By Ryan Yeung


Odessa Bauer is currently a third year engineering physics student that first joined AlbertaSat back in 2018. Odessa initially heard about AlbertaSat during the Week of Welcome orientation, at a club fair. At the time, she was very interested in outer space and knew that AlbertaSat would be a great opportunity for her. Entering her first year of engineering, she felt intimidated and was hesitant to join right away. However, at the annual first year retreat, she was convinced by Andrew Rooney, AlbertaSat’s current software team lead, to join the group. 


Odessa’s time at AlbertaSat started with her role as a member of the mission design team, formerly known as ConOps. Since then, she has become the team lead for mission design, and has just recently joined the on-board computer team (OBC). On her transition to becoming a team lead, she has described it as one of the greatest accomplishments during her time here at the University of Alberta so far.

Power simulation created using STK

As a team lead, she diligently spends time every other week planning and deciding on what her team members should do in the long-term. Apart from her time planning, she splits up her day to do work amongst both the mission design and OBC teams, typically dedicating ten hours each week in total to AlbertaSat. As of late, Odessa has found herself working on power related projects, like using STK to simulate power generation in solar panels on the satellite, running failure analysis if the solar panels aren’t deploying, and determining the satellite’s operational modes. 

Looking back on her time with the group so far, Odessa appreciates the opportunity provided by AlbertaSat to apply the knowledge she has learned from school in an exciting setting, as well as being grateful for all the friendships she has made along the way. Out of everything she has been involved with in AlbertaSat, Odessa says that the overall atmosphere and experience of being in the command room is unmatched. In particular, she describes the time where she was in the command room trying to make contact with two UCLA satellites, ELFIN 1 and ELFIN 2, as the coolest thing she has ever done in her life. If given the opportunity to revisit her degree or discipline choice, Odessa would not switch to anything else as she loves what she is doing currently and values the trajectory that she has taken within AlbertaSat. In conjunction, if provided the chance to choose a different sub-team within AlbertaSat, Odessa would join the power or communications teams, while also being open to taking on more leadership roles like project management. 


Apart from her time with AlbertaSat and school, Odessa’s biggest hobbies involve biathlon, horseback riding, and music theory. In the past, she had the honour of competing in prestigious biathlon events, most notably, the Alberta Winter Games. As an extension of her love for biathlon, she started being a coach for younger children back in 2018, and is now coaching teenagers and adults alongside the help of a formal biathlon national team member. Odessa is also an active participant within her discipline’s community, taking on the VP social position in the Engineering Physics Club. Engineering physics has always been her biggest interest and she genuinely finds enjoyment in all of the related courses she takes, particularly any classes involving signals. 


Before university, Odessa had a difficult time deciding between astrophysics or engineering but ultimately chose engineering because of the job prospects and for the variety given in first year. During this time, she thought that engineers would mundanely sit at office desks all day, primarily chugging math and performing repetitive tasks. Admittedly, her outlook on engineering has changed completely and she admires the amount of critical thinking that engineering applies. For the future, having AlbertaSat as a foundation, Odessa would ideally work for a space company right after graduation. She doesn’t know how feasible that might be but will surely do everything in her power to make her passion and dream a reality. For those interested in joining AlbertaSat and for new members, the greatest advice she can offer is to disregard any fear that you may have and to not be afraid of doing anything, make a true effort to learn so that you can jump the learning curve faster!