Rafael Monardez

This is a photo of Rafael Monardez.
“I can't help getting deep into a difficult problem — and the fact that I'm working on real-world space problems for the benefit of national security makes it that much more rewarding to me.

What work do you do at Lincoln Laboratory?

My job as an analyst primarily involves tracking, identifying, and analyzing objects in Earth’s orbit in order to help the U.S. government maintain space situational awareness. I also observe space launches and perform analysis in real time. Lately, I have been more focused on operating our radars at the Lincoln Space Surveillance Complex in Westford in order to learn how they operate and therefore be better able to communicate my needs as an analyst to the radar operators who collect much of our data.

Where are you originally from?

I was born in Huixquilucan, Mexico, but I grew up all over the place — Mexico City; Houston, Texas; and Barcelona, Spain, before moving back to Texas for high school and New York for college. It was hectic moving around so often, but I think it's made me a more well-rounded and mindful individual — for which I'm very grateful.

What has been a standout achievement in your career at the Laboratory?

I think the first one that comes to mind is using an early version of the code I’ve been developing to come up with a strong solution for a launch in February 2021 that put a satellite into a weirder orbit than usual, and then seeing the more experienced analysts come up with solutions that agreed with mine. I always love seeing something I’ve created in action and working how it should. It makes me more determined to keep developing it and keep solving problems with it.