Dr. Leon Alkalai is a recently retired Technical Fellow of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology where he spent 32 years after getting his PhD at UCLA in 1989.
During his career at JPL, Dr. Alkalai held numerous leadership positions and was responsible for the capture leadership of both the GRAIL mission to the Moon (2007) and the INSIGHT lander on Mars (2012). For both efforts, Dr. Leon Alkalai received Distinguished Individual Achievement medals from NASA in 2011 and 2019 respectively. Dr. Alkalai was also heading up JPL strategic partnerships and strategic planning for the Laboratory. In early 2021, Dr. Alkalai retired from JPL and created Mandala Space Ventures, a space-focused, Pasadena-based incubator for new start-ups in the emerging space economy. Leon is also the General Partner at the Explorer-1 Venture Fund which is also affiliated with the Mandala space incubator. Recently, Mandala launched its first new venture called Continuum Space Systems, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company for the emerging digital space economy.
In his capacity as a Senior Director of the Remote Sensing Department in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), Adnan and his team are responsible for all downstream activities of MBRSC space missions. This includes the Ground Networks Operations and maintenance, Missions Operations, data processing, applications and value-added products development, Interfacing with the end users; locally and internationally, as well as commercializing MBRSC products and services.
In addition, Adnan is the Program Manager of Mars 2117, working on setting up the strategy and leading initiatives to build a settlement on Mars and send human to Mars by 2117.
Adnan has published and presented a number of papers in the areas of remote sensing and satellite image applications. He holds a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering from Khalifa University, Sharjah, UAE.
Josef Aschbacher, of Austrian nationality, is a geophysicist by education. He joined ESA in 1990. Throughout his career he held various positions in different locations. He also worked for the European Union. In 2016 he became ESA’s Director of Earth Observation, and in 2021 he took office as ESA’s Director General.
He began his career in ESA in 1990 as a Young Graduate at ESRIN. From 1991 to 1993 he was seconded as ESA Representative to Southeast Asia to the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand, where he initiated major cooperation programmes between the EC, ESA and Southeast Asia.
From 1994 to 2001 he worked at the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, where he was the Scientific Assistant to the Director of the Space Applications Institute, being responsible for scientific strategy and resource allocation. He returned to ESA headquarters, in Paris, in 2001 as Programme Coordinator, where he was primarily responsible for advancing Copernicus within ESA.
In 2006 he became Head of the Copernicus Space Office, located at ESRIN near Rome, Italy, where he led all activities for Copernicus within the agency and with external partners, in particular the European Commission.
In 2014, he was promoted to Head of Programme Planning and Coordination at ESRIN, where he was responsible for planning ESA’s Earth Observation programmes and for formulating and implementing programmatic and strategic decisions across the Directorate.
In 2016, Josef Aschbacher was appointed as Director of Earth Observation Programmes, ESA’s largest Directorate, and as Head of ESRIN, ESA’s centre for Earth observation. Under his leadership, Europe developed the world’s leading Earth observation programme, which includes all Sentinel missions as part of the EU-led Copernicus programme, all meteorological missions for Eumetsat and the Earth Explorer, Scout and phi-sat missions developed for ESA Member States. In 2020, a total of 40 satellites were under development and ESA disseminated the world’s largest Earth observation data volumes.
Fabrizio Battazza has gained 20 years of experience in the Space sector, in ASI since 2002, now with the role of Head of the Relations with ESA.
He has a strong background on Earth Observation, graduated from Sapienza University of Rome with a degree in Physics on Middle atmosphere sounding using an elastic scattering LIDAR during the daytime: development of a high spectral resolution receiver; in 2001 he joined the European Space Agency working on the Lidar instrument of EarthCARE space mission, moving to ASI in 2002 to be part of the COSMO-SkyMed Program Office and later on hyperspectral payload responsible of the PRISMA space missions.
He was member of the Copernicus Committee and advisor to Italian Head of delegation to EUMETSAT Council. He is delegate to ESA Program Board of Earth Observation since 2011 and today Vice-Chair, since 2021 he is delegate to ESA Council.
President of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) from 2014 to 2018.
Chair of the Scientific Committee of the NSE ExpoForum.
Member of the ESA high-level advisory group on “Accelerating the use of space in Europe”.
President of the INFN National Committee for Astroparticle Physics (2009-2014).
Currently, Board Member of the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK).
Among several Advisory Boards, member of the E. Amaldi Foundation Advisory Board.
Irene Benito is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Government at Planet. Prior to joining Planet, Irene managed the Copernicus programme at EIT RawMaterials (a body of the EU) and also worked as a policy analyst at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.
Irene has been appointed as an Earth Observation Evangelist at the European Forum for Earth Observation, acting as a spokesperson for the European EO sector. She holds a Masters degree in Economics from the London School of Economics (UK).
Michal Brichta is a co-founder of the newly-established Slovak Space Office and the head of its Industry Branch working under the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO).
His team works to support the further development of the Slovak space sector and its internationalisation with a focus on full utilisation of the country’s strong industrial and R&D potential as well as on the 21st century‘s newspace trends. It is also the official national contact point for foreign space agencies, offices, associations as well as businesses and research entities. Michal Brichta studied in Moscow and Singapore and has a background in international relations, international business, and public policy.
