Speakers

Programme

Rodolfo Guzzi

Rodolfo Guzzi

Chair of NSE Conference
Read Bio

Rodolfo Guzzi, Emeritus of OPTICA (formerly OSA). Degree in Physics at Bologna University. Founder and Director of the Institute in Geophysical and Environment Methodologies of the National Council of Research, CNR (1983-1994). Director of the scientific courses in Climatology and Solar and Wind Energy, Director of Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) of Trieste under the leadership of its General Director, Nobel Prize Winner Professor Abdus Salam (1984-2001).

Member of Science Advisory and Data and Algorithm Groups and PI of the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment GOME and SCIAMACHY, two payloads mounted on ERS2 and ENVISAT. PI of GOME 2 onboard METOP. Principal User of Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) mounted onboard AURA (1984-1994). One of the Founders of the group is known as GEO (Group of Earth Observation). Rodolfo Guzzi served at the Italian Space Agency, initially as Head of Earth Observations and thereafter as Inspector General (2001-2009).

Member Board of Directors of the Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (2009-2011).President of the IBP Group International, overseeing the Italian and international activities in the areas of Aerospace, Science, and academic publications (2009-2011). President of Technical and Scientific Committee of Space-Italy a network of industries working in Space and HPC (2009-2011). His expertise and interests lie in radiative transfer forward and inverse methods in the atmosphere including simple and multiple scattering studies in aerosols, clouds, and trace gases, and in the field of atmospheric spectroscopy. He also has deep experience in Earth Hazards.

Additional Speakers to be Announced Soon

Leon Alkalai

Leon Alkalai

Chief Executive Officer
Mandala Space Ventures
Read Bio

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.

Cristina Ananasso

Cristina Ananasso

Team Leader
Copernicus User Outreach and Engagement Section
ECMWF
Read Bio

Cristina Ananasso has a degree in Physics and PhD in Polar Sciences. Masters in Project Management and Space Policies. She worked for 13 years at the Italian Space Agency (ASI) in the Earth Observation department, managing scientific and applicative projects to exploit the use of Earth Observation data for the development of applications and services for the environmental monitoring. She was also deeply involved in several international programs with no EU Countries, like Argentina, India and Japan and in different international collaborative programs like ESA’s programs and CEOS.

In 2015, she moved from ASI to the European Commission to work for Copernicus, the European Union program on Earth Observation and monitoring. She experienced the policy-making environment of the European Commission, providing as Seconded National Expert, her technical and programmatic experience in support to the structured decision-making processes of the European institutions. In 2021 Cristina joined the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) as the leader of the Copernicus National Collaboration and thematic hubs team in the User Engagement and Outreach section.

KD Barker

KD Barker

Instructor for Space Fundamentals
Launchspace Services
Read Bio

KD Barker has provided leadership for over 25 years on spaceport projects and launch programs. She created economically viable, revenue producing concepts in spaceport development. Her work has enabled varieties of space launch and landing initiatives, many providing a means for commercial launch business activities, enhancing commercial space development.

She has been a Congressional Fellow in Washington, DC and worked in the Departments of both Commerce and State offices concerning space commercialization. Her experience ties in programs from NASA, Defense/DARPA, Dept of Transportation’s FAA Office of Commercial Space, and NOAA to several major space ranges and spaceports.

She has influenced the development of spaceports in the states of Florida, California, Hawaii, Virginia, New Mexico, Alaska and country of Brazil. She was a launch engineer for the Space Shuttle, Delta and Atlas programs, as well as other missile, rocket and aerospace programs. She directed crews in providing technical engineering and spacelift support to the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral, FL. She holds Master of Science Degrees in space systems and systems management from Florida Institute of Technology.

Piero Benvenuti

Piero Benvenuti

Director of Centre for the Protection of Dark and Quite Skie Satellite Constellation Interference
IAU
Read Bio

Piero Benvenuti is Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics at the University of Padova and has been recently appointed Director of the Centre of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for the protection of the dark and quiet sky from satellite constellation interference.

