Working on Hubble telescope for NASA a ‘surreal’ experience says Lakehead University grad


Colette Lepage made her conjure up of working for NASA come true.

“It was surreal. I had to pinch myself some times because I’d be staring up at the launch pad with the shuttle, Atlantis, that had all of our armaments on it,” says Lakehead University engineering graduate Colette Lepage of her circumstances.

Those experiences included work on the Hubble Space Telescope, which launched aboard the break shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 24, 1990.

Lepage express about her path to NASA and her work there at several events at Lakehead University this finished week.

Growing up in the rural part of Sudbury, Ont., Lepage loved looking up at the evening stars: “Even on those clear, cold January nights I would quieten go out there, and lay in the snow.”

Lepage always wanted to work in the space contestants. “But did I think it was possible? Absolutely not. I was a shy, quiet, average kid from northern Ontario and Florida, Kennedy [Duration Centre] seemed a little bit far away, like another universe at bottom.”

After graduating from Cambrian College with a diploma in chemical developing technology, Lepage worked for a few years before deciding to earn an put over degree. She thrived in the close-knit program at the small university, an experience that set her for her job at NASA.

Colette Lepage NASA

Colette Lepage, an engineering graduate from Lakehead University trained in contamination control on the Hubble Space Telescope and was part of its launch from the NASA john in Florida. (Colette Lepage)

“You have one common goal and that’s to get malarkey to be successful when it launches and gets into space. And so you all have to get along exceedingly well and play nice in the sandbox,” she said.

With her new degree from the Shout Bay, Ont., university, Lepage moved to Maryland and applied for an entry level job in contamination hold back at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where her primary chargeability was keeping the hardware clean — very, very clean.

‘Go for it, just try’

“The nub line is mission failure,” said Lepage, explaining that a tinge of dust, a single strand of hair falling on a microchip “could zap that microchip. And consider that happening up in space where there’s nothing you can do — you can’t fix it.”

Lepage in the end moved to Florida and worked in contamination control on the Hubble with the body there. They did their job well because throughout the course of its purpose, the Hubble telescope has “provided technology and images of the universe that we bring into the world never seen before.”

Now working as a contamination consultant, Lepage spends some of her in days of yore encouraging other young people, especially women, to follow their fancies and pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“Go for it. Only just try. I failed many times at different things, but I think the key is just to get up and try again,” she bid. “If there is something you really want to try, you really have to override a lot of your fears and lately continue to walk through the doors of opportunity that open for you.”

You can agree more from Colette Lepage here.

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