Andrés Santamaría, the Chilean engineer who fulfilled his dream of working at NASA


Andres Santamaria He is an example for many Chileans. The engineer in renewable natural resources of the University of Chile fulfilled the dream of many children, youth and adults: work in the POT.

Since 2018, Andrés works in the Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Information Systems Laboratory of the US space agency, an opportunity he longed for and treasures today.

In an interview with El Mostrador, he told what he does in the laboratory: “I dedicate myself to generate products from the information that the satellites send with a little processed level, of low quality, correcting errors so that they become useful information”.

The engineer in renewable natural resources, before arriving at NASA, formed a laboratory with two other colleagues on the use of remote sensing to study the Earth. That experience began to open the doors to his goal.

He counted: “My first contact with satellites was with the Chilean Aerophotogrammetric Service and with the Space Operations Group, because there was just the issue of a Chilean satellite that we helped calibrate, it was the FASat-Charlie”.

After applying for a doctorate at the University of Maryland, where he worked with a professor he met at a conference in Chile, I got the opportunity to work at NASA.

Andres Santamaria

How did Andrés get to NASA?

A project was opened to attract students as researchers, who were linked to a professor. I am now employed by NASA through the University of Maryland”, detailed Santamaría-Artigas.

The Chilean engineer explained how he felt when he received the news of his arrival at the space agency: “I remember that when they told me ‘In two weeks we will all leave the University because we are going to see the NASA laboratory’ it was incredible”.

The fact of working there get up in the morning and come in with my little card that says NASA, It’s like a dream. It was a dream that he had since he was a child”.

Andres Santamaria

Regarding Chile’s advances in science, Andrés explains that his experience in Maryland has allowed him to differentiate the country from the United States in this field: “In Chile there are fewer resources and there is much more competition. There is a lot of financing here, much more, that allows you to do more research, more tests, more studies, have more lines to follow”.

However, he stressed: “In Chile there are incredible researchers, of ultra world renown, it is a very good place to do research. What’s missing are opportunities”.

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