He has been employed by the European Space Agency as IUE Observatory Controller and as Head of the Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility. In Italy, he has been President of the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) and Commissioner of the Italian Space Agency. He has been the IAU General Secretary for the triennium 2015-18.

Michal Brichta

Michal Brichta

Director
Slovak Space Office
Read Bio

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). In 2019 he initiated a new strategic approach to the comprehensive development of national space industry capabilities.

Building on this approach, his team works today 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 is a member of the Slovak delegation to ESA and he participates in the EUSPA administrative board.

Gino Bucciol

Gino Bucciol

Business Development Director
Officina Stellare Spa
Read Bio

I currently act as Business Development Director at Officina Stellare Spa (www.officinastellare.com), which I co-founded in 2009, with the partners Riccardo Gianni and Giovanni Dal Lago.

My technical-electronic background in the telecommunications field, combined with a natural attitude for communication and leadership, have allowed me to cover different roles within the company over the years: from marketing manager to COO, to the current role of Head of the Business Unit.
A path of both personal and professional growth that has led to some important successes, which have consolidated Officina Stellare as a major leader in the design and production of opto-mechanical instrumentation in the Aerospace, Defense and Astronomical Research sectors worldwide.

Carlo Buontempo

Carlo Buontempo

Director
Copernicus Climate Change Service
ECMWF
Read Bio

Carlo Buontempo is the Director of Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) at ECMWF. He coordinates the activities of a large number research teams working on the generation of climate data and its interface to decision and policy makers.

Carlo completed a PhD in physics at University of L’Aquila in 2004 then he moved to Canada for his post-doc before joining the Met Office.

Carlo worked at the Hadley Centre for almost a decade were he led the climate adaptation team and more recently the climate service development team. In this role he led numerous projects involving climate change adaptation and regional modelling in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. In 2012 Carlo became the scientific coordinator of EUPORIAS, and project funded by the European Commission through the 7th framework programme.

Patrizia Caraveo

Patrizia Caraveo

Research Director
INAF
Read Bio

Currently, PAC is Associated to INAF at the Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale and Fisica Cosmica in Milano where she has been Director from 2011 to 2017. She is also Professor of “Introduction to Astronomy” at the University of Pavia, representative of INAF within the CTA Collaboration and Associate Editor of the Journal of High Energy Astrophysics.

A world leader in the study of high-energy emission from neutron stars, PAC is well known for her seminal work on Geminga, the first gamma-ray pulsar with no radio emission. Indeed, her career was based in interdisciplinarity in astronomy, from space and from the ground.

Erasmo Carrera

Erasmo Carrera

Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Politecnico di Torino
Read Bio

Dr Erasmo Carrera is Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Politecnico di Torino. He acts as President of the Italian Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics, A.I.D.A.A and member of Accademia delle Scienze di Torino.
He has been visiting professor at the University of Stuttgart, Virginia Tech, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Tambov University, Supmeca and Ensam.

Dr Carrera has been responsible for various research contracts granted by public and private national and international institutions, including the European Community, European Space Agency, Thales Alenia Space and Embraer. He is founder and Editor-in-Chief of Advances in Aircraft and Spacecraft Science, Editor-in Chief of Mechanics of Advanced Materials Structures and Section Editor of Journal and Sound and Vibration.

He has introduced the Unified Formulation, or CUF (Carrera Unifed Formulation), as a tool to establish a new framework in which to develop theories of beams, plates and shells for metallic and composite multilayered structures. He has been author and co-author of about 800 papers on the above topics. Carrera has been recipient of various ‘best paper award’ and of the ‘JN Reddy Medal’.

Professor Carrera has been Highly Cited Researchers (Top 100 Scientist) by
Thompson Reuters in the two Sections: Engineering and Materials. He has been confirmed HiCI in 2015 in the Section Engineering. The only aerospace Engineering
worldwide.

