photo of Kenneth Rock

Job Title

Platform Systems Engineer for Iridium Satellite Constellation and Block 1 & NEXT Space Vehicles

Employer

The Boeing Company

Location

Leesburg, VA

Why did you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree?

Ever since I was young, I went to airshows with my family. Once at school, astronauts from the Apollo program came to visit my class. I was interested in aerospace ever since. I even remember getting up early to watch the first launch of the Space Shuttle.

Do you recommend any particular focus for students other than academics to improve themselves as potential candidates for jobs?

Get involved with team or group related activities, anything outside of academics and show that you can work with other people.

Why did you choose one track over the other (atmospheric/space)? Do you feel this has made any difference in your career?

During my undergraduate years, I realized that space was not out of reach - and I have never looked back.

What are your career goals?

Though I currently am working with a low Earth orbit mission, I would like to get into robotic missions that extend beyond Earth.

Who was your most influential ASE or EM professor and why?

My most influential professors were Dr. Wallace Fowler for Mission Design and Analysis and Dr. David Hull for Optimization. Both professors have given me the tools and skills that I use in my work.

What has been your most influential ASE or EM course and why?

Mission Design was perhaps the most fascinating class that I took. It was also the most relevant. Operating Iridium requires me to constantly balance trades of power expenditures, propellant use, attitude performance, orbit constraints, payload availability, planning and ground systems, manpower, time, cost and risk. 

What is one piece of advice you have for our students?

Gain exposure to real space jobs as early as possible through internships or co-ops, so you can formulate a good path to you future career. Aim High.

List three things that most people don't know about you.

  • I play Lacrosse as a defenseman in a rec league.
  • Cars are a hobby.
  • I have a 1975 Cosworth Vega.

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ASE/EM Academy of Distinguished Alumni

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