The Sky's No Limit
As an undergrad at Embry-Riddle, engineering student Marcos Dominguez is already making an impact on the aerospace industry at SpaceX.
Since high school, Marcos Dominguez (‘23) wanted to be an engineer. His interest in cars, airplanes and “anything you could drive or pilot” led him to pursue his dreams at ERAU’s Inland Empire Worldwide campus in California where he is pursuing his online engineering degree.
“I wanted to improve mechanical and aeronautical parts for vehicles."
When it came to selecting a school to pursue his degree, Marcos chose Embry-Riddle because of its influence in the aerospace industry, and he appreciates the expertise his professors bring to the table. He particularly enjoyed his technical writing class where his group project involved creating a presentation for NASA “to produce and design solar arrays or power-producing solar panels for the South Pole of the moon for the Artemis program.”
This California native had previously moved to Tennessee to work on planes and Chinook helicopters, but when the opportunity arose to work at SpaceX, he headed back west where he is currently a Propulsion Technician who “prepares, tests and assembles major components for the Merlin engine,” which is what powers the rockets that launch the Falcon vehicles into space.
His work entails assembly and measurement down to the ten-thousandths, as well as balancing components. It’s “just nuts and bolts, but these nuts and bolts are part of a rocket engine.”
As launches have increased over the last year, so has the demand to produce parts, which can be challenging. However, the rewards are immeasurable.
“The most rewarding thing is actually watching the launch that I know I had hands on; and then watching the rocket come back down and land.”
Marcos has a drive to succeed.
“When I have a vision that I want to accomplish something, nothing stands in my way.”
He also stressed the importance of a support system.
“Make sure you surround yourself with supportive people; people who have goals to actually improve their lives.”
His advice to his fellow and future online learners is to “always make time for what you want to do. Once you start thinking you don’t have time, you start to shut down; but if you always make time, then you can do whatever you want.”
He also wants to encourage those who may feel it’s too late to pursue their degree.
“If you’re worried about how old you’ll be when you get that degree, that age is gonna come regardless. So, you’re either gonna be older with a degree or without a degree.”
Wise advice from a man whose dream is to hopefully continue his journey with SpaceX as an engineer either in production or design once he graduates. With a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering from Embry-Riddle along with his drive to succeed, there’s no doubt he is well on his way to achieving that dream.