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April 3-6, 2017 · Colorado Springs, Colorado USA

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Symposium Program

Mohammad Nasser Al Ahbabi, Ph.D

DIrector General
United Arab Emirates Space Agency

Mohammad Nasser Al Ahbabi, Ph.D

Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi was appointed Director General of the UAE Space Agency after having the responsibility of designing and creating the agency.  He leads a team of 50 who manage the UAE's space sector.  Ahbabi is responsible for realizing the agency’s goals of growing the space sector.  He has contributed and led numerous strategic projects in the ICT domain for the benefit of the UAE government. Ahbabi led a UAE Armed Forces Think Tank Project within the Centre of Excellence, where his role involved advising Military and Government at strategic levels on emerging concepts and technologies in the areas of Smart Defense, Cyber Warfare and Space developments. He was the head of YAHSAT MilSatCom and other Space Projects and has an active role in ITU-R, UN Space working groups and ICT professional associations. Ahbabi obtained his first bachelor's degree in the United States, then his master's of science degree and Ph.D. in the United Kingdom.

Jason Andrews

Chief Executive Officer
Spaceflight Industries

Jason Andrews

Jason Andrews is the CEO of Spaceflight Industries, a next-generation space company enabling access to space and redefining global intelligence. Andrews co-founded Spaceflight’s progenitor, Andrews Space in 1999, recognizing the tremendous opportunity to be a catalyst in the commercialization, exploration and development of space. Today, through its services Spaceflight and BlackSky, Spaceflight Industries enables timely and affordable access to space while redefining how we observe our planet in real time across every spectrum. This combination of innovative satellite design, rideshare launch offerings, global communications networking, and a geospatial intelligence platform provide the insights that transform how we view ourselves and the planet on which we live. Prior to Spaceflight, Andrews served at Kistler Aerospace Corporation in a range of leadership positions. He graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.

Daniel Baker, Ph.D

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics Director
University of Colorado Boulder

Daniel Baker, Ph.D

Dr. Daniel N. Baker is Director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado-Boulder and is Distinguished Professor of Planetary and Space Physics there. He holds the Moog-Broad Reach Chair of Space Sciences at CU. Baker obtained his Ph.D. degree with James A. Van Allen and subsequently held positions at Caltech, Los Alamos National Lab, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He has published about 700 papers in the refereed literature and edited eight books on topics in space physics. Baker is an Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2004) and awards include University of Colorado’s Robert L. Stearns Award for outstanding research, service, and teaching (2007); University of Colorado’s Boulder Faculty Assembly Distinguished Research Lecturer Award (2010); American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics James A. Van Allen Space Environments Medal (2010); American Astronomical Society Kavli Prize Lectureship (2015); and Vikram A. Sarabhai Professorship of the Indian Physical Research Laboratory (2015). He was the recipient of the 2015 Shen Kuo Medal of the International Association for Geomagnetism and Aeronomy. Baker is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics. He has served as chair of the National Research Council Committee on Solar and Space Physics, member of the National Research Council’s 2003 Decadal Survey Panel for solar and space physics, and member of the 2006 Decadal Review of the U.S. National Space Weather Program. He served as chair of the National Academies 2013-2022 Decadal Survey in Solar and Space Physics.

David Ball

Executive Consult
Envista Pty Ltd

David Ball

David Ball is presently an Executive Consultant with Envista Pty Ltd and is supporting several communications projects. Until July 2015, Ball was the Chief Technology Officer for NewSat Limited and was responsible for all technical matters relating to the Jabiru Satellite Program. Prior to joining Newsat in early 2011, hewas the Regional Vice President Asia-Pacific for Intelsat and also held that position for PanAmSat prior to the merger between PanAmSat and Intelsat in 2006. He also filled a variety of sales, customer engineering and product management roles for PanAmSat. Ball served as a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Air Force specializing in fixed, tactical and mobile communications systems management before joining PanAmSat in 1995. Ball holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree (Communications Engineering) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and a Graduate Diploma in Business Management from Deakin University.  