Maria Fabrizia Buongiorno, graduated in Geological Sciences at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1988. She has more than 30 years of experience in the field of EO missions and data processing for environmental and natural hazards applications.
She started her professional career in the Telespazio Company working in the Earth Observation Division. She worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory between 1990 and 1991 in the “Earth Science” Division for the analysis of infrared and hyperspectral data for volcanic applications. Since 1992 she is researcher at INGV. Her current position is Director of Technological Research, and coordinator of the INGV Center for Space Observations of the Earth (COS).
In June 2021 she has been appointed by the Italian Space Agency as President of E -GEOS (Telespazio / ASI company). She has a long collaboration with ASI and other Space Agencies as member of Scientific Advisory Boards to define the requirements for new space missions aimed at improving understanding of the processes terrestrial and climate change. Since 2013 she has been co-chair with USGS of the Earth Science “Working Group under the bilateral agreement USA-ITALY in Science and Technology, and coordinate the MoU between INGV and Italian Ministry of Foreign Affair (MAECI).
Ugo Celestino works as Policy Officer in DG DEFIS (Directorate General Defence Industry and Space) of the European Commission. He is in charge of R&D and support to start-ups & SMEs with the CASSINI initiative, part of the EU Space Programme, that includessatellite navigation (EGNOS/Galileo), Earth observation (Copernicus), secure connectivity & communication, space situational awareness (SSA) and dual-use synergies.
For EGNOS/Galileo, between 2007-19, beyond dealing with innovation, he managed downstream applications and international relationships with EU southern neighborhood/Middle East. His previous managerial experience in the private sector started in 1994, in the consumer goods, then strategy consulting, finally in the Internet/ICT sector, where he first established the local operation of a USA company listed on Nasdaq, then launched two new ventures. He holds a degree in economics from Bocconi university (Milan, Italy) and an MBA from INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France).
Maurizio Cheli was born in Modena, Italy, on May 4th 1959. In 1978 he entered the Accademia Aeronautica di Pozzuoli (Italian Air Force Academy) where he earned a degree in Aeronautical Sciences. In 1983 he was assigned to the well-known F-104G as an operational reconnaissance pilot, and in 1988 he graduated first at the Empire Test Pilot’s School course in Boscombe Down, United Kingdom, hence becoming a test and experimental pilot of high-performance aircraft.
In 1996 he took part in the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-75 Tethered Satellite mission, in which he was assigned the role of Mission Specialist. In the same year, Alenia Aeronautica hired him and he was assigned as Chief Test Pilot for defence aircraft. He was the head of the operational development of the European fighter Eurofighter Typhoon as well.
In 2005 he established CFM Air, a start-up focused on the design of advanced light aircrafts, and in 2006 he founded DigiSky, a company specialized in the development of on-board electronics for sports aircrafts.
Maurizio Cheli earned a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1994 from the University of Houston, US, a Degree in Political Sciences from the University of Turin, Italy, and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from ESCP Europe in Paris in 2007.
On May 17th 2018 he summited Mount Everest,the highest mountain in the world. Currently is a board member of ASI (Italian Space Agency) and member of the board of directors of CIRA (Italian Center for Aerospace Research).
“Tutto in un istante” (Everything in a moment) is the title of his first book.
Simonetta Cheli is the Head of Strategy, Programme & Coordination Office, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France and the appointed Director of Earth Observation at ESA and Head of ESRI.
Her role involves coordinating ESA relations with the European Union, the European Commission and with various other European entities, including Meteorological Organisations (Eumetsat, ECMWF and ESA Member States). She is responsible for Coordinating the Director’s Office and supporting him and the Earth Observation Directorate in the preparation of Council meetings, Ministerial meetings, high level international conferences (e.g. COP, UN) and in coordinating bilateral and multilateral relations of the Earth Observation Directorate (CEOS, GEO, Charter). She is also responsible of communication activities (launch campaigns, exhibits, VIP visits etc.).
Simonetta Cheli has been a member of the European Commission GMES Advisory Committee and ESA joint undertaking Working Groups on communication on Galileo. She is also a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Earth Observations Committee. She often participates in numerous TEBS for ESA, is a technical expert for some ESA studies (e.g. space contribution to the European Defense and Security Policy study) and is a member of ESA’s Portugal / Greece Task Force and a regular professor in Master Courses on Space (e.g. Sioi Master of Space Policy). She is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Institute for International Affairs (IAI).
Her career in ESA began in 1988, working at ESA HQ, Paris in the International Relations Division and then moving into Strategy. She progressed to Head of Public and Institutional Relations Office, transferring to ESA ESRIN, Frascati in 1999 where she was responsible for institutional relations with Italy, Spain and Portugal and communication activities and has been in the Directorate of Earth Observation since 2007.
Prior to this she worked in the European Commission in the Cabinet of the Commissioner responsible for Information, Culture and Communication.
She has had numerous publications in International Space, Aeronautics, International and Strategic Politics, International journals on Space issues and telecommunication. She was Chairman of EURISY Programme Committee Working Group and is currently a member of various International committees (ISPRS, IAF) and some European Commission Working Groups (Horizon 2020).
She was awarded many international prices and awards.
She holds a degree in Political Sciences with a specialisation in International Law and obtained a Master degree at the Diplomatic and Strategic Institute in Paris (CEDS), France where she did a thesis on International Law of Telecommunication Satellites, doing research at the UN in New York.