Due to his scientific outcoming professor Carrera has been recently awarded by
the President of Italian Republic, as ‘Honoray Commendator’.
Dr Carrera is the Local Chair of 75th IAC Milano 2024 and 34th ICAS Florence
2024.

Simonetta Cheli

Simonetta Cheli

Director of Earth Observation Programmes
and Head of ESRIN
ESA
Read Bio

Simonetta Cheli took up duty as Director of Earth Observation Programmes and Head of ESRIN (D/EOP) on 1 January 2022.
Born in Siena, Italy, she studied law and economics at Yale University in the United States, before gaining a degree in political sciences with a thesis on international satellite telecommunication law at the University ‘Cesare Alfieri’ in Florence, Italy. She also holds a diploma of advanced studies (DEA) from the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques (CEDS) in Paris.

She has worked at ESA for over three decades, both at Headquarters in Paris and at ESRIN, including 15 years of working within the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.
She joined ESA in 1988, working in International Relations, Programme and Strategy, then moved to ESRIN in 1999 as Head of Public and Institutional Relations covering Italy, Spain and Portugal. In 2008, she returned to Paris as Head of the Coordination Office for Earth Observation.

Before her selection as Director of Earth Observation, Simonetta Cheli was Head of the Strategy, Programme and Coordination Office for Earth Observation, coordinating relations with international partners in the field of environment and climate, and with ESA Member States and the European Union, managing the Programme Board of Earth Observation, and relations with European Partners such as Eumetsat and ECMWF.
She also teaches Master courses on space, is a member of numerous international
committees and has received various awards.

Massimo Comparini

Massimo Comparini

Deputy CEO and ESVP Observation,
Exploration and Navigation
Thales Alenia Space
Read Bio

Massimo Comparini is Deputy CEO, Senior Executive Vice President Observation, Exploration and Navigation at Thales Alenia Space as well as CEO of Thales Alenia Space Italia. He has a long and proven track record in space industry, from technology to services, and in the earth observation domain; in 2016, he was named CEO of eGeos, a joint venture between Telespazio (80%) and the Italian Space Agency (20%). and Director Line of Business Geo Information at Telespazio. He was, at the same time, Chairman of GAF and EarthLab Luxembourg.

In 2013, Massimo Comparini was appointed CTO of Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%).

He started his career in 1983 at Selenia Spazio (later Alenia Spazio), holding various management positions, up to his position as Chief Technology Officer.
Massimo Comparini holds a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering, Remote Sensing and Radar Systems from the University of Rome La Sapienza, as well as a Degree in Strategy from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.
He is member of the technical-scientific advisory board of the Research, Development and Higher Studies Center in Sardinia – CSR4 – (Italy).

Simonetta Di Pippo

Director of Space Economy Evolution Lab (SEE Lab)
SDA Bocconi School of Management
Read Bio

Simonetta Di Pippo is Professor of Practice of Space Economy at SDA Bocconi School of Management and Director of Space Economy Evolution Lab (SEE Lab). She is an italian astrophysicist and before joining SDA Bocconi she served as Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).
She holds a Master’s Degree in Astrophysics and Space Physics from University “La Sapienza”, an Honoris Causa Degree in Environmental Studies, and an Honoris Causa Degree of Doctor in International Affairs.

In her career, she has been able to cover all the main different fields in space activities, with experience at national, regional and global level. She wrote two books and contributed to many more. She is also author and co-author to several international articles, and always advocating the importance of increasing awareness of the benefits of space activities, she has been featured in more than 1000 interviews and TV and radio shows and podcasts.

Prior to joining UNOOSA, she served as Director of Human Spaceflight at ESA, Director of the Observation of the Universe at the Italian Space Agency and led the European Space Policy Observatory at ASI-Brussels.
She is an Academician of IAA and a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on space since 2016, co-chairing it since 2020. In her career, Simonetta Di Pippo has been active in bridging the gender gap in STEM and the space sector. In 2009, she co-founded Women in Aerospace Europe and in 2017, she became a UN International Gender Champion.

