Future Space Leaders partners with Students for the Exploration and Development of Space to provide grants to start chapters at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The Foundation

The Future Space Leaders Foundation (“FSLF”) is a tax exempt 501 c 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the career development of young space and satellite industry professionals. The Foundation organizes events and raises funds for grants to deserving graduate students and young professionals. FSLF works in cooperation with other non-profits, companies and government agencies on space-related educational events. FSLF is also actively promoting the professional development of young Americans targeting careers in the academic fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (“STEAM”).

Through its annual Future Space event, FSLF advances learning and fosters interaction among current space and satellite industry leaders with graduate students and young professionals. The Foundation made eight grant awards in 2013-2014 to outstanding American graduate students and young professionals enabling them to attend and present papers at major space-related symposia and conferences including the IAF International Astronautical Congress, SGAC Space Congress, AAS Goddard Memorial Symposium, NSC Goddard Dinner, Satellite 2014, SSPI Gala, AIAA Spotlight Awards and ISPCS.

Our Mission

  • To advance learning and professional enrichment of young space professionals and future leaders pursuing careers in the fields of space and satellites.

  • To stimulate the professional growth and enhancement of future space professionals and to foster cooperation and interaction among current leaders in the space field with graduate students and young professionals seeking to pursue careers in the fields of space and satellites.

  • To assist graduate students and young professionals in attending space and satellite industry conferences and events through grants covering legitimate travel and registration related expenses.


Board of Directors

Clayton Mowry, Blue Origin

Brad Cheetham, Advanced Space
Vice Chair

Debra Facktor, AIRBUS U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.

Sirisha Bandla, Virgin Orbit

Lyn D. Wigbels, AAS
Awards Chair

Jacki Cortese, Blue Origin

Joe Landon, Lockheed Martin

Travis Langster, AGI

Aaron Lewis, Arianespace

Eric Stallmer, Voyager Space Holdings

Yasmine Almond, Blue Origin
Executive Director


Awards Committee
Lyn Wygbels

Program Committee
Yasmine Almond

Outreach Committee
Tara Halt

Advisory Board

Carissa Christensen, Bryce

Brett Alexander, Blue Origin

Richard DalBello, Virgin Orbit

Lori Garver, Founder of The Brooke Owens Fellowship

Pat Hynes, New Mexico Space Grant

William A. Klanke, Space Intel Report

Phil McAlister, NASA

James V. Zimmerman


Past Sponsors



On July 28 the Future Space Leaders Foundation held the 10th Annual Future Space event, exploring cutting edge technologies and brave new applications poised to transform the space and satellite industry. FSLF is a STEAM-focused non-profit organization supporting educational programs and networking opportunities for graduate students and young professionals pursuing careers in the space and satellite industry.


9:00am: Welcome

9:03am: Rangers of the New Republic

  • Moderator: Travis Langster, COMSPOC Corp
  • Dr. Jonathan Cirtain, BWX Technologies, Vice president and Chief Technology Officer
  • Chirag Parikh, Microsoft, formerly White House and NGA
  • Audrey Schaffer, National Security Council, Director for Space Policy

9:35am: Keynote: Representative Young Oak Kim (CA)

9:45am: Keynote: Dylan Taylor, Voyager Space

9:55am: Wicked Cool Technology: The Constellation Guild

  • Moderator: Carissa Christensen
  • Patricia Cooper, former Vice President, Satellite Government Affairs, SpaceX, former President, Satellite Industry Association
  • Gerald Jannson, Director, Telesat Government Services
  • Chris McLaughlin, Chief of Government, Regulation & Engagement, OneWeb

10:35am: Foundations: Building a Sustainable Presence in Space

  • Moderator: Jacki Cortese
  • John Couluris, Vice President, Advanced Development Program
  • Dr. Cameron Meek, Advanced Space
  • Eleanor Morgan, Lockheed Martin

Past Agendas


Date: July 8, 2020 – Virtual Event

10:30am: Introduction

  • Clay Mowry, Chairman & Founder of the Future Space Leaders Foundation & Vice President, Blue Origin

10:40am: National Security Session

  • Maj. Gen. Pamela Lincoln
  • Sirisha Bandla, Director, Virgin Orbit

11:00am: Civil Space Session

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Carissa Christensen, CEO, Bryce Space & Technology

11:30am: Congressional Space Session

  • Rep. Michael Waltz
  • Rep. Xochitl Torres Small
  • Eric Stallmer, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Date: July 10, 2019

Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room: SD-G50 (Senate Dirksen on the Ground Floor), Luncheon at the Reserve Officer Association, 1 Constitution Ave NE

07:55 Welcome: Clay Mowry, Chairman & Founder of the Future Space Leaders Foundation & Vice President, Blue Origin

08:00-08:15 Opening Keynote: Maj. Gen. Nina M. Armagno, Director, Space Programs, SAF/AQS

08:15-09:15 Civil Space Panel: Human Spaceflight – The Rise of the Skywalkers

  • Opening Panel Keynote: Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator
  • Moderator: Eric Stallmer, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • Dan Nelson, Associate Technical Fellow, Spacecraft Flight Control Design and Analysis, Modeling and Simulation, Boeing
  • Nicholas Patrick, Senior Director, Human Integration, Blue Origin

09:15-09:30 Rep. Mike Waltz, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

09:30-10:30 Commercial Panel: Wicked Cool Space Technology – The Right Stuff

  • Moderator: Carissa Christensen
  • Don Brown, General Manager, Government Services, Telesat
  • Dr. Jonathan Cirtain, Vice President, Advanced Technology, BWXT
  • Shayn Hawthorne, GM, AWS Ground Station
  • Marshall Smith, Director, Human Lunar Exploration Programs, NASA

10:30-10:45 Rep. Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02)

10:45-11:00 Spotlight: Michael Beavin, Director of Commercial Space Policy, National Space Council, The White House

11:00-12:00 National Security Panel: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

  • Moderator: Brad Cheetham, CEO & President, Advanced Space
  • Andrew Bunker, Director, Washington Operations, United launch Alliance
  • Jeremy Kalina, Senior Manager, Raytheon Space Systems
  • Travis Langster, Vice President, DoD and Intel Space Business Development
  • Col Tony Meeks, Chief Architect, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC)
  • Damon Wells, Director, Office of Policy and Strategy, National Reconnaissance Office

12:30-14:00 Luncheon at Reserve Officer Association “Top of the Hill”

  • Luncheon Keynote: Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA)

Date: July 12, 2018

Location: Russell Senate Office Building, Room: SR-325 (Kennedy Caucus Room), Breakfast and Luncheon at the Reserve Officer Association, 1 Constitution Ave NE

07:30 – 08:30 Breakfast at the Reserve Officer Association’s Atrium
8:15 Secretary Wilbur Ross, Department of Commerce

Main Program (Russell Senate Office Building – SR-325, Kennedy Caucus Room)

08:45 – 09:35 Panel 1: The Rogues Won: Civil Space Innovations and Future Plans

  • Moderator: Suzanne Gillen, Senior Director of Government Relations, Maxar Technologies
  • Sirisha Bandla, Business Development & Government Affairs Manager, Virgin Orbit
  • Abby Dickes, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Special Projects, NanoRacks
  • Ben Roberts, VP Government Affairs, Moon Express

09:35 – 09:45 Keynote: Sen. Patty Murray

09:45 – 10:00 Keynote: Lt Gen DT Thompson, USAF Space Command

10:00 – 11:00 Panel 2: Guardians of the Galaxy – Keeping National Security Space at the Cutting Edge

  • Moderator: Bradley Cheetham, CEO & President, Advanced Space
  • Brett Alexander, VP, Government Sales & Strategy, Blue Origin
  • Michael Dickey, Chief of the Space Enterprise Vision at Air Force Space Command Headquarters, USAF Space Command
  • John W. Giles, Col, USAF, Senior Policy Advisor, National Space Council
  • Travis Langster, VP DoD & Intel Space, AGI

11:00 – 11:10 Keynote: Dr. Ellen Stofan, Director of National Air and Space Museum