She speaks Italian, English, French, Spanish and German.
Massimo Claudio Comparini, former CEO at eGeos since 2016 and Director Line of Business Geo Information at Telespazio, has a long and proven track record in space industry, from technology to services, and in the earth observation domain.
Massimo holds a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering, Remote Sensing and Radar Systems, University of Rome La Sapienza (Italy), and a Degree in Strategy from Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, CA (USA). He started his career in 1983 at Selenia Spazio (later Alenia Spazio), holding various management positions, up to the role of Chief Technology Officer. In 2013 he was appointed CTO of Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%).
In 2016 he became the CEO of eGeos, an ASI (20%) and Telespazio (80%) company, an established international leader in the Earth Observation and Geo-Spatial Information, and, in his role, Chairman of GAF and EarthLab Luxembourg. He is also an expert member on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Advanced Studies, Research and Development in Sardinia (CSR4).
Andrew Court received a Ph.D in High Energy Astrophysics Instrumentation from Southampton University, UK in 1987.
He joined TNO, NL in 1998 and was been involved in many EO remote sensing projects primarily for atmospheric trace gas measurement missions. He is now the Business Director for Space and Scientific Instrumentation and EU coordinator for Unit Industry at TNO. Dr. Court is also the chair of the EARTO Space working group and is a corresponding member in the International Academy of Astronautics.
On 16 October 2020, Rodrigo da Costa took up his duties as Executive Director of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), formerly the European GNSS Agency (GSA). Prior to this, he was the Galileo Services Programme Manager from March 2017.
Before joining the GSA, Rodrigo da Costa held several senior project managements, business development, and institutional key account management positions in the space industry, in the areas of human space flight, exploration, launchers and R&D.
Rodrigo da Costa holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the “Instituto Superior Tecnico” in Lisbon, a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Delft, and an MBA from the EuroMBA consortium of Business Schools.
Michael Davis is Chair of The Andy Thomas Space Foundation, an Australian not for profit dedicated to supporting space education and outreach, incorporated in July 2020.
He is also a Director of Smart CRC Limited and a former Chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia.
He holds the degrees of Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide, Australia and Master of Science (Space Studies) from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France.
He practised law in Australia for 41 years, retiring from legal practice in 2014.
His volunteer service in the space sector includes five years as Chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia and 20 years’ membership of the Board of that organisation.
He proposed Adelaide as the host of the International Astronautical Congress which was held in 2017, and chaired the Congress Local Organising Committee for that event. He was a leading advocate for the establishment of the Australian Space Agency, an Australian Government decision announced at the Congress.
He also played a key role in organising a number of International Space University programs and courses in Australia including the establishment of the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program which is held annually in Adelaide.
In 2019 he was honoured with an appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia for ‘distinguished service to the space industry as an advocate, and to science education.’
Rolf Densing has been working in the space sector for more than 25 years. He graduated with a doctorate in physics from the University of Bonn in 1988. After completing his studies at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, he began his scientific career as Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, USA.
From 1992 to 1995, he worked as a project manager in the space science programme of the former German space agency DARA (now DLR, the German Aerospace Center). Among other things, he worked on a series of scientific missions with the German Astro-SPAS platform, which flew on several Space Shuttle missions.
In 1996, Rolf Densing took on a managerial role as US Representative in the DARA/DLR Washington Office, then three years later he moved to DLR headquarters in Cologne as Head of the Executive Office. From 2003 onwards, he headed the ESA Affairs department at the DLR Space Administration until the DLR Senate appointed him Director of Programmes in 2009.
Before joining ESA, Rolf Densing was the Director of Space Programmes at the DLR Space Administration, where he was responsible for Germany’s involvement in the ESA’s research, technology and infrastructure programmes. He contributed to national space strategy at programmatic and policy level, including the evolution of space operations centres in Germany.
Since 1 January 2016, he has been Director of Operations (D/OPS), and Head of the European Space Operations Centre, in Darmstadt, Germany.
As a graduate in information management and cooperate communication. He is a board member of FININC group, as well as CEO OF Sipal Spa, president of Sipal Penco Srl.
CEO of Batasiolo Spa, CEO of Boscareto Resort Srl. CEO of Transalp Aviation Srl and CEO of VIS Scpa.
Director General of the European Space Agency from 2003 to 2015. Director of Launchers from 2001 to 2003. Director of Strategy and Technical Assessment from 1999 to 2001.
Currently, among several Advisory Boards, chair of the Advisory Board of the Foundation E. Amaldi.
Olivier Dubuisson began his career in 1989 as a Microelectronic engineer with Thales before holding various technical sales positions with major high-tech industrial groups (IER, Radiall). In 1997, he became Marketing and Sales Director of Aqsacom, a telecommunications company specializing in network management.
In 2001 he co-founded Karista a Venture Capital management company dedicated to early-stage high tech companies.
The company manages 220 M€ and has financed more than 85 companies including DBV Technologies (Nasdaq), Sequans Communication (NYSE), Nanobiotix (Euronext) or Kynogon (acquired by Autodesk).
He holds a degree in microelectronics engineering from the University of Bordeaux and an MBA from IAE Paris Sorbonne.
He is also a Guest lecturer at HEC since 2015.