In 2008, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) named asteroid 21887 “dipippo” in honour of her contribution to space activities and in 2006, she was knighted by the President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi as Cavaliere Ufficiale al Merito. She has been the first woman to be honored with the Hubert Curien award.

Pascale Ehrenfreund

President
ISU
Read Bio

Pascale Ehrenfreund is the President of the International Space University and Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at the Space Policy Institute/George Washington University in Washington DC. She is also the President of the International Astronautical Federation IAF and Visiting Professor at Leiden Observatory.

Since three decades she contributed as Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator and Teamleader to ESA and NASA astronomy and planetary missions as well as experiments in low Earth orbit and on the International Space Station.

Pascale Ehrenfreund served as the Chair of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) between 2015-2020 and the President of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) from 2013-2015.

Pascale Ehrenfreund holds a Master degree in Molecular Biology, a PhD in Astrophysics, and a Master degree in Management & Leadership.
The asteroid “9826 Ehrenfreund 2114 T-3” bears her name.

Christian Feichtinger

Christian Feichtinger

Executive Director
IAF
Read Bio

An engineer by background, Dr Feichtinger graduated from the Graz University of Technology and earned a PhD in Space Experimentation. During the early 1990s and within the Institute of Applied Systems Technology of Joanneum Research, Graz, he became Technical Manager of the first Austro-Soviet manned space mission to MIR “AUSTROMIR” and the follow-on missions “AUSTROMIR-E” and “AUSTROMIR MED-F”. In 1993 he became an integrated member of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) EUROMIR-94 and EUROMIR-95 Mission Management Team at ESTEC, The Netherlands, eventually becoming resident in Moscow as the EUROMIR-95 Flight Operations Manager at Russian Mission Control Centre.

He joined the European Space Agency in 1997 as its Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programme Representative in Moscow. He became Head of the ESA Permanent Mission in the Russian Federation in 2007 and from 2009 – 2011 was ESA’s Senior Advisor on Exploration.

Since 2012 he is Executive Director of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), a globally active federation, which was founded in 1951 to foster dialogue between scientists around the world and support international cooperation in all space-related activities and continues to connect space people worldwide. The Federation is the world’s leading space advocacy body with over 300 corporate members, including all key space agencies, companies, societies, associations and institutes across 66 countries. IAF is the organiser of the premier annual gathering of the global space community, the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

In 2020 Dr Feichtinger was awarded the “Executive Director of the Year 2020” by the International Association of Association Executives.

Enrico Flamini

Enrico Flamini

IRSPS President
D’Annunzio University – Chieti, Italy
Read Bio

Graduated in Physics at Roma University “La Sapienza” in 1977, with a thesis on X-Ray spectroscopy applied to Lunar Apollo Samples.
1977-1983 Researcher at the National Research Council. Main research: Thermo-dynamical evolution of Martian surface.

1983-1985: ESA Research Fellow at University of Sussex (UK) working mainly on: hypervelocity impacts applied to planetary evolution processes and materials selection for space applications (Giotto HMC).

1985-2018: Agenzia Spaziale Italiana – ASI:
• Program Manager of the Italian participation to the Cassini-Huygens Mission, Co-Investigator the Cassini Radar and on H-ASI on the Huygens probe; Program Manager of VIRTIS, and GIADA instruments on the Rosetta Mission, MARSIS and PFS on the ESA Mars Express Mission, Sharad on the NASA MRO Mission;
• Chairman, 2006-2010, of the Philae Comet Lander Steering Committee;
• Mission Science Director for the Launch of LARES on VEGA maiden Flight 2012;
• 2008-2010: ASI Director of the Observation of the Universe department;
• 2010-2018: ASI Chief Scientist

2006-today Professor of “Solar System Exploration “ G. D’Annunzio” University-Chieti, Italy.
2020-today President of the International Research School of Planetary Sciences. D’annunzio University
Co-chair of the Indipendent Assesment Team- AIT of the NASA-JAXA-ASI-CSA International Mars Ice Mapper study phase