11:10 – 12:00 Panel 3: The Real Business of Space Business

  • Kick-off Keynote: Paul “Rusty” Thomas, DARPA TTO
  • Moderator: Carissa Christensen
  • Mike López-Alegría, Principal, Business Development, Axiom Space
  • Debra Facktor, Vice President & General Manager Strategic Operations, Ball Aerospace
  • Rich Leshner, Vice President, Regulatory and Government Affairs & Policy, Planet Labs Inc

12:00 – 12:15 Walk to Reserve Officer Association

12:15 – 14:00 Luncheon at Reserve Officer Association “Top of the Hill”

12:30 – 14:00 Luncheon Keynote: Dr. Karen St. Germain, Director, Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning NOAA/NESDIS


Date: July 13, 2017

Location: Hart Senate Office Building, Room: SH-216, Luncheon at Capitol View at 400, 444 North Capitol St NW, Washington, DC 20001

07:30 – 08:00 Registration

08:00 – 08:15 Opening Keynote: Congressman Brian Babin

08:15 – 08:30 Keynote: Congressman Derek Kilmer

08:30 – 09:15 Session 1: National Security: Shifting Paradigms in Government-Industry Partnerships
Over the past decade, the traditional roles of government and industry have been changing as private sector investment in space technology has increased, commercial applications have proliferated, and the pace of technology innovation has greatly accelerated. Both new and traditional space companies have struggled with a government acquisition system that is slow and cumbersome and unable to match the pace of change. This panel will discuss how companies large and small and government entities are collaborating to build new relationships that can take full advantage of the changes taking place in the aerospace industry.

  • Moderator: Ray O. Johnson, Executive in Residence, Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Colonel Shahnaz M. Punjani, USAF, Director, Operationally Responsive Space Office, Space and Missile Systems Center
  • Russ Matijevich, Hawkeye360
  • Wallis Laughrey, Vice President of Space Systems, Raytheon
  • Kay Sears, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development for Space Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
  • Debra Facktor Lepore, VP/GM, Strategic Operations and Commercial Aerospace Business Unit, Ball Aerospace

09:15 – 9:30 Morning Keynote: Congressman Jim Banks

09:30 – 9:45 Break and Networking

09:45 – 10:45 Session 2: Making Stuff Up! (Building Things in Space)
Earth has supplied everything we have used in space, but space manufacturing can change that. NASA and industry have begun bringing manufacturing to space, with 3D printing on the International Space Station, innovative pharmaceutical and other research, and advanced robotics capabilities. Where is this technology taking us and how does it change our future in space? This session brings together experts and thought leaders on space manufacturing who are literally making stuff up (in space).

  • Moderator: Carissa Christensen, CEO, Bryce Space and Technology
  • Andrew Rush, CEO, Made In Space
  • Dr. Corky Clinton, Associate Director, Technical Science and Technology Office, NASA MSFC
  • Pam Melroy, NASA/DARPA, retired

10:45 – 11:00 Closing Keynote: Congresswoman Barbara Comstock

11:00 – 12:00 Session 3: Space Market Awakens
New commercial markets in space are emerging and the fundamental drivers for these markets are new commercial opportunities. This panel will focus on these commercial opportunities and detail the relevant and serious commercial drivers supporting the industry beyond communications and remote sensing. This unique panel will cover exciting details on technical developments in suborbital spaceflight, orbital crew transportation, orbital space habitats, satellite servicing, and space resources.

  • Moderator: Lori Garver, Air Line Pilots Association and Brooke Owens Fellowship Program
  • Brad Cheetham, CEO/President, Advanced Space
  • Mike Gold, Vice President, Washington, D.C. Operations, SSL
  • Dr. Erika Wagner, Business Development Manager, Blue Origin
  • Michael López-Alegría, Axiom Space

12:30 – 13:30 Luncheon at The Capitol View at 400 – sponsored by Ball Aerospace

Lunch Keynote: Dr. David A. Hardy, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force (Space), Office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.


Date: July 14, 2016

Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 106; Luncheon at Reserve Officer Association building, at the Top of The Hill, 1 Constitution Ave NE

07:30 – 08:00 Registration and Welcome Breakfast – sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation

08:00 – 08:15 Kick-Off: Rep. Jim Bridenstine, (OK)

08:15 – 09:15 Session 1: Traffic Cops in Space

  • Moderator: Richard DalBello, Vice President, Virgin Galactic
  • Benjamin Roberts, Assistant Director, Civil and Commercial Space, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Travis Langster, Vice President, Analytical Graphics
  • David Cavossa, President, Space 2.0 Consulting (for Orbital ATK)
  • Brian Weeden, Senior Technical Advisor, Secure World Foundation

09:15 – 9:30 Morning Keynote: Rep. Bill Posey (FL)

09:30 – 9:45 Coffee Break and Networking – sponsored by Orbital ATK

09:45 – 10:45 Session 2: Wicked Cool Space Technology – A New Hope

  • Moderator: Carissa Christensen, Managing Partner, The Tauri Group
  • Dr. Alberto Conti, Astrophysicist and Innovation Manager, Northrop Grumman
  • Dr. Jay Falker, Program Executive, NIAC & CIF, NASA Headquarters
  • Philippe Moreels, Head of Strategy and Business Development, Astroscale PTE. LTD
  • Will Porteous, General Partner & Chief Operating Officer, RRE Ventures

10:45 – 11:45 Session 3: Almost Space – UAVs, Balloons and Virtual Reality

  • Moderator: Bradley Cheetham, CEO/President of Advanced Space, LLC
  • Jack Elston, CEO, Black Swift Technologies
  • Bradley Farquhar, Space Entrepreneur and Former Director of Business Development at SpaceVR
  • Dylan Taylor, Super Angel & Founding Partner, Space Angels

11:45 – 12:00 Highlight Presentation: Brett Alexander, Director, Business Development and Strategy, Blue Origin

12:30 – 13:30 Luncheon at the Reserve Officer Association Building, Top of the Hill – sponsored by Ball Aerospace

  • Lunch Keynote: Lt. General Jay Raymond, United States Air Force
  • Introduction: Debra Facktor Lepore, Ball Aerospace

Date: July 16, 2015

Location: Reserve Officer Association building, at the Top of The Hill, 1 Constitution Ave NE

07:30 – 08:00 Registration and Coffee – Sponsored by Raytheon

08:00 – 08:30 Keynote, Rep. Mo Brooks, (AL)

08:30 – 08:45 Keynote: Rep. Donna Edwards, (MD)

08:45 – 09:45 Panel 1: Big Smart Data
Having a lot of data is good, having the right data is better. The challenge of synthesizing mountains of data into actionable information presents an incredible opportunity. This panel will include companies that focus on collecting data from platforms in the air, space, and cyberspace as well as companies that are working to translate this data into useful information. A specific emphasis will be placed on the evolution from big data to smart data.

  • Moderator: Brad Cheetham, Chief Operating Officer at Black Swift Technologies
  • Andy Hock, Acting Head of Products and Applications, GOOGLE + Skybox Imaging
  • Dr. Peter Wegner, CTO, Black Sky
  • Michael Brett, CEO, QxBranch
  • Cathy Rodenbeck Reese, Big Data and Analytics, IBM

09:45 – 10:00 Keynote, Senator Cory Gardner (CO)

10:00 – 10:15 Coffee Break – Sponsored by ULA and Lockheed Martin

10:15 – 10:25 Keynote: Rep. Steve Knight, (CA)

10:25 – 11:15 Panel 2: Wicked Cool Space Technology – Sponsored by Northrop Grumman
Which cutting edge technologies and brave new applications are poised to transform the space and satellite industry? Industry experts will discuss recent leaps forward in exciting areas of the space and satellite industry. Key decision makers from industry and government entities will highlight far-reaching future concepts being pursued that will redefine the space industry of the future ranging from flat panel phased array antennas to rocket planes to Airships on Venus.