Ambassador Sorin Dumitru Ducaru is the Director of the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) since June 2019. He has previously held the position of NATO Assistant Secretary General and Head of the NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division, as well as the positions of Romania’s ambassador to NATO, USA and to the UN in New York. He also assumed various positions in the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) such as: spokesperson of the MFA, director of the Minister’s Office and head of the Directorate for NATO and Strategic Issues.
Ambassador Ducaru’s professional background reflects a quite rare blend of technical and political studies. He is holding degrees in Applied Electronics & Computer Studies (BS, Bucharest Polytechnic University), Political Science & International Relations (M.Phil, University of Amsterdam) and International Economic Relations and Institutional Management (Ph.D, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest). He has been intensely engaged intellectually and professionally bridging the technology-policy gap and the impact of technology upon security.
Ambassador Ducaru has been also engaged in academic and scientific activity, as associate or guest lecturer at the National University for Political Studies (Bucharest, Romania), NATO Defence College (Rome, Italy), Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (Cambridge, USA), Leiden University (Netherlands).
He is the Honorary Chairman of the Scientific Board of the New Strategy Center (Bucharest), European Council of Foreign Relations Member, Advisory Board Member of Digital Society Institute (Berlin), the NATO Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (Tallin), Special Advisor to the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (The Hague) and former Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute (Washington DC).
In 2002, Ambassador Ducaru was awarded the title of “Ambassador of the Year” by the Romanian MFA and, in 2008, the rank of Knight of the National Order “The Star of Romania” by the president of Romania. He is married and has two teenage children.
Mirko Ermini, born in 1977, graduated in Electronic Engineering at the University of Florence, obtaining full marks and honors.
Since 2004, he has developed his professional skills in the Engineering area at the Italian headquarters of GE Transportation, holding various roles in national and international projects.
Hired in 2016 in the Italian Railway Network, he works at the Research and Development facility and is currently responsible for Innovative Research.
Maria Cristina Falvella is an astrophysicist with 30 years of experience in space science and leading space programmes. She studied and taught at Sapienza University of Rome and at ENS in Paris.
Her activity ranges from space programs to industrial policy dossiers. Former Chair of the Industry Policy Committee of ESA, she represented Italy in discussions over the space agenda at the highest level in Europe, contributed to building international collaborations and brought forward Italian companies and talents in the space sector. Maria Cristina Falvella is the General Inspector of the Italian Space Agency, where she has worked for over 20 years, and the President of E. Amaldi Foundation.
Marco Ferrazzani is the Chief Legal Counsel at the European Space Agency, based at its headquarters in Paris, France.
His broad policy and advisory work encompasses legally structured instruments for the funding of European space programmes and in-space operations, as well as providing a full range of advice in public, private and financial law.
As ESA Legal Counsel, he is advisor to the ESA Director General and manages an international team of lawyers qualified in all areas relevant to space programmes, including interpretation of the ESA Convention, regulations, national legislation, as well as legal, policy and regulatory instruments to develop the space sector.
Marco Ferrazzani has led numerous ESA negotiations of international space agreements, advising on landmark space projects in cooperation with governments and institutions such as NASA and other space agencies and operators.
He has been acting in space advocacy and representing European sector interests at international conferences such as IAC, UNIDROIT or UNCOPUOS.
Marco Ferrazzani holds a doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of Naples and attended postgraduate law courses at Harvard and Georgetown Universities. He has authored over 100 conference and journal publications and is regularly invited to take part in panel discussions and give academic lectures on the laws applicable to outer space.
He is a Board Member of the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL), of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) and for the German Journal of Air and Space Law.
He has been awarded the honorific title of Cavaliere (Knight) by the President of the Italian Republic. He speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish.
Lorenzo is the founder and CEO of AIKO, a deep-tech company specialized in the development of AI and automation technologies for the automation of spacecraft operations. Under his guidance, the company grew to over 20 employees and established itself as a leading company for upstream space AI applications, with over €5m raised so far.
He holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at Politecnico di Torino, Italy, with a thesis on Artificial Intelligence to enhance Small Satellites Mission Autonomy (2017).
Jake has been part of the Space Agency since 2016, having joined from the Ministry of Defence. In his current role as head of Space Surveillance and Tracking Jake leads a mixed team of technical and policy staff responsible for tracking satellites and space debris to minimise the costly risk of orbital collisions. Jake also leads the UK’s national programme to remove debris from orbit and provides advice to European and international discussions on space sustainability and traffic management.
Jake’s previous UK Space Agency role was head of national spaceflight policy, where Jake worked with companies, government departments and domestic agencies to establish the UK’s first spaceports and space launch vehicles.
Jake’s career before the UK Space Agency saw him taking several roles in MOD and the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory. His work has included advising the MOD Operations Directorate on scientific issues during operations in Syria, Iraq, Libya and the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. He has worked in a similar role at the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ), providing analytical and scientific advice on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Jake has completed three tours of Afghanistan as a scientific advisor or analyst in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He joined the civil service in 2009, following a career in market research. Prior to this Jake graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in Psychology.
Mariella Graziano was born in a small village in the South of Italy. She studied Aerospace Engineering at University of Rome La Sapienza. It has been most likely the desire of pursuing the understanding of how thinks really work to make her deciding to be an engineer.
