Rocket Woman
Christina Sfedu ’12 helps navigate new frontiers at SpaceX
by Eveline Chao

At her first job after Bucknell, with Boeing, Christina Sfedu ’12 worked on a satellite that was launched into space on a rocket. Now with the space transportation company SpaceX, she’s helping launch that same rocket into space herself. It might sound like fate, but Sfedu admits her choice to work for Boeing in Los Angeles was based on a whim: “I picked it based on location,” she says with a laugh.

At Boeing, Sfedu was a lead telemetry and command systems engineer, designing the system that allows operators on the ground to talk to a satellite while it orbits around the Earth.

Christina Sfedu ’12
Photo: Malcolm Gibson
Christina Sfedu ’12 enjoys the California lifestyle with her dog, Ollie.

Three years later, she joined SpaceX as a senior telemetry engineer. The role involves recording and transmitting data about the internal functioning of rockets, so the data can be monitored and analyzed later. A career highlight was working on the now-famous launch of a Tesla car currently orbiting the sun in space (launched in 2018 as the payload on a test flight). She’s also helped test spacesuits for the company, and recently became a firmware engineer, helping write the software for a much larger rocket that will eventually transport people to Mars.

An electrical engineering major, Sfedu hopes to inspire more women to become engineers. “I love getting to work with the other smart and talented women at SpaceX and participate in the Women’s Network at work,” she says.

“Women bring a diverse set of ideas to an engineering problem space and can often offer a fresh perspective,” Sfedu says. “I think that continuing to shift the culture toward building young women’s confidence in math and science will help to drive away the gender gap in STEM careers.”