She strides swiftly across the corridor towards the conference room. On her way there, a colleague approaches her and asks her something. “I’ll come to your office at about four,” she says with a smile on her face, enters the conference room and sinks into an office chair. “OK, I’m ready,” she says, smiling. The fact that Ariane Wyen is a power woman is not only evident from her down-to-earth style. The 32-year-old aviation and aerospace engineer is also a force to be reckoned with outside the offices of her employer, OHB System AG, a subsidiary of space and technology group OHB SE.
I definitely wanted to work for a prime contractor
She conveys her passion for space technology on many different levels: presentations at schools and universities, lecture series and not least of all the “DieAstronautin” initiative for which Ariane Wyen applied, hoping to become the first female German astronaut in space.
Her nomination for the “Engineering Powerwoman 2018” award now acknowledges her technical accomplishments. With this award, Deutsche Messe is recognizing for the sixth time a female MINT pioneer who is generating impetus in a company with a technical focus. The award ceremony is taking place on Friday, April 27, 2018, at the fair grounds in Hannover For this reason, Ariane Wyen will be flying from the ILA Berlin 2018 air show, at which OHB is exhibiting, to Hannover and back again.
Even as a child, Ariane Wyen had a penchant for all things technical. Instead of playing with Barbies like other girls her age, the ten-year built her first electrical circuit in her daddy’s workshop. “Obviously, I also had dolls but I much preferred to play with Lego,” she says. It was the action film “Armageddon” in the 1990s that sent her on her destiny to become a space engineer. In this film, the lead actor Bruce Willis attempts to deflect a meteorite that is hurtling towards the earth. “The film definitely played a large role,” she says, laughing. “As well as this, I found rocket launches and astronomy totally cool.” She completed her degree in aviation and aerospace engineering at the University of Stuttgart as well as Kansas University in the United States. After graduating, she more or less came straight to OHB: “I definitely wanted to work for a prime contractor.” With OHB since 2012, she is currently working on SARah, a satellite-based radar reconnaissance system. As the main contact officer for structural analysis and verification, Ariane Wyen is responsible for the development, procurement and verification of the satellite structure. She also makes sure that all electronic satellite components are able to withstand the heavy mechanical load of a rocket launch and are fully operational in orbit.
It would have been a dream come true for me to be the first German female astronaut to fly to space
When she’s not in the office, she pursues her fascination for space and is eager to share her enthusiasm with school and university students as well as the general public. This is because Ariane Wyen is now a public face for OHB thanks to the “DieAstronautin” initiative. “It would have been a dream come true for me to be the first German female astronaut to fly to space,” she says. In 2016, she spent weeks training day in, day out for this dream. Apart from one-and-a-half hours of sport five times a week, she underwent training in such skills as dexterity and logical thinking. “I ultimately flunked the psychological test,” she says, laughing.
However, her colleagues at OHB are pleased that Ariane will be remaining with them on earth. Indeed, she will soon be performing a special mission for OHB. “I will be establishing our first branch office in the Czech Republic and will therefore be commuting between Bremen and Brno,” she says. At OHB Czechspace s.r.o., the 32-year-old will be helping to establish the space industry in the Czech Republic. “I think that it is incredibly exciting to be able to start up a company from scratch. This reminds me of the early days at OHB when satellites were built by only 30 people,” she says. However, Bremen will remain her main home.