Katarzyna Sidlo – project coordinator at Blue Dot Solutions
Katarzyna, or as we all call her, Kasia, is a project coordinator who is always ready to help when it is needed. That is why it is easy to work with her. She is also relatively new to the space sector.
It all started back in 2014, when a colleague in Arabic and Islamic studies approached her one day at a conference and asked if she was interested in participating in this new project of his. He was looking into ways in which space-based solutions could be used for water management in Jordan (the project was commissioned by the European Space Agency and the European Investment Bank). She had just come back from Jordan and was working on the political economy of the MENA region anyway, so she thought, why not? Sure enough, today she is still working with this very same colleague in the Warsaw office of Blue Dot Solutions.
You mentioned Arabic and Islamic studies?
Well, learning Arabic definitely was good training for my brain and memory! But on a serious note, having a rather atypical background for someone working in the space sector – I have a degree in Arabic and Islamic studies and economics – has a lot of advantages. My perspective on many issues is less technical but quite interdisciplinary, which on numerous occasions allowed me to find outside-the-box solutions for pressing problems and see new angles to challenges.
I suppose I chose Arabic and Islamic studies the same way I chose to work in the space sector – I started by pure chance but continued because I got fascinated by the field and wanted to learn more.
What fascinates you in the space sector?
Space is key to understanding our planet, our universe, the very question of how (and potentially why) life developed on Earth. Pondering concepts such as anti-matter or big bang theory comprises thinking about what “nothing” or “infinity” mean. Studying space can be a very down-to-earth exercise but it is quite philosophical at the same time.
What do you like the most about the space sector?
For me, one of the most amazing things about the space sector is that it affects our daily lives in ways that we don’t even realize most of the time. For instance, GPS (which functions thanks to satellites circling Earth’s orbital paths) made getting from point A to point B unprecedentedly easier. I can’t imagine travelling, especially to an unknown city or country, without it anymore!
What is your first memory of HATCH?
Unfortunately, I was not a part of the team working on the proposal. But I remember when I was first told about this idea by my colleagues from Blue Dot Solutions; the first thing that popped into my mind was: “This would make my job sooo much easier!” To have this kind of one-stop-shop will be extremely helpful for professionals – and hopefully really interesting for everyone else who is into space.
What do you think HATCH will mean to stakeholders?
HATCH will help lots of people in their day-to-day work by virtue of gathering all (or at least most) of the information they need in one place and serving it in a user-friendly, pleasant-to-the-eye form.
From the non-professional’s perspective, it will be a place where one can find relevant, fact-based and reliable information on everything related to space. In the age of “fake news” this cannot be overestimated!
What are your favourite HATCH features so far?
I especially like the idea of networks but reckon the Quick Knowledge section has huge potential as well.
Which was/is/will be the most exciting part of the project?
Testing the portal once we have the beta version.
What do you think about the HATCH consortium?
We complement each other’s skills and competences greatly and coordinating this team is a true pleasure. I’ve never worked with such a disciplined consortium before!