Bernard Foing

Bernard Foing

Director EuroMoonMars
President Space Renaissance International
Read Bio

Prof. Bernard H. FOING is executive director of ILEWG International Lunar Exploration Working Group, chair of LUNEX foundation, manager of LUNEX EuroMoonMars Earth Space Innovation & ArtMoonMars programme, and president of Space Renaissance International. Guest research prof at Leiden Observatory/EPFL Lausanne/ISU Intl Space University/ VU Amsterdam/Latvia U. He is vice-chair of COSPAR Commission B (Moon, planets and small bodies) and PEX Exploration panel, chair of IAF ITACCUS committee on Socio-Cultural Utilisation of Space, and member of IAF committees (Astronomy, space habitats, exploration, traffic management), and full member of IAA since 2010. Former President of ESTEC staff committee (2012-2017), and former Chief scientist ESA ESTEC (2002-2018).

He has worked at ESA Space Science Department at ESTEC (1989-2020) , as visiting scientist, staff scientist, study scientist (SIMURIS, MORO lunar orbiter, EuroMoon lander), Research Unit Coordinator, Project scientist of SMART-1 (first European mission to the Moon, launched in 2003), Head of Research Division, and Chief scientist. He has been active at ILEWG (International Lunar Exploration Working Group) as president (1998-2000), and initiator of ILEWG MoonVillage initiative since 2000. He has been Co-Investigator of space projects such as SOHO, XMM, BIOPAN, SMART-1, Mars Express, COROT, ISS/Expose. He has published over 950 articles, including 230 refereed papers, in lunar and planetary exploration, solar/stellar physics, complex organics in space, astrobiology, instrumentation.

Born in France, he was admitted at Ecole Normale Supérieure of Education & Technology (now ENS Paris-Saclay), and became Professor Agrégé of Physical sciences. He obtained a PhD on Astrophysics and Space Techniques using a sounding rocket ultraviolet camera experiment at CNRS, with research stays in the US (Lockheed, SacPeak, Boulder, Harvard). He worked 3 years in Chile as astronomer for ESO European Southern Observatory, the French embassy, and as Professor of Astrophysics. Permanent researcher at CNRS Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, he obtained the Habilitation for direction of research in 1990.

Christian Hauglie-Hanssen

Director General
Norwegian Space Agency
Marshall H. Kaplan

Marshall H. Kaplan

Principal
Launchspace Services
Read Bio

Marshall H. Kaplan, Ph.D., is a recognized expert in space flight technologies, orbital mechanics and debris removal. He was the first to study space junk retrieval and was instrumental in the safe reentry of the Skylab Space Station in 1979. Foxnews.com recently aired a story about his four decades of research on this topic. Dr. Kaplan is one of only a few experts in the field of space debris control and reduction. He has over four decades of academic and industrial experience, having served as Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University and has presented hundreds of courses on space technology in the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia.

In addition to publishing over 100 papers, reports, and articles on aerospace technologies, he is the author of several books, including the internationally used text, Modern Spacecraft Dynamics and Control. Dr. Kaplan is a member of the AIAA Technical Committee on Space Transportation and holds advanced degrees from MIT and Stanford University. He is a Fellow of the AIAA and the AAS.

Veronica La Regina

Veronica La Regina

CEO
Nanoracks Europe
Read Bio

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’s 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.
In 2022 she has been elected board member of the Association of Italian companies for Applications, Technologies and ITC for Space purposes (ASAS Spazio).

Franco Malerba

Franco Malerba

Astronaut
Read Bio

Franco Malerba is the first Italian astronaut.
He was the scientific astronaut on the first mission of the Tethered satellite aboard the space shuttle Atlantis (1992).

Graduated in Electronic Engineering and Physics at the University of Genoa (Italy), he has a long international experience gained working with international research Institutions (CNR, ESA, NASA, ASI) and with important hi-tech industries (Digital Equipment, Alenia Spazio).