Mariella started her professional career working for a small Italian technology related company, TER. In 1996 she moved to The Netherlands working for the European Space Agency in the area of space system engineering and simulation. Later on she moved to Spain working for GMV in the area of mission and space system analysis as well as GNC and robotics. Within GMV Mariella assumed different technical and managerial responsibilities. In 2007 she was appointed as Executive Director of a newly created Business Unit handling Space Segment and Robotics activities. From May 2021 she is responsible for the GMV’s International Strategy Coordination and Business Development within the Space Systems and Robotics domains.
She is member of the IAA Academy and affiliate and chairman of many international associations. Among those, Women In Aerospace Europe, IAC Exploration Committee, Planetary Defence Committee, Global Exploration Committee, etc.
She is very active in the area of STEAM and very involved in supporting young generation sane education. She is professor within the Master of Desarrollo Directivo para Mujeres STEAM from the Universiy Computense of Madrid.
She is daughter of great parents, wife of a unique man and mother of two wonderful boys,. She loves mountains and Moon. She is active in different artistic fields, mostly sculpture, painting and music.
Juan Tomás HERNANI, CEO in SATLANTIS, is a nuclear engineer, MSc in advanced manufacturing and economist, whose academic life has been developed in the University of Bilbao, Cranfield Institute in the UK and The University of Florida.
The company is chaired by Jean-Jacques Dordain, it is invested by ENAGAS, several Spanish ministries (economy, science and industry), the regional government and a pension fund.
SATLANTIS is the leader producer of miniaturized cameras that arrive at 50cm resolution, provide infrared coverage and multispectral capabilities.
Juan Tomas was viceminister of science and president of Cdti, DG of a large international food company, founder and CEO of a 700 engineers digital services company, board member of listed companies, head of expert groups for the EU and professor of Industrial Innovation.
He is an amateur opera singer.
Together with Professor Rafael Guzman and exMinister Cristina Garmendia, they created SATLANTIS in 2013. Today the company hosts 5 flight missions from JAXA, NASA and ESA, 2 of which are owned EO microsatellites, URDANETA (2m resolution) and GEISAT (Methane emissions detection).
Aarti Holla-Maini has been Secretary General of the ESOA since 2004. She is a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space, the WEF Global 5G Coalition Network and the WEF Essential Digital Infrastructure & Services Network.
Under Aarti’s leadership, ESOA & its member CEOs lead the effort to showcase the benefits of satellite communications for a more inclusive and secure society – vital to bridging the world’s digital divide, achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and realizing the 5G ecosystem.
Since joining the association, Aarti has led the expansion of ESOA from a European association to one that represents the interests of 22 global and regional satellite operators. She reports directly to their Chief Executives.
Aarti has 23 years’ experience in the aerospace industry, starting at Daimler-Benz Aerospace/EADS (now Airbus) in Germany. In 2000, she moved to Brussels, representing Airbus interests in the European satellite navigation program: Galileo.
Aarti holds a Masters of Business Administration from HEC, France & Stern Business School, NYC, USA. She qualified as Solicitor of the Supreme Court in the UK in 1995, holding a 2:1 graded LLB Hons Law with German Law degree from King’s College, University of London & the University of Passau, Germany. She is also an alumnus of the International Space University. Aarti is of British-Indian origin and holds British and Belgian nationalities. She lives in Brussels, has 3 children and speaks 5 languages.
Diane has experience in government, academia, and industry. She served as Former Chief Counsel for Space Commerce at the Department of Commerce where she provided space law expertise to the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) and the Department of Commerce as a whole and participated extensively in interagency work. She was pivotal in the implementation of Space Policy Directive-3 and is an internationally recognized SME in space traffic management.
Diane has long been an advocate for and advocate of transdisciplinary learning, particularly in STEM related disciplines. She has developed and taught courses as an adjunct professor and non-resident scholar at UT Austin’s School of Law and the Strauss Center for International and Security Studies’ Space Security and Safety program. Prior, Diane developed the policy/law tracks and core curriculum for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Commercial Space Operations undergraduate degree program, where she served as professor for many years. Diane participated in the UN COPUOS Long Term Sustainability work as a private sector advisor to the U.S. Department of State. Before law school and her commitment to responsible space activities, Diane spent years in the fashion industry.
Stefano Iannitti is Head of Security at EUSPA (European Union Space Programme Agency) since October 2015. He has been an active contributor to the development of security in the European Union Global Navigation Satellite Systems since 2003.
He is contributing to the development of the security aspects of the EU Space Programme, like GOVSATCOM. Prior to his current role, Mr Iannitti was the GNSS Security and Standards Manager at the GSA between 2014 and 2015, in charge of the management of the security requirements of both the Galileo and EGNOS programmes. Previously, he worked at the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana where he was appointed as Head of Galileo PRS Unit. From 2007 to 2011 he worked at the GSA as Security Accreditation Officer for the establishment of the Galileo security accreditation process and of the Security Accreditation Board for European GNSS systems. Mr Iannitti holds a Master degree in IT and Network Security, a PhD in Systems Engineering and a Degree in Computer Engineering from “La Sapienza” University of Rome.
Catherine Kavvada was born in Greece in 1969. A trained lawyer with a degree in Law from the Univeristy of Athens, she is specialised in Air and Space Law with a Masters degree from the Univerity of Aix Marseille III.
Ms Kavvada joined the European Commission, in Brussels, in 1997 and worked initially in the Research Framework Programmes.