  • Moderator: Carissa Christensen, Managing Partner, The Tauri Group
  • Chuck Beames, President, Vulcan Aerospace
  • Greg Lee, VAMP Program Manager, Northrop Grumman
  • Antoine de Chassy, VP, Business Development, Spire Global, Inc.
  • Nathan Kundtz, PhD, President and CEO, Kymeta

11:15 – 11:25 Keynote Speaker: Pam Melroy, Deputy Director, Tactical Technology Office, DARPA

11:25 – 11:30 Coffee Break – Sponsored by OrbitalATK

11:30 – 12:30 Panel 3: Transformers, Leading Industry Titans Evolve
The competitive landscape for the space and satellite industry is undergoing dramatic shifts as technology billionaires and scrappy start-ups enter the field. With these new ideas and financial resources comes opportunities as well as risks for established space and satellite companies. This panel will address how aerospace industry titans are evolving in the context of new players, new technologies, new opportunities, and existing high expectations.

  • Moderator: Warren Ferster, Editor of SpaceNews
  • Marc C. Johansen, Vice President, Satellites & Intelligence Programs, National Security and Space Government Operations, Boeing
  • Charlie Precourt, Vice President and General Manager, Space Launch Systems, OrbitalATK
  • Neal Anderson, Vice President, Technology Development, DigtialGlobe
  • Robert L. Curbeam, Jr., Vice President and Deputy, Space Systems, Space and Airborne Systems, Raytheon

1:00 – 14:30 Lunch Keynote: Susan (Sue) Gordon, Deputy Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) – Sponsored by Ball Aerospace

Luncheon table sponsorships by: Ball Aerospace, AGI, the Tauri Group, Virgin Galactic, Lockheed Martin, SpaceNews, Avascent, Intelsat General, Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Rostrum, and Arianespace


Date: July 17, 2014

07:30 – 08:00 Registration and Coffee

08:00 – 08:30 Opening Keynote: Rep. Steven Palazzo, Chairman of the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics , US House of Representatives

08:30 – 09:30 Panel 1: Space Start-Ups That Actually Have Funding
Investment in space is growing; venture capital funds, angels, private equity groups, self-made billionaires, and banks are funding the business of space. This panel of space CEOs who have raised tens of millions will answer your questions. How did they do it? Who are their investors? What were their best strategies? And where do they see new money coming from for future space entrepreneurs?

  • Moderator: Carissa Christensen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, The Tauri Group
  • Eric Gundersen, CEO, Mapbox
  • Jeffrey Manber, Managing Director, NanoRacks
  • Robbie Schingler, President and COO, Planet Labs

09:30 – 09:45 Coffee Break

09:45 – 10:00 View From Pennsylvania Avenue

  • Richard DalBello
  • Chirag Parikh

10:00 – 10:15 Keynote Speaker: Rep. James R. “Jim” Langevin, House Armed Services Committee, US House of Representatives

10:15 – 11:15 Panel 2: Return of Wicked Cool Space Technology
Which cutting edge technologies and brave new applications are poised to transform the space and satellite industry? Industry experts will discuss recent leaps forward in exciting areas of the space and satellite industry from re-usable launch vehicles to in-space manufacturing. Key decision makers from industry and government entities will highlight far-reaching future concepts being pursued that will redefine the space industry of the future.

  • Moderator: Dr. Gordon Roesler, Program Manager, Robotic On-orbit Servicing, DARPA Tactical Technology Office, DARPA
  • Bretton Alexander, Director, Business Development and Strategy, Blue Origin
  • Jason Dunn, Co-Founder and Chief Technologist, Made in Space
  • Thierry Guillemin, Chief Technology Officer, Intelsat
  • David Lackner, Vice President Business Development, SSL
  • Dorothy Rasco, Deputy Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA

11:15 – 11:30 Keynote Speaker: Rep. Jim Bridenstine, Congressman, Oklahoma 1st District

11:30 – 12:30 Panel 3: Space and the Pacific Rim
This panel will explore specific opportunities and issues related to space in the Pacific theater. Panelists will touch on why space is critical to commercial, civil and military success as well as key risks to space assets. They will encourage interaction from the audience.

  • Moderator: Vice Admiral Lyle G. Bien, USN (Retired)
  • Colonel Alan Rebholz “Rebel”, Chief, Space Operations Division AF/A3SO, 1E935, US Air Force
  • Don Brown, Senior VP Strategic Planning, Newsat
  • Jessica Powers, Director for Space Policy Engagement, Under Secretary of Defense (Policy)
  • Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch Keynote: Sen. Martin Heinrich(NM)
Location: Reserve Officers Association of the United States 1 Constitution Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002


Date: July 17, 2013

7:30 – 8:00 AM Registration and Coffee
Dirksen Senate Office Building – Room G50

8:00 – 8:15 AM Featured Speaker: U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (CA), Vice Chairman, House Science Committee

  • Introduction by Brendan Curry from Space Foundation

8:15 – 8:25 AM Question & Answer with Dana Rohrabacher

8:30 – 9:45 AM Panel 1: Well Positioned – Space-Based Navigation and New Applications
Navigation from space has become integral to our everyday lives to the point where we can’t imagine our smart phones without GPS. The panel will discuss the latest ideas for GPS augmentation, the internationalization of space-based navigation systems and cutting edge applications harnessing the power of navsats. The advent of enhanced services, the potential for jamming or interference, and mind boggling new applications creating virtual worlds will be covered on this intriguing panel.

  • Moderator: Frank Backes, Chief Executive Officer, Braxton Technologies
  • Colonel Christopher Warack, Air Force Space Command
  • Dr. Dana K. Jackson, Vice President, Navigation Systems, Space SystemsCompany, Lockheed Martin
  • Kenneth Hodgkins, Director, Office of Space & Advanced Technology, U.S. Department of State
  • Asif Khan, Founder & President, Location Based Marking Association

9:45 – 10:00 AM Coffee Break – Sponsored by ASTRIUM

10:15 – 10:30 AM Featured Speaker: Douglas Loverro, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, U.S. Department of Defense

  • Introduction by Patrick Rayermann, Astrium Services

10:30 – 10:45 AM Featured Speaker: U.S. Senator Mark E. Udall (CO), Chairman, Strategic Forces Subcommittee

  • Introduction by Eric Stallmer, Analytical Graphics

10:45 – 11:45 PM Panel: Wicked Cool Space Technology – The Future Is Here Now
Which cutting edge technologies and brave new applications are poised to transform the space and satellite industry? Industry experts will discuss recent leaps forward in long-anticipated satellite business applications: all electric propulsion satellites and on-orbit servicing and emerging game changers like green propellant. Government researchers will highlight far-reaching future concepts being pursued by NASA and DARPA, including innovative spaceflight and nanotechnology.

  • Moderator: Carissa Christensen, Managing Partner, The Tauri Group
  • James B. Armor, Major General, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), Vice President, ATK Spacecraft Systems & Engineering Services
  • Michael L. Raftery, Director, International Space Station Utilization & Exploration, The Boeing Company
  • Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, Business Development Manager for Space Sciences & Technologies, Ball Aerospace
  • Dr. John (“Jay”) Falker, Program Executive, NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program
  • Dave Barnhart, Program Manager, Tactical Technology Office, DARPA (Space Projects)

11:15 AM – 11:25 PM Featured Speaker: U.S. Representative Trent Franks (AZ)

  • Introduction by Patrick Shannon, Orbital Sciences

11:45 AM – 11:50 PM
Walk to the Reserve Officers Association – 1 Constitution Avenue, NE, Washington, D.C. (Across the Street from the Dirksen Building)

11:50 – 12:35 PM Panel 3: Destined For Exploration – Where To Boldly Go?
The space community wants to visit asteroids, the Moon and Mars. New ventures are seeking billions to fly around Mars or to mine Near Earth Objects. Which destination holds the most promise for NASA, the science community and commercial exploitation? Where can we send explorers and safely return them to home here on Earth?