He was an elected Member of the European Parliament (94-99) engaged in policies for science and technological innovation and later was the Scientific Attaché at the Italian Diplomatic Representation in Paris (05-13) working with the OECD, ESA, and IEA-NEA.
In 2001 received the honors of Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana.

Presently:
Member of the Order of the Italian journalists since 2001, free-lance columnist of scientific topics for the GEDI newspapers (La Stampa, Il Secolo XIX).
Lecturer at the University of Genoa and at the University of Leicester (UK),
Recital voice of the theatrical spectacle musical Journey in Space
Organizer and architect of the Busalla Space Festival since 2017.
Founding partner of two spin-off of the University of Genoa – DBSpace and SpaceV – both enterprises are innovative startups in the space sector.

Giuseppe Macino

Giuseppe Mancino

Professor Emeritus
Sapienza, University of Rome
Read Bio

Giuseppe Macino, Professor Emeritus in Cell Biology at Sapienza Rome, degree in Chemistry, Postdoctor at Columbia University, involved in pioniering research on Mitochondrial genomes, on light induced transcriptional response, on circadian rhythm, and on post-transcriptional gene silencing.

Involved in studies on the micro RNA function in leukemia and several types of cancer. Epigenetics studies on human healty and patological cells.

Eric Morel de Westgaver

Eric Morel de Westgaver

Director of European, Legal and International Matters
ESA
Read Bio

Eric Morel de Westgaver took up duty as Director European, Legal and International Matters (D/ELI) on 20 May 2021. He was appointed Head of HQ Paris on 1 October 2016. Before his current appointment, he had been Director of Procurement, Financial Operations and Legal Affairs (D/PFL) in April 2011 and Director of Industry, Procurement and Legal Services (D/IPL) in 2013.

Eric Morel de Westgaver graduated in Economics from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He joined ESA in 1987 as Industrial Policy Officer in the Directorate of Administration.
In 2001 he took the responsibility of the Industrial Policy and Cost Analysis Department in the Directorate of Industrial Matters and Technology Programmes.

In 2004, he became Head of the newly created Procurement Department. In this function, he profoundly modernised the procurement policy and regulations of ESA, such in close cooperation with Member States and industrial stakeholders. In addition to this responsibility, he was nominated Associate Director for Industrial Matters by the Director General in February 2010.

Geraldine Naja

Geraldine Naja

Director for Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement
ESA
Read Bio

Geraldine Naja is Director of Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement at the European Space Agency (ESA). A French national, Geraldine holds over 30 years of experience, expertise and knowledge within the European space sector, in programmatic, managerial and strategy development positions.
She is responsible for elaborating and implementing ESA’s industrial and procurement policies, conducting negotiations with industry, and managing procurement for all the Agency’s activities and programmes. Furthermore, Geraldine is responsible for enabling and boosting European space commercialisation ambitions through innovative tools and partnerships.

Geraldine holds an MSc in Engineering and Propulsion and an MSc in Political Sciences, from the French École Polytechnique and the École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées (ENSTA), and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) respectively. Within various universities and institutes, Geraldine carries out teaching assignments about space policy, with the aim of inspiring future generations.

Luigi Pasquali

Luigi Pasquali

CEO
Telespazio
Read Bio

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.

Luciano Petronero

Luciano Pietronero

President
E. FERMI RESEARCH CENTER (CREF)
Read Bio

Luciano Pietronero studied physics in Rome, then Research Scientist at Xerox Research in Webster USA (1974) and Brown Boveri Research Center (CH) 1975-1983. Full Professor of Condensed Matter Theory at the Univ. of Groningen (NL; 1983-87). Since 1987 Professor of Physics at the Sapienza University of Rome. Founder and director of the Institute for Complex Systems of CNR (2004-2014).

Since 2019 President of the Fermi Center (www.cref.it). Broad international experience in academic and industrial enviroments. Leader of a generation of young scientists protagonists of the complexity scene internationally. In 2008 he received the Fermi Prize (highest award of the Italian Physical Society). Recent activity in Economic Complexity applied extensively by the World Bank (for which LP is a Senior Advisor) and by the EU Commission for the evaluation of the Recovery Fund Projects (PNRR).

