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Bhutan’s first woman satellite engineer

Oct 15, 2019

Space engineering is globally still considered as a male-dominated profession. However, in Bhutan, Yeshi Choden helped break this stereotype when she became the first woman satellite engineer in the country.

She was also a part of the team who built the country’s first satellite and launched it into space

25 -year-old Yeshi Choden became a space engineer out of curiosity and excitement. She says during her time, it was a completely new course in the country. Currently, she works in the Division of Telecom and Space under the Information and Communications Ministry. Her work involves developing and operating satellites.

In this male-dominated profession, she says she constantly challenges herself to be better and inspire the younger generation.

“I just would like to say that gender view does not really matter in the space engineering field because how much you can contribute to the space programme really depends on how much you know about space and how willing you are to put in the effort. So it really boils down to meritocracy and your intellectual capability.”

Yeshi graduated in civil engineering in 2015 from the National University of Singapore under the King’s scholarship. She excelled in academics and even topped the civil service exams. She then completed her masters in space engineering in 2018 from Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan.

During her training, Yeshi along with three other space engineers deployed Bhutan’s first satellite in August last year.

“We being the first few people to work as space engineers, we had to figure out things by ourselves. Whereas if there was precedence, maybe we could ask for some advice or suggestions. Although it was quite challenging in the beginning, now I think we are quite comfortable and we have learned a lot about space engineering.”

She says she is hopeful of having set a path for all the young dreamers especially girls aspiring to join the field of space engineering. With knowledge in science and mathematics and a bit of hard work, she says anyone can become a space engineer.

“The future is really big for Bhutan, with the support and guidance from His Majesty The King who is the main force behind the space initiative. The space future for Bhutan looks very bright and as metaphorical as it may sound, space is really fast so we have the opportunity to explore Space and utilise space science and technology for the benefit of Bhutanese people,” she added.

At present, there are two female and two male space engineers in the country.


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