Subsequently, as from 2000 her main service at the Commisssion related to space, in particular the European flagship Satellite Navigation Programmes Galileo and EGNOS (Head of Unit from 2011 to 2019 at DG GROW).
Her mandate continued in the realm of development and applications in the space sector as Head of Unit in the newly created DG DEFIS in January 2020, until her appointment as Director at the same DG as from 1 December 2020.
The career path of Ms Kavvada comprises various areas and stages of policy formulation, legislative and budgetary decision-making, delivery of large-scale space programmes including their security governance, international relations, communication, and human resources management.
Currently the mandate of Ms Kavvada at the Directorate ‘Innovation and Outreach ’ at DG DEFIS comprises new space initiatives with prevalent resilience and security features, space data management policy with reinforced European credentials, mainstreaming of the European New Space as a vector for society and economy, space research, synergies between space and defence industry, and international relations and communication for the whole of DG DEFIS.
Juliette Lambin is the head of the Science – Exploration – Observation Department in the directorate for Innovation, Applications and Science at CNES. She is also the Chair of ESA’s Programme Board for Earth Observation.
She graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in 1997, and obtained a PhD in Geophysics in 2001. After 4 years as a Postoctoral Scholar at Caltech and NASA/JPL, she joined CNES in 2005 as project scientist for altimetry missions. She then held various position in Earth Observation related fields, either on the technical side (altimetry, radar processing, mission design) or on the programmatics (ocean, then EO programme manager).
Veronica loves when knowledge and business get together to pursue innovation for the benefit of humankind.
Before to join to Nanoracks she was Strategy and Business Development officer at RHEA, and appointed at the European Space Agency (ESA) – ESTEC as Business Innovation Expert of the Commercial Partnerships’ initiative for space exploration in the Directorate of Human Space Flight and Robotic Exploration.
Previously worked for the ESA – Technology Transfer Programme Office, Department of International Relations of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Even before worked at the European Space Policy Institute in Vienna, at the International Space University in Strasbourg, Telespazio SpA in Rome, Wave Energy Centre in Lisbon and as researcher at different universities in Europe and in the USA. She has been a climate-KIC coach since 2012. Veronica holds a Master Degree in System Engineering from Electronic Engineering Department, a Master Degree in Space
Policy, and a full Graduation in Law. She also pursued PhD Studies in Economics.
In 2017 she has been awarded as Leader by the Italian Branch of the Business Professional Women Network.
In 2021 she has been received the Masaniello 2021 Award as a talent over the Globe.
Franco Malerba is he First Italian Astronaut; aboard the space shuttle Atlantis was the mission scientist of the first Tethered Satellite mission STS46.
Graduated in Electronics engineering and in Physics has an extensive international experience gained working for many years of with leading hi-tech industries (DEC, Alenia Spazio) and Research Organizations (CNR, ESA, NASA, ASI).
Former Member of the European Parliament (94-99) involved in Science and Technology policies.
Former Scientific Attachè in the Italian Mission to OECD, ESA and IEA (05-13) dealing with policies for energy, science and innovation economics.
Coach of space-Startups – SpaceV and DBSpace.
Free-lance Editorialist on space related topics for Italian newspapers.
Lecturer and narrator of the musical Viaggio nello spazio.
Director of the Festival dello Spazio since 2017.
Partner at Primo Space, a venture capital fund focused on the space economy. Previously he was Managing Director at Endeavor Italy and supported high tech companies at Intesa San Paolo, United Ventures and P101.
Raffaele holds an MPA from Harvard University, a Ph.D. from Bocconi and attended the Singularity University at NASA Ames. Raffaele is a member of the Kauffman Fellows, the “Young European Leaders – 40 under 40” network and the Aspen Junior Fellows group. He also invested in companies such as Multiply Labs (YC-2016) and Strive School (YC-2020). Raffaele is a published author at Harvard Business Review – Italy and wrote the books “Hacking Finance” and “Quantum Computing”.
Rafal Modrzewski is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of ICEYE. ICEYE, the first company to successfully miniaturize a SAR satellite, is launching and operating a constellation of small radar imaging satellites, providing access to timely and reliable Earth observation data. ICEYE empowers commercial and government partners with unmatched persistent monitoring capabilities for any location on Earth. The company helps customers make informed, data-driven decisions to address time-critical challenges in various industries, to ensure infrastructure safety, and to protect the environment.
Since co-founding the project in 2012, which became the company in 2014, with Pekka Laurila, Modrzewski is responsible for overseeing the organization’s growth and implementing ICEYE’s overall vision. Modrzewski brings with him deep domain expertise in SAR engineering, and he has received the 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 Technology award based on the world-first achievements of ICEYE.
Prior to co-founding ICEYE, Modrzewski researched innovative products at VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) in the RFID and wireless sensing group. He attended Warsaw University of Technology in Poland, where he studied Electrical Engineering and co-founded the Multimedia Technologies Science Group. Modrzewski continued his studies in Radio Science and Engineering at Aalto University where he led the on-board data handling team working on Aalto-1, Finland’s first nanosatellite.
Since October 2016, Dr. Xavier Pasco (Doct. In Pol. Sc.- Univ. of Paris-Sorbonne) has been Director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS) in Paris. Before that, Dr. Pasco has been in charge of space, high technology and security-related studies at FRS and CREST (Center for Research and Evaluation of the relationships between Strategies and Technology) associated to Ecole Polytechnique.