Winston A. Beauchamp

Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space; Director Principal DoD Space Advisor Staff
U.S. Air Force

Winston A. Beauchamp

Winston A. Beauchamp, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space, and the Director, Principal DoD Space Advisor Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. In this role, he is responsible for integrating and overseeing all DoD space capabilities and activities, coordinating with the Intelligence Community and providing support to the Secretary of Defense on space portfolio decisions. Additionally, as Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space, Beauchamp provides the principal support to the Under Secretary’s role as the Headquarters U.S. Air Force focal point for space matters and in coordinating activities across the Air Force space enterprise. Beauchamp earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh University and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Villanova University.

Brett Biddington AM

Principal, Biddington Research Pty Ltd
Chief Executive, IAC Adelaide

Brett Biddington AM

Biddington is the founder of a Canberra-based consulting company that specializes in space and cyber security matters from policy, advocacy and national capacity development perspectives, including education. He also addresses broader questions of institutional behavior, especially governance, leadership and strategy against backgrounds of uncertainty and technological change. He is a Director of Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) and is also a Director and the Treasurer of the Institute for Regional Security (IFRS, formerly the Kokoda Foundation). The IFRS is a Canberra-based "think tank" that addresses the long term national security challenges faced by the region, of which Australia is part. In October 2014, he led a successful bid on behalf of the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) to bring the International Astronautical Congress to Adelaide in September 2017. He is a past chair of the SIAA, and sits on several boards and committees concerned with the governance of Australia's space and astronomy activities and with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and outreach.

Elzbieta Bienkowska

Commissioner
European Commission

Elzbieta Bienkowska

Elzbieta Bienkowska is the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission and has held this role since 2014. As Commissioner, her responsibilities include reviewing the strategy for completing the single market of goods and services, including extending the list of products to be recognized in all EU countries and eliminating remaining obstacles. Bienkowska is also responsible for maintaining and reinforcing a strong and high-performing industrial base for our internal market by stimulating investment in new technologies, improving the business environments and easing access to markets and to finance. Before her role as Commissioner, Bienkowska was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Infrastructure and Development from 2013 to2014, the Minister of Regional Development from 2007 to 2013, and was the Director, Regional Development Office – Marshal’s Office of Silesia Region from 1999 to 2007. She holds a master’s degree in oriental philology from Jagiellonian University and a post-graduate diploma from the Polish National School of Public Administration. 

Kira Blackwell

Program Executive, Office of the Chief Technologist
NASA: Headquarters

Kira Blackwell

Kira Blackwell brings with her a wealth of experience in business management that began almost three decades ago with the management of a $3 million store at the age of 18. It is her entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity that has enabled Blackwell to build a diverse set of skills and strategically assist businesses for success across aerospace, biotechnology, and technology management. She has strong business acumen as a results-driven decisive leader and is experienced in establishing and managing diverse strategic partnerships with not-for-profit organizations, small start-up companies and fortune 500 corporations. In her role within the Office of the Chief Technologist, Blackwell is the Innovation Liaison supporting the NASA Deputy Administrators’ Innovation Framework, the agency's innovation strategy. Prior to joining our team, Blackwell managed her own consulting business working with several start-up companies, providing business solutions, leadership and business connections as businesses began to navigate through the business start-up process. She also contracted with Jacobs at the NASA White Sands Test Facility, developing quantitative Federal and State level support across New Mexico, identifying new business opportunities and initiating the discussions for a collaborative partnership with New Mexico State University. Blackwell graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston.

Zachary Bogue

Co-Managing Partner
Data Collective

Zachary Bogue

Zachary Bogue, co-Managing Partner of Data Collective, brings to bear over 15 years of experience in Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur, advisor, angel investor and attorney. At DCVC, Bogue’s investment interests include next-generation space informatics platforms like Planet Labs, where he sits on the board, AI-enabled global risk mitigation systems like Metabiota, and disruptive financial services platforms using machine-learning to serve the unbanked more quickly and fairly, like LendUp and Tala. Previously, Bogue co-founded and ran Montara Capital Partners, a real estate private equity fund, and he practiced law at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Bogue serves on the non-profit boards of the East Palo Alto Charter School and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Bogue graduated with honors from Harvard University in Environmental Science and earned his JD with honors from Georgetown Law School, where he was executive editor for The Tax Lawyer.

