge myself with, and I remember contacting the company.

I had also experienced karate when I was a student before and had visited Japan for conferences and other events. I was also attracted to and interested in Japanese culture and cityscapes, which helped me make the decision to work for a Japanese space startup.

-What is one aspect of Japanese culture that you particularly like?

I am interested in Japanese history, particularly of the Warring States period which is a period in which warlords and families fought each other for power.

I am especially attracted to the culture of Japanese swords, and I have a sword made in the Taisho period (1912–1926) displayed in my house. Swords from this period have very elaborate decorative designs and are beautiful to look at.

-Your love of Japanese culture were very evident to me.

-Since joining in March, you have been working remotely due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Yes, this interview was also conducted remotely, but as a BizDev member, I think I can do my daily work without any problems even if I am fully remote, especially with customers outside of Japan. However, depending on the situation, I would like to eventually work Japan and create an opportunity to actually communicate face to face.

-Why are you working on BizDev now, given your expertise in optical communications?

Up until now, I have been dealing with technology in the context of academia. Technology development in companies and universities is steadily advancing day by day, and what is not possible now may be possible tomorrow.

I believe that BizDev’s job is to connect such technology with the future and make use of it in society. I believe that this will lead to making space more accessible.

Compass of Behavior

-Finally, what is the “Compass of Behavior” that you value the most?

I would like to choose one, but I think there are two things that are important for a business: “Leap” and “Adventure”.

“Leap” means to leap over things creatively, and I think it is important to implement new ideas without being bound by conventional concepts.

And “Adventure” because we want to enjoy the challenge of overcoming hurdles that stand in front of us.

I want to take on challenges and, to succeed, I want to jump into the next adventure without fear.

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