Luca Rossettini

Luca Rossettini

CEO
D-Orbit
Read Bio

Luca is a visionary entrepreneur, seeking a profitable and sustainable expansion of the humankind in space. In 1998 Luca quits his Airborne Officer career and got a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering in Italy (2003). After a year working in a US research lab on nanotechnologies applied to space propellant, he came back to Europe, where, in 2005, he successfully concluded a Master’s in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability.

During his Ph.D. studies in Advanced Space Propulsion – concluded in 2008 with honors – Luca founded IRTA (startup providing advanced vision and slow-motion tracking techniques). In 2006 he co-founded The Natural Step Italia (The Natural Step is an international NGO that helps corporations and communities to pursue their objectives within a strategic sustainability framework), where the idea of applying strategic sustainability concepts to the space sector originated. In 2008 he applied for the European Astronauts Corp among 10,000 candidates. He went through the whole selection and positioned among the first two hundred.

Nevertheless, his motivation pushed Luca to find another access to space. In 2009 Luca won a Fulbright scholarship and in 2010 obtained a Certificate in Technology Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, California. After an internship position at NASA Ames Research Center, Luca Rossettini went back to Italy and founded D-Orbit, developing a solution for Space Logistics & Transportation.

Luca loves parachute jumping, scuba diving and eats science fiction books.

Giorgio Saccoccia

Giorgio Saccoccia

President
ASI
Read Bio

Giorgio Saccoccia, current President of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) since April 2019, has over thirty years of experience in the aerospace sector, mainly gained in the international arena.
Graduated with honors in Aeronautical Engineering with specialization in space at the University of Pisa on March 1988, he completed his studies with a Master in Business Administration at the European Headquarters in Leiden (NL) of the Webster University of St. Louis (USA) in 1995.

After three years of work in Italy, he joined the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1990 at the European Space Technology and Research Center (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, covering various positions over the years. From 2003 to March 2019 he was Head of the Propulsion and Aerothermodynamics Division, responsible for European Research and Development and for supporting projects in the propulsion sector for satellites and launchers, aerothermodynamics and, more in general, for the design of new vehicles for space transportation.

Under his presidency at ASI, the Italian space budget has more than tripled, allowing Italy to strongly strengthen its international positioning in the sector. Through a careful reorganization of the Agency, there has been an increase in ASI staff of about 30 percent.

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.

Giovanni Sylos Labini

Giovanni Sylos Labini

CEO
Planetek Italia
Read Bio

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Planetek Italia. He is also Vice Chairman of EARSC (European Association of Remote Sensing Companies), and Board member at SME4SPACE (the European Space SMEs Association) and AIPAS (the Italian Space Industries Association).

Degree in Physics. He has produced several publications in the field of analysis of signals and images and of space systems. Since 1984, he cooperated in several Earth Observation projects with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and with NASA. He was a director of the ASI Center of Space Geodesy facility. He has been also an Italian Delegate at the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation Program Board and Professor at IUAV – University of Venice, Italy.

Dominique Tilmans

Dominique Tilmans

President
EURISY
Read Bio

After a career of 27 years in politics marked by an active involvement in the Space sector through chairing the ‘Senate Space Group’ and leading the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC), Dominique Tilmans launched YouSpace/ Switch to Space in 2014 in order to link STEM Students to Belgian Space experts. She is currently the Chair of Eurisy, Board Member of Telespazio Belgium, Member of the Advisory Board of ESPI, member of the Advisory Bord of Europlanet2021 RI and Vice-President of IAF. In 2017, she received the “BeSpace personality of the year” award.

Ersilia Vaudo

Ersilia Vaudo

Chief Diversity Officer
ESA
Read Bio

Ersilia Vaudo holds a degree in Astrophysics. In 2020 she obtained an Executive Certificate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Kennedy School.
Since 1991, she has been working at the European Space Agency in Paris and she is currently holding the role of ESA Chief Diversity Officer and Special Advisor on Strategic Evolution to the Director of European, Legal and International Affairs.