  • Moderator: Warren Ferster, Editor, Space News
  • Lori Garver, Deputy Administrator, NASA
  • Rep. Robert S. Walker (Ret.), Executive Chairman, Wexler & Walker
  • 12:35 – 1:30 PM Future Space Leaders Grant Program Luncheon

Keynote Address: Senator Bill Nelson, Florida

  • Introduction by Erin Hatch Neal, ATK

Date: July 19, 2012

7:30 – 8:00 AM Registration and Coffee

8:00 – 8:30 AM Morning Keynote Address: U.S. Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon, Chairman, House Armed Services Committee

8:30 – 9:30 AM Panel 1: Space Situational Awareness and the Orbital Environment
Space has become and increasingly congested and contested place in which to operate. The panel will discuss the challenges and obstacles facing government agencies and commercial satellite companies operating in a crowded orbital environment. The discussion will explore ways to improve space situational awareness – from radars to sensors to software – and look at how the public and private sectors can work together to reduce the potential for collisions, improve decision making and promote operational efficiencies in shared space.

  • Moderator: Warren Ferster, Editor, Space News
  • Major General Jay G. Santee, Principal Director, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Space Policy); Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Global Strategic Affairs); Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Washington
  • Todd Stiefler, Legislative Director, Senator Richard C. Shelby
  • Robert F. Minehart, Jr. Professional Staff, U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Tobias Nassif, Vice President, Satellite Operations & Engineering, Intelsat & Director, Space Data Association
  • Kathleen Kelly, Director of Satellite Operations, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

9:30 – 10:00 AM Cyber Keynote Address: U.S. Representative Ken Calvert, Member House Appropriations Committee

10:00 – 11:15 PM Panel 2: CyberSpace and CyberSecurity
Today’s United States runs on cyber capabilities. National security relies on cybersecurity. Agencies across the government struggle to meet critical cyber challenges. In an era of shrinking federal budgets, cybersecurity and cyberspace expenditures are growing. Our panelists will chart the future of federal cyberspace and cybersecurity — government needs, industry capabilities, policy challenges, and budget directions. The panel blends views from the White House, the intelligence community, the Department of Defense, and industry to deliver the full cyber picture.

  • Moderator: Carissa Christensen, Principal, The Tauri Group
  • Brigadier General Ian R. Dickinson (ret.) former Director, Communications and Information, Air Force Space Command
  • Paul Graziani, CEO, Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI)
  • Jim Kohlenberger, President, JK Strategies, former White House advisor to two Presidents, former chief of staff of Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)

11:15 – 11:30 AM Coffee Break – Sponsored by Arianespace

11:30 – 12:45 PM Panel 3: Leveraging Hosted Payloads and Next Generation Satellite Systems
Tight budgets are clashing with ever increasing government requirements for data and bandwidth. In response to these trends commercial satellite operators are offering the capability of hosted payloads and new broadband solutions to meet government demands with low cost systems and rapid deployment schedules. Can hosted payloads, mobile broadband satellites and next generation systems help fill the gaps and provide urgent capabilities to the warfighter?

  • Moderator: Brian Berger, Deputy Editor, Space News
  • Dr. Robie I. Samanta Roy, Professional Staff Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
  • Don Brown, Vice President of Hosted Payloads, Intelsat General Corporation
  • Donald L. Thoma, President, Aireon by Iridium
  • Dave Anhalt, Vice President, U.S. Government Solutions, Space Systems/Loral

12:45 – 1:00 PM Walk to the Reserve Officers Association for Lunch

1:00 – 2:30 PM Future Space Leaders Scholarship Luncheon
Keynote Address: Senator David Vitter, Member, Senate Armed Services Committee


Past Speakers

  • U.S. Representative Jim Bridenstine
  • U.S. Representative Ken Calvert
  • U.S. Representative Trent Franks (AZ)
  • Lori Garver, Former Deputy Administrator, NASA
  • U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (NM)
  • U.S. Representative James R. “Jim” Langevin
  • Douglas Loverro, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon
  • U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (FL)
  • U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo
  • U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher
  • U.S. Senator Mark E. Udall (CO)
  • U.S. Senator David Vitter

Grant Program

The Future Space Leaders Foundation (FSLF) is pleased to announce the 2021 Future Space Leaders Grant Program. Intended for U.S. graduate students and young professionals who are pursuing space- and satellite-related careers, the program will provide grants for participation in the 71st International Astronautical Congress (IAC) to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, USA, October 25 – October 29, 2021. In addition to attending the IAC, Grant Recipients will also be involved in supplementary career development activities in Dubai. These IAC-associated events include the Cross-Cultural Presentation Workshop, the United Nations/International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Workshop, the Space Generation Congress hosted by the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and the Young Professionals Workshop. These additional activities will necessitate Grantees’ presence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beginning on October 20, 2021.

2021 Grant Winners

Manwei ChanManwei Chan is an NSF Fellow and PhD Candidate in Aerospace Engineering at MIT, studying responsive, remote sensing satellite constellations. He wants to mature the commercial space ecosystem, eventually allowing more people and projects to utilize space. For his Master's degree, he wrote a guidance algorithm that would allow satellite servicing vehicles to dock with a tumbling object. He is also a 2019 Matthew Isakowitz Fellow, and while at NanoRacks, developed strategies for commercial space station applications. He is also the current international coordinator at Voyager Space, where he is working on developing international governmental and academic partners for Starlab and the rest of the Voyager ecosystem. Outside of academics he is involved with STEM outreach, organizing the MIT Space Seminar, MIT SpaceTech, and SGAC Fusion Forum, events geared toward young professionals and designed to inspire future generations of space enthusiasts. In his free time, he likes to ski, hike, and play football (soccer).

Vera DemchenkoVera Demchenko currently works as a Systems Test and Verification Engineer on the Lockheed Martin's Orion Program. In 2019, she completed her Astrophysics BA at University of Colorado Boulder. Vera is a Class of 2019 Brooke Owens Fellow, a young professional mentor for the Zed Factor Fellowship and Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, and an active member of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). She is passionate about commercial space programs and space sustainability. Previously, Vera has interned at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as the Outreach Coordinator and has worked as a Public Presenter at the Fiske Planetarium. She encourages young people from all backgrounds to pursue their professional development goals and takes great pleasure in being a mentor for the next generation.

Skylar EiskowitzSkylar Eiskowitz is an Aeronautics and Astronautics PhD student in the Engineering System Lab (ESL) at MIT. She was a 2018 Brooke Owens fellow and is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Fellowship, which helps support her research on autonomous satellite communication networks. Prior to her graduate studies, Skylar received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and has interned at Avascent, the Aerospace Corporation, and Raytheon BBN. Skylar is also involved in a research project where she builds machine learning models for financial options, and loves to share her passions for space systems, optimization, and finance through mentorship opportunities. In her free time, she enjoys pursuing hobbies of surfing, basketball, and volleyball.

Sorina Lupu is a 3rd year PhD student at Caltech, studying aerospace engineering. She has two master degrees, one from Caltech in space engineering and another one from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne in Robotics and Autonomous Systems. Sorina is also an affiliate of the Keck Institute of Space Studies (KISS), a 'think and do tank' that develops revolutionary new science approaches, technology, and mission concepts. Sorina’s current research focuses on autonomy, control, and machine learning applied to robotics and spacecraft. Her research was published in prestigious journals such as Science Robotics. Before coming to Caltech, she led numerous teams during her master’s and bachelor's studies. For example, she led the first Swiss team to participate in the Spaceport America Cup, the biggest rocket competition for students, and the first Romanian team to participate in the REXUS/BEXUS rocket project. In addition, she won numerous awards like the Amelia Earhart Fellowship, given by Zonta International and the Anita Borg Women Techmakers given by Google.

Chris NieChris Nie is the Senior Business Development Manager for Advanced Programs at Sierra Space, a commercial space company building platforms in space to benefit life on Earth. Chris identifies new business opportunities across government and commercial markets in this role. Prior to Sierra Space, Chris worked at Lockheed Martin in business development for deep space exploration missions and as an engineer on multiple programs including Orion, LunIR, and GPS III. He worked at BioServe Space Technologies during his Master’s Degree and spent time as a co-op at NASA Johnson Space Center, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Air Force Research Laboratory. He is active in the Space Generation Advisory Council where he previously managed the Space Generation Congress, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics serving leadership positions in multiple committees, the International Astronautical Federation, and is an alumnus of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. He is honored to have been named a Future Space Leaders Foundation Fellow, a Space Generation Leadership Award recipient, and an Aviation Week Twenty20s awardee as a rising leader in Aerospace and Defense. Chris graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering Sciences focused in Bioastronautics.