Professor Russell Boyce

Chair for Space Engineering
University of New South Wales - Canberra

Professor Russell Boyce

Professor Russell Boyce holds the position of Chair for Space Engineering at UNSW Canberra, where he leads the UNSW Canberra Space Research effort. He brings to this role a research approach developed throughout 25 years in the field of hypersonics, coupling computational and experimental research with flight testing, most recently via the SCRAMSPACE scramjet flight experiment program which he led as Chair for Hypersonics at the University of Queensland. Boyce also chairs the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Space and Radio Science, sits on the Executive Council of the Space Industry Association of Australia, and is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Lt. Col. Shelli Brunswick, USAF (Ret.)

Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer
Space Foundation

Lt. Col. Shelli Brunswick, USAF (Ret.)

Brunswick is the Chief Operating Officer for the Space Foundation, where she serves as a corporate officer, and is responsible for Space Foundation operations, facilities, processes and personnel. Functions reporting to her include education, philanthropy, marketing and communication, operations, human resources and administration, customer service, information technology, facilities, maintenance, security and assurance. She has primary responsibility for: Space Foundation headquarters; the Space Foundation Discovery Center; Washington, D.C., Operations; operational management of the annual Space Symposium, Space Technology & Investment Forum and the Faga Forum on Space Intelligence. Brunswick joined the Space Foundation in 2015 after a distinguished career as an acquisition and program management professional for the United States Air Force, and finished her career as a key leader within the Air Force Congressional Liaison office working both within the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. She was Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certified in Program Management Level III, Financial Manager Level II, and a certified Space Professional Level III by the United States Air Force Space Professional Functional Authority. Brunswick is the 2016 Chair of Women in Aerospace (WIA). She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern Colorado with a bachelor's degree in business administration, and earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. She is a Certified Project Management Professional through Project Management Institute, and was a Professor of Acquisition Management at Defense Acquisition University.

Lt. Gen. David J. Buck, USAF

Commander, 14th Air Force, Air Force Space Command
Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command

Lt. Gen. David J. Buck, USAF

Lt. Gen. David J. Buck is Commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), Air Force Space Command; and Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.  As the U.S. Air Force's operational space component to USSTRATCOM, Buck leads more than 19,500 personnel responsible for providing missile warning, space superiority, space situational awareness, satellite operations, space launch and range operations.  As Commander, he directs all assigned and attached USSTRATCOM space forces providing tailored, responsive, local and global space effects in support of national, USSTRATCOM and combatant commander objectives. His career spans a wide variety of command, operations, test and evaluation, and staff assignments. He has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels. His operational experience includes missile operations, space launch and range operations, satellite command and control, space force enhancement, and space control.  Buck served on The Joint Staff as principal military advisor to The Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff for Coalition Management. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Masters of Business degree in Administration, a Master of Science in National Security and Strategic Studies, a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy, and he is a Distinguished Graduate from the Squadron Officer School.

Robert D. Cabana

Director
NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center

Robert D. Cabana

Robert D. Cabana is a former NASA astronaut, currently serving as director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In his current role, Cabana manages all NASA facilities and activities at the spaceport, including the team of civil service and contractor employees who operate and support numerous space programs and projects. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Cabana graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and completed Naval Flight Officer training in Pensacola in 1972. Cabana was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 1985 and completed his initial astronaut training in July 1986. He was assigned to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Astronaut Office, serving in a number of leadership positions, including lead astronaut in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory; Mission Control Spacecraft Communicator, famously known as CAPCOM; and chief of NASA's Astronaut Office. In October 2007, Cabana was appointed director of NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. A year later he was reassigned as the tenth director of the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