Xavier Pasco has been in charge of numerous studies and working groups about National and European space policies in the field of civilian and military activities. He is a specialist of the United States space policy and programmes, with a focus on the transatlantic relationships dealing with military space and interoperability issues. Since 2004, Xavier Pasco has engaged in specific research projects managed by the European Commission in the field of space and security research. He has been in charge of End-User engagement programmes in several, PASR, FP6 and FP 7 projects related to high tech security related to space technology and critical infrastructures. He has been in charge of the ESA-commissioned study related to governance and data policy models suitable for a European Space Situational Awareness System (2008-2009) and has been the coordinator of the EDA Study on Earth observation Ground Segment System of Systems for Security and Defence (2011-2012). He has also supported several analytical works of the subcommittee on Security and Defence of the European Parliament on these issues and has been contributed to further ESA on-going work on governance and data policy issues for future programmes. He is today the lead coordinator of SPACEWAYS, a European Commission-sponsored project dedicated to studying Space Traffic Management with a team of key European industry actors, research centres and Institutes.
Xavier Pasco has also led many research programmes in France and has been the author, coordinator or “rapporteur” of many research reports on space issues including official reports. He has also conducted several projects related to missile defense issues as well as to the use of space for security, notably in support of national and other international organizations. For over 12 years, he has been in charge of many studies for the French ministry of Armed Forces).
Xavier Pasco has been Associate Research Fellow at the Space Policy Institute in the George Washington University (Washington D.C., U.S.A.) since 1994. He has also been giving lectures in the French Military School in Paris as well as at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. He is the European Editor of the international academic review Space Policy. In 2012, Xavier Pasco has been elected full member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is also a member of the U.S. based Secure World Foundation (SWF) Advisory committee.
He has published numerous works (books and more than 100 articles or papers) on these topics. His latest book: “Le nouvel âge spatial : de la Guerre froide au New Space”, Paris, CNRS Editions, 2017.
Luigi Pasquali has been the Coordinator of Leonardo Space Activities and Telespazio Chief Executive Officer since February 2013.
Graduated in Electronic Engineering, Luigi attended courses in Finance and Business Management. He also served the Italian Army as Officer in the Technical Corps, in charge of Telecommunications.
He begins his career in Selenia as System Engineer being involved in several international projects. Then he moves to Stet/Telecom dealing with Development and International Strategies. After a period spent as Director of Business Development in Atlanet, Telefonica group, he is appointed Director of Telecommunications in Alenia Spazio (now Thales Alenia Space) with prominence and increasing responsibilities. Luigi joins Telespazio as Chief Operating Officer and, after a while, he returns to run Thales Alenia Space Italia as Chairman and CEO as well as Deputy CEO of Thales Alenia Space Group.
Luigi is currently member of the Board of Directors of Thales Alenia Space and AVIO, Chairman of Thales Alenia Space Italy as well as member of the Board of AIAD (Federation of Italian Industries for Aerospace, Defence and Security) and Member of the Council of Eurospace and ESOA.
He is registered in the Roll of Engineers of the Province of Rome, Italy.
Mauro Piermaria is Head of Innovation and New Space Economy at Italian Space Agency managing the Agency Equities investments, technology transfer and the overall Space Economy activities.
From 2014 to 2020 he was Head of Equities & Governance Affairs at Italian Space Agency appointed as Secretary of the ASI Board of Directors and managing the Agency Equity Investments in the affiliated companies. In the same period, he was 2 mandates member of the Board of Directors of ALTEC SpA company operating in the Space Economy and BoD member of E. Amaldi Foundation and ELV SpA.
He’s responsible of several Space Economy operations and innovative initiatives such the M&A operation of ELV Spa with AVIO Spa, the Primo Space Venture Capital Fund initiative, the creation of the E. Amaldi Foundation and the increasing of the space dedicate incubators in Italy.
Prior to this Mauro started his career in the aeronautic sector at Alenia Aeronautica working on the Eurofighter prototypes and after he spent three years at NASA Kennedy Space Center working on the ISS Shuttle missions. From 2005 he led at Italian Space Agency several important International space programs such Lisa Pathfinder and STS-120 Esperia Mission.
Mauro Piermaria holds a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering from University La Sapienza in Rome and received his Master of Business Administration from MIB School of Management in Trieste.
Salvatore Pignataro has a master degree in aeronautical engineering and specializations in fluid-dynamics and space systems and services. He began his career in the aeronautical industry as project leader for helicopter turbine installation.
In 2001, he joined the Italian Space Agency, working to the management of space exploration and human space flight programmes, with visible roles in the context of the International Space Station (ISS) Programme. In 2014, he was the ASI Mission Director for the human space flight mission “Futura”.
In 2015, he joined, as seconded national expert, the European Commission’s Unit for Space Policy and Research, working as policy officer on critical space technologies for strategic non-dependence and satellite surveillance and tracking. He contributed to the drafting of the Commission’s Communication on the Space Strategy for Europe and the Proposal of a Regulation establishing the EU Space Programme.
In September 2019, he joined the Italian Permanent Representation in Brussels, where he is in charge with the EU legislative and policy dossiers on space matters.