Cadence PayneCadence Payne (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. She's a member of the Space Telecommunications, Astronomy and Radiation lab where she specializes in CubeSat mission and payload design for Earth observing missions. Since coming to MIT, she’s been involved with 8 CubeSat missions, some of which she served as lead Systems Engineer and/or Project Manager. Her dissertation work involves the design of CubeSat-based hyperspectral imaging payloads that monitor fluctuations in ocean behavior to inform climate change mitigation strategies and climate models. Outside of academic endeavors, she's also heavily involved with Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI), mentoring, and outreach initiatives at both departmental and institutional levels, as well as with Career Girls and #BlackInAstro. She extends these efforts as a member of the GEM, Matthew Isakowitz, and Patti Grace Smith Fellowship programs. ​Prior to coming to MIT, Cadence earned a B.S. in Space Science from Morehead State University in Kentucky, her home state. She also holds a S.M. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT’s AeroAstro department.

Esther PutnamEsther Putman is a Bioastronautics Ph.D. student studying virtual reality astronaut training at the University of Colorado Boulder. She received a B.S in Neuroscience and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Kentucky in 2019. In 2021, she received a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an M.E. in Engineering Management from the University of Colorado Boulder. She has followed her passion for the future of humans in space as a Parabolic Flight Coach for Zero Gravity Corporation, a Research Payload Systems Engineer with Space Tango, and a Space Life Sciences Training Program Researcher at NASA Ames. She received a 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and 2018 Women in Aerospace and Astronaut Scholarships. She was also selected as a 2018 Brooke Owens Fellow, where she worked with Earth Observation teams at Vulcan Inc. to address global issues in climate change and illegal elephant poaching. She advocates for research funding for the International Space Station by speaking to policy makers about how access to space improves life on Earth. Esther has a strong passion for STEM education and showing students how they can become involved in space exploration, leading hands-on STEM outreach activities with middle and high school students across the nation.

Jack ReidJack Reid (he/him) is a PhD student working in the Space Enabled Research Group at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the use of Earth Observation (EO) technologies for sustainable development. His IAC paper details the framework that he and his collaborators use to ensure that such EO applications are participative and targeted towards the needs of all stakeholders, not just the wealthy and powerful. In addition to his research work, he is very involved in advancing policies that benefit graduate students, including facilitating the recent launch of the Graduate Research and Development (GRAD) Caucus in the US House of Representatives. Prior to his PhD program, he completed a dual masters in Aeronautics & Astronautics and Technology Policy from MIT. His undergraduate was at Texas A&M University, where he received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. in Philosophy.

Aaron ZuchermanAaron Zucherman is a Matthew Isakowitz Commercial Space Fellow and Systems Engineering Ph.D. Candidate at Cornell University. His experiences in the space industry range include roles as an engineer, researcher, business developer, project manager and policy analyst at 2 Federal Research labs (The Aerospace Corporation and Los Alamos National Labs) and 5 private businesses (AeroVironment, Ecliptic Enterprises, Altius Space Machines, Twiggs Space Lab and Kentucky Dataseam initiative). Aaron is an active member in several space research groups and projects including NASA’s Small Satellite Reliability Initiative, the Space Generation Advisory Council, INCOSE’s Space Systems Working Group and the Small Payload Ride Share Association’s Multi-Manifest Design Specification project. Through these organizations, he has supported research on a variety of topics such as responsive space enterprises, spacecraft regulatory compliance, leveraging commercial terrestrial capabilities in space, enabling modular and interoperable space platform solutions, and the insertion of new and game-changing technologies and innovations into heritage organizations. As a 2021 graduate of NASA’s Planetary Science Summer School, and a mission manager for two academic Cubesat missions (NMTsat and Cislunar Explorers), Aaron’s academic experience spans from the study and design of Earth-orbiting and Interplanetary CubeSats missions and proposals, to the application of systems engineering methodologies, agile technology development processes and risk and cost analysis techniques to space technology development efforts. As of May 2022, Aaron has authored 19 published papers and has given over a dozen technical presentations at various conferences including the CubeSat Developers Workshop, AIAA Small Satellite Conference, IEEE Aerospace Conference, and International Space Development Conference. He is also an active mentor in several educational and professional development programs through the SGAC, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Scouts BSA. Aaron attended Morehead State University’s Space Systems Engineering MS program and graduated with honors from New Mexico Tech with an BS in Mechanical Engineering.


Tatem Burns has a Masters degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from DePaul University in Chicago, IL and is in the process of earning doctoral candidacy in this field of study. As a graduate student, her passion lies in conducting research on individual differences, gender differences, and team composition. She conducts research for two NASA-funded grants, the work of which brings a multifaceted approach to understanding and optimizing crew relations in simulated space mission teams by considering the person, the team, and the context. Her paper at the IAC examines how crew differences in gender and personal values predict crew relations, findings of which can help inform team composition decisions for long duration space exploration.

Liz De La Torre has a BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design, designing vehicles and environments for feature film. Liz uses creative methods to imagine the future of technology in space. She is a Creative Technologist, MS Candidate and Research Assistant at the MIT Media Lab, hailing from The Studio at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where for 5 years, she worked on creative projects for various space missions and pre-mission formulation for future missions. Her current research examines the intersection of creativity and aerospace, and how creative techniques are of benefit to space technology innovation. Lizbeth is also a consultant with The Science and Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that connects entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers to create a synergy between accurate science and engaging story lines in both film and TV programming. This summer, she is a Graduate Associate Intern with Disney, learning from the Imagineering process and how it might benefit space. She plans on returning to JPL to support space technology innovation.

Conor Duggan serves as the Business Development Manager for Aerospace at the Washington State Department of Commerce, where he manages the state’s aerospace business development portfolio and is working to strengthen and grow Washington’s aviation, space, and drone industries. Prior to joining the state government, Conor worked for Moon Express and gained industry expertise in government affairs, business development, marketing, and communications. Combined with previous experience in international relations at NASA Headquarters and NASA Ames Research Center, he has become adept at bridging the divide between business and government in the aerospace sector. Conor also founded Project Human, a grassroots campaign to capitalize the letter H in Human in order to promote the idea that being Human is part of our individual and global identity. Conor earned a B.S. in Political Science from Santa Clara University, where he became passionate about the role of science and technology policy in fostering global peace, progress, and prosperity.

Tanya Harrison lives in Washington DC as the Account Manager for Scientific Users at Planet Federal. She holds a PhD in Geology with a specialization in Planetary Science and Exploration from the University of Western Ontario. Tanya is considered a passionate advocate for Mars and a social media influencer, using Twitter for public outreach about space. She spent 4 years working in mission operations as an Assistant Staff Scientist at Malin Space Science Systems on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI), as well as the Mast Cameras (Mastcam), Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), and Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) aboard the Curiosity rover. Later at Arizona State University she worked in mission operations for the Panchromatic Camera (Pancam) aboard the Opportunity rover and held the position of Director of Research for the Space Technology and Science Initiative for 3 years. Currently she also serves as the youngest member of the Board of Governors for the National Space Society.

Caroline Juang is an incoming Ph.D. student in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and formerly the project coordinator for the NASA citizen science project Landslide Reporter at Science Systems and Applications, Inc./NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. At NASA, Caroline launched the project and handled all aspects from outreach to data analysis with the help of the GSFC team. Previously, she interned as a Brooke Owens Fellow at Bryce Space and Technology. On the side, she volunteers with the Brooke Owens Fellowship and the Space Generation Advisory Council, motivated by her passion to increase access to opportunities in space. Caroline graduated in May 2017 with an A.B. in Earth & Planetary Sciences and a minor in Environmental Sciences and Public Policy from Harvard University. She is the only applicant accepted for a Plenary in IAC this year.