During her long career at the Agency, she held various roles primarily in the strategy field. Between 2002 and 2006, she worked at the ESA office in Washington DC (USA), where she was in charge of ensuring relations with NASA, US stakeholders and Canada. She was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of Women in Aerospace US.

In 2020, she had been part of the Task Force ‘Women for a New Renaissance’ set up by the Minister of Equal Opportunities and Family, and she contributed to the formulation of proposals on ‘Research, STEM and Skills Training’ that were included in the first National Strategy on Gender Equality.
She is a member of the Advisor Board of the Women’s Forum G20 Italy 2021.

In December 2020, she was assigned the role of Curator of the XXII International Exhibition of the Milan Triennale on the theme ‘Unknown Unknowns. An introduction to mysteries’, which will be inaugurated in May 2022.
Ersilia Vaudo is President and co-founder of the Association ‘Il Cielo Itinerante’ (The Travelling Sky) that has the aim of promoting STEM literacy by bringing science ‘where it doesn’t usually go’, with a telescope on top of a minibus and by organising STEM camps, thus reaching children who live in areas suffering hardship and educational poverty.
She is also Vice President of Eurisy, a non-profit association that involes 30 European space agencies, aiming to promote the relationship between space and society.

Ersilia Vaudo is co-chair of the recommendations on Talent and the Future of Work within the ‘Scale-Up Europe’ initiative, that was launched in 2020 by French President Emmanuel Macron with the goal of revitalising the Tech ecosystem in Europe.
In 2020, she received on behalf of ESA the International Astronautical Federation’s prestigious ‘Excellence Diversity Award’ for the space sector.
In October 2020, she received the ‘Technovisionarie 2020, Special Europe Award’ from the Women&Technologies Association.
In 2021, she was included among the 50 most influential women in Italy – “Inspiring Fifty – Italy” – who have distinguished themselves for their commitment to science and technology.

In May 2022, she was appointed as an expert member of the Technical and Scientific Committee of the Observatory for the integration of gender equality policies of the Italian Ministry for Equal Opportunities and Family.
Ersilia Vaudo Scarpetta has participated as a speaker in various TEDx Talks around Europe and has written extensively for the general public on topics concerning science and space, being convinced of the inspiring power that science has on the younger generations.

Amela Wilson

Amela Wilson

Chief Executive Officer
Nanoracks and XO Markets
Read Bio

Dr. Amela Wilson serves as CEO of Nanoracks where she is focused on expanding ì growth of Nanoracks’ space systems and payload services while scaling the organization for prime commercial, civil, and defense programs. She oversees the development of key Nanoracks in-space programs, including crewed space stations and autonomous platforms. Specifically, she is overseeing the developing of Starlab, the first free-flying, continuously crewed commercial space station.

Prior to joining the Nanoracks team in October 2021, Amela served as the Senior Vice President and General Manager at Mercury Systems, where she was hired to lead and rapidly grow one of three P&Ls. She led organizational transformation for growth, re-energized international product insertion into US solutions, and won numerous U.S. Government prime contracts. Amela conducted diligence on several mergers and acquisitions, successfully acquiring businesses to expand Mercury Systems’ global avionics and mission systems portfolio.

Previously, Amela has served in several senior executive positions including Vice President and General Manager at FLIR Systems and Elbit Systems of America, Sector Vice President for Program Management, Platform, Logistics at L-3 Aerospace Systems, and more.

Amela received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Sarajevo, and a Master of Science and PhD from Texas A&M University, all in electrical engineering. She has completed the Wharton School Executive Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Amela is a multidimensional senior executive and strategist who brings passion, perseverance, and integrity to drive growth within system integration, technology, manufacturing, and services. She drives change in organizations by building an open and collaborative culture that fosters trust and innovation.

Sign in for the newsletter!