Professor Chris Rapley CBE is Professor of Climate Science at University College London (UCL). He is a Fellow of St Edmund’s College Cambridge, a member of the Academia Europaea, Chair of the European Science Foundation’s European Space Sciences Committee, Member of the Advisory Board of the UK government’s Clean Growth Fund, Patron of the Surrey Climate Commission, a member of the Science Advisory board of Scientists’ Warning, and a member of the UK Parliamentary and Scientific Committee.
His previous posts include Director of the Science Museum, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Chairman of the London Climate Change Partnership, President of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and Distinguished Visiting Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
In 2003 Prof Rapley was appointed CBE by Her Majesty the Queen. In 2008 he was awarded the Edinburgh Science Medal for having made ‘a significant contribution to the understanding and wellbeing of humanity’.
Giorgio Saccoccia is the President of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) since May 2019. He graduated from the University of Pisa (Italy) with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and from Webster University at Leiden (The Netherlands) with a Master in Business Administration.
Before joining ASI, he worked for almost thirty years at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) of the European Space Agency (ESA) in several management positions. In particular, from 2003 to 2019 he has been Head of the Propulsion and Aerothermodynamics Division, with the responsibility of the support to the sector for European satellite and launcher projects and for the development of associated technologies and Acting Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department of ESA for one year. In these roles he was also promoter and manager of international thematic events for the development of the space propulsion sector.
Giorgio Saccoccia is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA (American Association for Aeronautics and Astronautics), full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and Emeritus Member of French Aeronautics and Astronautics Association.
Since 2014 Massimiliano Salini is a Member of the European Parliament in the EPP Group, where he is full Member of the Committees for International Trade (INTA), for Transport and Tourism (TRAN), and substitute Member for Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE).
Mr Salini parliamentary work aims at seeking a balance between EU industrial competitiveness and the transition towards a more sustainable economy.
His main centers of interest are related to manufacturing, energy market and SMEs. In 2018 he is appointed Rapporteur for the European Parliament on the New EU Space Programme, in the framework of the new MFF for 2021-2027. As Vice-president of the Sky and Space Intergroup, he promotes further discussions related to the space policy within the European Parliament.
Professor Associate at IUSS University, Pavia and Senior Scientist in Remote Sensing and Surface Process at the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research Rome.
He has degrees from the University of Perugia and Master Business Administration applied to environment from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Pisa. His doctorate was undertaken jointly between the University of Perugia and the LDEO of Columbia University. His postdoc was held using SAR techniques at LDEO of Columbia University. He took up a University Lectureship position (2003-2007) and Fellowship at Perugia University (2006 – 2009), an Adjunct Research position at LDEO of Columbia University (2004-2009) and a Lectureship at La Sapienza University Roma (2009-2011). He is actually teaching at IUSS Pavia “Economical aspect of Space Strategy” and “GIS and Geomatics.
Scientific Director of Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca sul Telerilevamento applicato all’osservazione dello spazio e della terra CIRTA. He is national delegate at the European Commission Copernicus User Forum. He is a member of the ‘Technical Space Committee” at the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri. Member of the Joint Scientific Committee of ASI-ISPRA, head of the Space Economy implementation Group in ISPRA and delegate to the Comitato di Sorveglianza della Space Economy at Ministry of Sustainable Industrial Development.
Cristina Valente has gained twenty years of experience in the aerospace industry working both in the public sector, at the Italian Space Agency and the private sector (currently works for Telespazio) where she has always contributed to the strategic sphere of activities by interacting with leading industry experts and with the most active in the world’s space agencies (ASI, ESA and NASA).
In particular, in her twenty-year career, which begun as contract manager, she has led her to cover roles purely in the commercial and strategic fields, but all united by the ambition to reach new goals and strengthen relationships with strategic customers. In the latest experiences as Head of Commercial Coordination and as Head of Key Account Institutional, she has achieved important goals, both in terms of turnover and in terms of consolidating the relationship with strategic customers, allowing me to be even more incisive and strategic on the market.
She coordinated several teams both with the aim of identifying commercial development activities with strategic value for the company, and for the preparation and finalization of proposals in response to national and European tenders. In this context, she has always interacted not only with the sales manager but also with various managers of strategic, technical and commercial functions, including those of other nations. She has acquired an excellent knowledge in knowing how to build and consolidate a network of institutional and industrial references to build in a structured way a path of development or strengthening of business areas.
Alessandra Vernile is a young professional with a background in International Relations, Intelligence and Space Policy. Within the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), Alessandra serves as Project Groups Coordinator since 2018.
Alessandra started her professional career working with the NATO Defence College Foundation. In 2015, Alessandra moved her first steps in the space sector joining the ESA Strategy Department in Paris for a 6-months internship. After this opportunity, Alessandra resulted as the recipient of the ASI-SIOI fellowship, that brought her to move to Vienna to work with the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI). During the year spent in ESPI, Alessandra focused her work on the role of private actors in the space sector, and she also had the opportunity of learning more on the contribution of space technology to SDGs. Moved by the curiosity of learning more on how space can benefit society, Alessandra joined Eurisy in Paris, where she works full time as Project Officer.
Since 2020, Alessandra is part of the IAF EO Technical Committee.
Alessandra has strong interest in understanding the international space cooperation mechanisms and how to foster national policies that rely on space technology to respond to environmental and societal challenges.