Steven Ramm works at Lockheed Martin Space as a Systems Engineer and the Commercialization Lead in Advanced Programs. Based in Denver, Steven helps shape and execute human space exploration projects such as NASA’s Lunar Gateway, Commercial Lunar Payload Services, and the Orion Commercial Payloads effort announced at IAC last year. Steven aspires to create a future where humanity has established a sustainable presence and vibrant economy on the Moon, harnessing deep space resources to improve life on Earth and propel us farther into the solar system. Prior to Advanced Programs, Steven performed Flight Test Integration on the Fleet Ballistic Missile Program in the Bay Area. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. Outside of work, Steven shares his passion for space by being very active in the local community, performing various outreach activities to encourage younger generations to pursue careers in space.

Dr. Todd F. Sheerin will be joining The Aerospace Corporation in the Vehicle Design and Innovation Department this August where he will focus on spacecraft systems engineering for civil, commercial, and defense sectors. Todd recently completed his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received fellowships from the Draper Fellow Program (2014-2019), the Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (2016-2019), and the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program (2018). Todd’s doctoral research focused on a first-of-its-kind optical atomic clock for GPS-denied positioning, navigation, and timing for which he led systems integration, thermal control design, atom-laser interactions modeling, and frequency reference instability investigations as part of a DARPA program and a Draper-NIST collaboration. Prior to his doctoral research, Todd led a variety of technology development and space systems maturation efforts at Draper, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and NASA directing three separate microgravity flight campaigns and working on projects ranging from astronaut mobility systems to reconfigurable spacecraft, small satellite deployables, lunar and low-gravity hoppers, high power solar electric propulsion and spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control. Todd received his Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Harvard University.

Caleb Williams is the Lead Economic Analyst at SpaceWorks Enterprises where he oversees delivery of business strategy and economic analysis engagements for private-sector clients. During his time at SpaceWorks, he has served as the principal analyst for more than 15 engagements, covering topics ranging from Lunar Landers to additively manufactured rocket engines. Caleb is particularly interested in enabling wide-spread commercialization of outer space and his commentary regarding the commercial space industry has been widely featured across Forbes, WIRED, SpaceNews, Aviation Week and many others. In addition to his professional work, Caleb currently serves as an Advisor to the Symposium on Space Innovations at the Georgia Institute of Technology and previously served as the Principal Investigator for the Solar Crafting project in NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Design Challenge. He received undergraduate degrees in Marketing and Economic Consulting from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Melodie Yashar is an architect, designer, and researcher. She earned a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI) within the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University as well as a Masters In Architecture at Columbia University. Melodie is a Senior Researcher within the Human Computer Interaction lab within the Human Systems Integration Division of NASA Ames. She is also co-founder and member of SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture), a group which won NASA’s Phase I and Phase III 3D-Printed Habitat Competition, and has since been collaborating with researchers at NASA Langley to realize a sub-scale demo for a future Martian ice habitat.


Chris Beauregard is a second-year graduate student at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, where he is studying the intersection of space policy and commercial activity, and a member of the International Space University Space Studies Program class of 2018. During his studies, he has supported several organizations in various capacities, including United Launch Alliance, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, European Space Policy Institute, and the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. He currently volunteers as a regulatory compliance advisor for the Micropropulsion and Nanotechnology Laboratory to support the launch of GWU’s first satellite, and is the manager for the SGx Conference. His authored and co-authored works have been published by the Journal of Science Policy and Governance, International Association for Advancement of Space Safety, International Astronautical Federation, European Space Policy Institute and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Stephanie Booth, a data professional at Bryce Space and Technology, leads analytics and knowledge management initiatives for government and commercial space clients. Her passion lies in the optimization and digital transformation of aerospace organizations through actionable insights gained from both big and small data. Stephanie also brings relevant interdisciplinary experience in microbiology, virology, and homeland security to the aerospace community. She holds a M.S. in Computational Science and Informatics from George Mason University and a B.S. in International Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Hiroshi Furuya is a recent NASA Space Technology Research Fellow investigating the development of augmented reality technology for use in manned space flight operations. During the course of this work, he led the development and evaluation of a prototype augmented reality application to guide astronauts in completing cargo logistics operations, which he will present at IAC. His passion is engineering and advocating for the integration of augmented reality technology in manned space exploration efforts. Previously, he interned as a Testing and Evaluations Scholar at Arnold Engineering Development Complex, White Oak Hypervelocity Wind Tunnel 9. He received his M.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University and his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Emily Petersen is a graduate student in Aeronautics & Astronautics at Purdue University, having earned her B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from Michigan Technological University (’17). She has earned highly competitive internships at NASA LaRC, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. She presented her work in artificial gravity design and strategic business development at the 2016 IAC and the 2018 International Space Development Conference, and she looks forward to being a speaker at this year’s IAC in Bremen. Her prior research has ranged in focus from additive manufacturing economics to composite materials to high-temperature alloys, culminating in 4 journal publications and numerous speaking engagements at local, national, and international conferences.

Barret Schlegelmilch recently graduated from the MIT Leaders for Global Operations program with an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics and an MBA. He earned his BS in Astrophysics from UCLA in 2011 and is a former U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine Officer. He will be joining Blue Origin’s Advanced Development Programs division after completing the 2018 International Space University Space Studies Program. Barret’s passion is working towards the future of humanity being an interplanetary species, and he still has the dream of becoming an astronaut one day. His hobbies include ultramarathons, exploring remote locations (most recently the North Pole and a marathon in Antarctica), and drumming.

Lauren Smith currently works at Northrop Grumman as the Mechanical Test Engineering Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and has also supported as the JWST Integration and Test Non-Explosive Actuator Lead. Before JWST, Lauren held diverse roles in air and space, most recently as a program manager for NG Next. In this role, she led rapid design and strategy development for new space systems and small satellites. Prior to joining Northrop, Lauren worked at NASA Glenn Research Center as an engineer in the Simulated Lunar Operations Lab; she conducted her thesis research there and developed a novel, patent-pending locomotion mechanism that increases robot mobility. Lauren graduated from Case Western Reserve University with an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, B.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, and a minor in Political Science. Outside of work, Lauren serves as the U.S. National Point of Contact for the Space Generation Advisory Council, which represents young space professionals to the United Nations. She is also the vice president of Caroline’s Project, a nonprofit that awards scholarships to girls who wish to attend STEM summer camps.

Jeffrey Stuart is a member of Mission Design and Navigation Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, having received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2014. While at JPL, he has worked on a variety of missions in flight and development, including as the MDNav lead for the SunRISE heliophysics mission proposal. Jeff actively explores and develops a wide range of aerospace topics, including automated trajectory design, advanced navigation techniques, combinatorial optimization, interactive visualization methods, and formation flying. Beyond his technical work, Jeff seeks to grow JPL’s research capabilities by leading the New Researchers Support Group and pursuing strategic partnerships with several universities. In his free time, Jeff enjoys hiking, flying, travel, reading, and is passionate about helping foster the next generation of space explorers.


Deepak Atyam has co-founded and is running a NewSpace startup, Tri-D Dynamics, which focuses on mass producing liquid rocket engines for the burgeoning launch vehicle markets. He has received his M.S. in Aerospace Engineering with a Major focus in Manufacturing Engineering from Purdue University (’17) in addition to a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from UC San Diego (’15). Atyam has worked at Space-X, GLXP Team Moon Express, Purdue’s Zucrow Laboratory, NASA JPL (x2), LaRC (x2), and MSFC starting from the age of 17 and has led multiple successful NASA funded projects including the production and testing of the first and second fully 3D printed liquid rocket engine from a university. He founded and served as the President of the SEDS@UCSD and UCSD’s Triton Rocket Club. Atyam has also been selected as a Gordon Engineering Leadership Fellow, a University Innovation Fellow, a Kairos Fellow, Aviation Week’s 20Twenties in Aerospace, a Forbes 30 Under 30 Student Scholar, won multiple business plan competitions, and has 5 patents pending along with 1 patent allowed.

Sirisha Bandla currently works at Virgin Galactic in the D.C. operations office on Government Affairs and Business Development, supporting both LauncherOne and SpaceShipTwo programs. Previously, Sirisha served as the Associate Director for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, an industry association of commercial spaceflight companies, working on various policies with the aim to promote the commercial space industry. Before CSF, she worked as an aerospace engineer designing components for advanced aircraft at L-3 Communications. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in aeronautical/astronautical engineering from Purdue, and holds a Masters of Business Administration from the George Washington University.

John Conafay is a graduate of the design school at Arizona State University and veteran of the United States Air Force. He has worked with multiple labs and space initiatives at ASU before working as a Business Operations Intern at Spire Global in San Francisco, CA. Conafay was Treasurer and then Executive Director of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, USA. While in these roles he, with his phenomenal team, streamlined operations, finance, and accounting systems, invested the national endowment, spearheaded the first national rebrand in over 35 years, and raised over $500,000 for the organization. John is currently an analyst with Bryce Space and Technology, formerly as a contractor for NASA Headquarters before being asked to join the Bryce business development team.

Joshua W. Ehrlich is a Systems Engineer for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company working test & verification on the Orion European Service Module. His previous job experience includes integration and test on the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Veggie and Advanced Plant Habitat science payloads at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Prior work in research includes areas in advanced applications for composite materials, dual-axis wind turbine blade fatigue testing, and semi-closed cycle gas turbine systems. He has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a thesis defense focus on Lagrangian-point propellant depots for interplanetary missions to Mars. Joshua was selected as a crew member for HI-SEAS Mission V, serving as the Mission Specialist of Biology performing plant growth optimization with NASA’s Veggie ground test hardware during the 8-month Mars-simulated mission.

McClain Goggin is pursuing a masters degree in astrodynamics and space applications at Purdue University. He has lead the payload team on a NASA-funded CubeSat project, taken multiple space-policy study abroad trips, and worked internships at Cummins Engine Company, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and Northrop Grumman. His ultimate goal is to bring the durability and reliability of diesel engines to the space industry in order to allow more people to take advantage of space on a regular basis. He has a passion for building the future he wants to live in and the relationships with those he wants to share that future with. He loves working on difficult problems and looks forward to solving the problems that will arise as mankind ventures farther and farther into space.

Peter Schulte is currently a fifth year graduate student and National Science Foundation Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Peter is a PhD candidate in the Space Systems Design Laboratory under advisor Dr. David Spencer. His research career began as an undergraduate at The University of Texas at Austin, where he was involved in student satellite projects Bevo-1 and FASTRAC. His Master’s research at Georgia Tech involved development, integration, and testing of an autonomous Guidance, Navigation, & Control (GN&C) subsystem for the Prox-1 student satellite project. Peter’s PhD topic involves the development of a state machine architecture for aerospace vehicle fault protection.

Anna Thomas is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University studying hypergolic ionic liquids for application as green propellant alternatives. She obtained her B.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013. After which, she was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct combustion instabilities research at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. Since starting at Stanford University in 2014, Anna has completed her M.S. in aeronautics and astronautics with a research focus on propulsion technologies. Her research interests include propellant chemistry, combustion science, and chemical kinetics.


Travis Doom is an engineering graduate of Arizona State University. He started his career working for ASU’s highly-ranked science policy think tank in Washington, DC. Now as an aerospace analyst with The Tauri Group, Travis supports strategic investment planning across NASA’s technology portfolio, as well as in-depth market and industry studies. Travis’ goal as a Future Space Leader is to build strong linkages between the science policy and aerospace communities. Travis is excited to be participating at IAC 2016 in Mexico, especially as more countries emerge, seeking to leverage space capabilities to help address complicated issues, such as socioeconomic development.

Alexander Gibson is a Space Operations Officer in the US Army National Guard, Project Engineer in the Oil & Gas Industry, and Regional Coordinator for the Space Generation Advisory Council. He graduated from Imperial College London in 2006 with a BEng in Materials Science and Engineering, for which he studied micrometeorite impacts on the Hubble Space Telescope. He has had a lifelong interest in space, attending Space School UK and being the first British alumni of the European Space Camp in Norway. He is currently studying for dual Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Management at the University of Colorado, Boulder, specializing in Bioastronautics.

Tara Halt is a first year graduate student at George Washington University, where she studies International Science and Technology Policy with a concentration in Space Policy. In December, she graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Space Operations. She recently finished an internship at the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Previously, Tara has interned at NewSpace Global and the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

Kavya K. Manyapu is a Flight Crew Operations Engineer at the Boeing Company building the CST-100 ‘Starliner’ Spacecraft for NASA, and a Ph.D. Candidate in Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota researching technologies for planetary spacesuits. She has previously worked on the Orion program at Lockheed Martin and other space exploration projects. With a M.S from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics and a B.S In Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, she is interested in building technologies to propel human space exploration with a belief in the universal applicability of space research for the betterment & sustainability of our planet. Her paper at IAC Mexico focuses on new technologies for dust mitigation of lunar spacesuits. Kavya enjoys educating and inspiring students to pursue careers in STEM field.

Tomoya Mori is a young professional whose passion lies at the intersection of space exploration, business, education and multimedia. He recently graduated from Brown University with a B.A in Astronomy and now works at WayPaver Foundation as a research assistant, focusing on lunar resource acquisition, processing and storage. In 2014, Tomoya cofounded “Metaplaneta,” a creative think tank that promotes a multidisciplinary approach to space and has organized integrative space workshops in Japan, Singapore and USA. In addition, Tomoya is also an active science writer, and has contributed to Space.com, Air&Space Smithsonian Magazine and Wired Japan. At IAC, Tomoya will talk about the “Integrated Design Approach to Space Exploration,” an innovative discovery process that he has been developing to stimulate innovation by catalyzing interdisciplinary fusion within the space industry.

William O’Neill is a PhD student at Purdue University studying System of Systems Engineering. The main focus of his research is portfolio optimization of modular spacecraft in regards to deep space human exploration missions. Bill is also a graduate co-op at Johnson Space Center in the Flight Dynamics Division supporting the International Space Station and the Orion Vehicle.

Javier Stober is a Ph.D. Candidate in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, focusing on experimental investigations of hybrid rocket motors. Javier grew up in Florida, watching space shuttle launches and firing rockets of his own. He earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida in 2010, and a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in 2012. Javier has also worked in the aerospace industry at small and large, public and private organizations, including NASA, Boeing, and Space Propulsion Group, Inc.

Dr. Danielle Wood is a space systems engineer and researcher with expertise in technology policy for the US and emerging nations. She currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Previously, Dr. Wood held positions at the Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins University, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. Dr. Wood studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a PhD in Systems Engineering, M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, M.S. in Technology Policy and B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. At the 2016 IAC, Dr. Wood will present a paper on innovation dynamics within government agencies.

Brittany Zimmerman is from San Bernardino, California, and Stevens Point, Wisconsin. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. After graduation she was an Aerospace Systems Engineer for several years before returning to the world of academia where she is currently finishing her thesis for her Master of Science in Space Studies degree. She is a key member in the school’s rocketry team, leads the Dakota Space Society and can be found participating in volunteer and outreach activities weekly. Brittany is interested in engineering biospheres and life support systems for long-duration spaceflight with an emphasis on hybrid bioregenerative and physical-chemical systems.


Dr. Justin Atchison is a young professional who received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University in 2010. Dr. Atchison served as a graduate exchange researcher at JAXA in 2008 and now works at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as a mission design and navigation engineer. He is the Mission Design Lead for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which aims to test and characterize asteroid impact mitigation techniques, making our local solar system more accessible and secure.

Sarah Hefter Flanigan is a member of the Senior Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and holds degrees in Aerospace Engineering from both Virginia Tech and Cornell University. She was the Lead Guidance and Control Engineer on the MESSENGER mission whose spacecraft was the first to orbit Mercury. She is also the Deputy Lead Guidance and Control Engineer on the New Horizons mission whose spacecraft will fly by Pluto on July 14, 2015. She plans to share a paper on the much-anticipated New Horizons mission at the IAC.

Raphael Perrino is an M.A. student in International Science and Technology Policy with an emphasis in Space Policy at George Washington University, and plans to graduate in August 2015. He holds an M.S. in Technical and Scientific Communication from James Madison University and is an Eagle Scout. Mr. Perrino is an Aerospace Analyst at The Tauri Group and has worked on the GAO 2015 NASA Quicklook, FY16 NASA Budget Request, and Start-Up Space study. He has authored and co-authored several papers on Space Policy, including one on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program that he has submitted to this year’s IAC.

Jillianne Pierce, in her position as Government Affairs Associate for the Space Foundation, regularly interfaces with the Administration, Congress, and various federal and international departments and agencies to educate key decision-makers on issues of importance in the space policy arena. A member of the Florida bar, Jillianne earned a J.D. from the University of Miami and a B.A. from the University of Central Florida. Her IAC presentation will focus on how commercial imaging satellites can provide evidence of human rights abuses, and how such image-gathering influences the evolution of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine.

Julia Stalder is a young professional who plans to complete her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at UCLA in June of 2016. She currently works at the California Institute of Technology’s NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she has had the opportunity to work as a mechanical engineer on the Surface Water and Ocean Topography program for CNES and the ISS instrument RapidScat. Julia is a recent recipient of the NASA Early Career Achievement Honor Award. She is also the only applicant who is a panelist at the Next Generation Plenary.

Paul Warren is a student and young professional at Stanford majoring in Computer Science. He has helped organize and has participated in numerous space and zero gravity experiments, and is now the co-president of the Stanford Space Initiative (SSI). SSI will send the first university-built rocket to space, launch two satellites, send a weather balloon across the United States, and has generated enough interest in space for Stanford to create a new Aerospace and Aeronautics program within the next three years. Warren continues to use his experience and contacts within the space industry to help fellow students develop space related careers.


Alexander Burg is a Ph.D. student in Systems Engineering at The George Washington University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from MIT with a focus in astronomy and astrophysics and a Master’s Degree in Applied Physics from Johns Hopkins University with a focus on Space Systems. Before starting at GW, Alexander worked for nearly four years at Applied Research & Engineering Sciences (ARES) Corporation, specializing in risk analysis for NASA, the US Air Force, the US Navy, the US Marines, and Orbital Sciences. Alexander’s current research focus is on developing a new modeling approach that is grounded in empirical observation to understand the NASA innovation landscape, allowing him to answer questions about technology funding, mission planning, and workforce allocation.

Anne Caraccio grew up on Long Island, New York and earned her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Manhattan College. Ms. Caraccio came on board full time with NASA in 2011 after completing three semesters in the NASA Student Co-op Program. She is currently working as a chemical engineer on several projects that support deep space exploration. Her main project involves developing a system for recovering logistical waste from long duration space missions to produce usable gases for propulsion, environmental control, and life support systems. Ms. Caraccio also supports fiber composite repair technologies as well as chemical analysis investigation for projects such as Lockheed Martin’s EFT-1 Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Exploration Vehicle. As a crew member of the 2014 HI-SEAS Mars analog simulation, she supported a 120 day psychological study and performed various research projects while living in an isolated Mars-like habitat with an international crew. She is a graduate of the 2012 NASA FIRST leadership development program and also a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Florida.

Katrina Laygo is a recent graduate of the George Washington University, where she received her M.A. in International Science and Technology Policy with a concentration in Space Policy. Her research interests focus on civil and commercial space applications for support of maritime security, and on international space policy issues. Katrina graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2010, receiving her B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies and a minor in Geospatial Information Systems and Technology. During her graduate studies, Katrina completed field research in Manila, Philippines as a visiting scholar and Freeman Foundation Fellow, studying U.S. and Philippine policy issues related to the application of space technologies for support of maritime domain awareness in Southeast Asia. Katrina previously interned with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where she focused on national disaster management policy issues. Prior to the White House OSTP, she served as a Student Director and Research Scientist under NASA’s DEVELOP Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2010 – 2012) and at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (2012 – 2013) and was the recipient of a NASA Group Achievement Award in 2011. Katrina is a NASA Student Ambassador, was President of the George Washington Space Society (GWSS) at GWU, served as the Science and Technology Mentor at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Meeting, and is an active member of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) in support of the UN Programme on Space Applications. She enjoys running, reading, swimming, and pilot training.

Samantha Marquart is a PhD student in the Systems Engineering department at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. Her research with her advisor, Dr. Zoe Szajnfarber, focuses on the impacts of government policy decisions on space system architecture manufacturing and design. Samantha holds a M.A. in International Science and Technology Policy from the George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to her academic pursuits, Sam has held several positions in the aerospace industry. Most recently, she worked for Alliant Techsystems (ATK) as a Program Manager in Beltsville, MD. Prior to her work with ATK, Samantha worked for the Aerospace Industries Association in Arlington, VA and Virgin Galactic in Washington, DC and Mojave, CA. Sam currently sits on the national board of Women in Aerospace as an early career board member. She spends her free time volunteering with the MIT Alumni Association and the 10,000 Girls Educational Support Program in Senegal, West Africa.

Mandy Sweeney is an aerospace consultant with the Tauri Group. She served as a deputy program manager for a team of program analysts at NASA headquarters for 5 years and currently provides communication and coordination support to clients in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. Mandy is also an active volunteer in the Washington DC community. In 2013, she helped found the Museum of Science Fiction, a new nonprofit educational and cultural institution. She earned a BS in Economics from George Mason University and is currently completing her finance degree at Harvard University.


Jason Dunn, in 2008, formed his first company, Earthrise Space Incorporated (ESI). The mission of ESI was to give students firsthand experience building real space missions. The company had its kick-off by entering the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a private competition to land a robot on the surface of the Moon with a cash purse of 30 million dollars. Today ESI is the only entrant in this international competition to be formed and run entirely by students. Since its forming in 2008, ESI has made considerable progress towards the Moon, including winning a contract with NASA worth up to 10 million dollars to deliver data on its lunar mission. In 2010, Jason created his second space company, Made In Space (MIS). Made In Space is focused on bringing manufacturing technology to space in an effort to reduce, and one day remove completely, the need for space travelers to be “Earth dependent.” MIS is adapting 3D Printing technology to be used in space. Today the company is working under contract with NASA to develop and fly a 3D Printer on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2014. Made In Space is working step-by-step towards a day when entire space colonies are manufactured in space using no supplies from Earth. In late 2010, Jason also began work with Moon Express, another contender in the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Moon Express was formed during the Summer of 2010 by Jason’s mentor, Bob Richards. Bob hired Jason as the first Project Engineer with the company, where he began the work of helping rapidly build a company to do a lunar mission. Over time his role evolved into the Payload Project Engineer, managing all payloads that the company will be sending to the Moon. These payloads represent paying customers on each lunar mission. In January of 2013 Jason left Moon Express to dedicate his entire attention to Made In Space. Today you can find him at Made In Space Head Quarters at NASA Ames Research Park in Moffett Field, CA.

Paul Guthrie, a Senior Economist and Business Development Lead at the Tauri Group, is an expert in commercial space markets and multi-disciplinary technology investment management. He has conducted analysis for senior NASA leadership, and for many leading aerospace firms. Paul holds masters degrees from the Johns Hopkins University in Applied Economics, and the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington in International Science and Technology Policy. Paul is a former member of the United States Rowing Team (2003-2004), a Pan American Games Bronze Medalist (2003), and has won five US national championships as an Olympic Development rowing coach.

Aaron Olson was born in Kikwit, D.R. Congo and raised in Madison, WI, U.S.A. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2012 and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics, both at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his undergraduate education, Aaron studied abroad at the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace in Toulouse, France for a semester, and had internships at both NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA Langley Research Center. He was also part of the 2011 winning NASA Exploration Habitat competition student team that built an expandable module for NASA’S Deep Space Habitat Prototype. Aaron was the president of the UW-Madison chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, participated in NASA’s Undergraduate Microgravity Research program, and was also a crew member of the 110th Mars Desert Research Station Crew. Aaron is the 2013-2014 Dr. Laurel Salton Clark Memorial Graduate Fellow, as named by the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, and a graduate student in Fusion Technology Institute of the UW-Madison Engineering Physics department. He is researching the acquisition of lunar resources for power generation and life support purposes



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