Leanne Caret

President and Chief Executive Officer of Defense, Space & Security (BDS)
Executive Vice President, The Boeing Company

Leanne Caret

Leanne Caret is executive vice president of The Boeing Company and president and chief executive officer of Defense, Space & Security (BDS). She is a member of Boeing’s Executive Council. Named BDS president and CEO in February 2016, Caret leads the $30 billion business that provides integrated solutions to meet the needs of defense, government, space, intelligence and security customers in the United States and around the world. Previously, Caret was president of Boeing's Global Services & Support, the U.S. Department of Defense's largest performance-based logistics contractor and an industry leader in providing sustainment solutions for Boeing and select non-Boeing platforms. Before that she was Chief Financial Officer and vice president, Finance, for BDS.  Earlier she was vice president and general manager, Vertical Lift, where she was responsible for business growth and program execution for a portfolio of cargo, tiltrotor and attack rotorcraft. Caret holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Kansas State University and a master of business administration degree from Wichita State University. She also earned certifications from Harvard University in the Program for Leadership Development and the International Security Defense Program, and completed the Integral Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame.

Gwang-Rae Cho, Ph.D

President
Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

Gwang-Rae Cho, Ph.D

Dr. Gwang-Rae Cho is the President of Korea Aerospace Research Institute, a government-funded institute responsible for the development of aerospace technology in the Republic of Korea.  Prior to his appointment, Cho was executive director, where he developed the Korean Sounding Rocket-III and led the research and development program for the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-I, which was successfully launched in 2013.  Cho holds a doctorate in electronic engineering from Dongguk University.  He was awarded with Science & Technology Laurels and the Presidential Award.

Maj. Gen. Clinton E. Crosier, USAF

Director of Plans and Policy, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
U.S. Air Force

Maj. Gen. Clinton E. Crosier, USAF

Maj. Gen. Clinton E. Crosier is the Director of Plans and Policy, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. He is directly responsible to the USSTRATCOM Commander for the development and implementation of national security policy and guidance; military strategy and guidance; space and weapons employment concepts and policy; and joint doctrine as they apply to the command and the execution of its mission. Crosier attended Iowa State University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. He was commissioned and entered the Air Force in 1988 after receiving a degree in aerospace engineering. Crosier has a broad range of experience in ICBM and space operations, including a deployment to the Middle East as the USCENTCOM, Director of Space Forces. He has served in staff assignments in the U.S. Senate, Secretary of the Air Force's Action Group, Headquarters U.S. Air Force Office of Legislative Liaison, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, and Air Force Global Strike Command. His operational commands include the 2nd Space Launch Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, Calif; 50th Operations Group, Schriever AFB, Colo; and the 460th Space Wing, Buckley AFB, Colo. Prior to his current assignment, Crosier served as the Deputy Director, Global Operations, Global Operations Directorate, USSTRATCOM, Offutt AFB, Neb.

Sarah Cruddas

Space Journalist and Science Broadcaster

Sarah Cruddas

Sarah Cruddas is a space journalist and broadcaster. She has a BSc in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Leicester and a Masters in Broadcast Journalsm from the University of Westminster. On television Sarah can be seen covering  space on Sky News, as well as other national UK TV channels, including Channel 5, Channel 4 News and ITV. She also appears on screen on shows on National Geographic and The Discovery Channel as well as various BBC shows such as Coast and Horizons Business.  Sarah specializes in space exploration, but has reported on all aspects of science and technology from across the world including Rwanda, North Korea, Tibet and Eastern Europe. Her reports have featured on BBC Radio’s flagship ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ program, BBC World Service and across BBC News on-line. She is also an established writer, covering all aspects of space exploration for BBC Futures, New Scientists, The Sunday Times (London), CNN, The Royal Aeronautical Society and a host of other science publications. Away from journalism, Sarah works as a consultant for start ups in science and technology and as a corporate host for clients ranging from The European Union to Red Bull and Samsung. Sarah is passionate about STEM education and helping to inspire the next generation of space explorers. She is currently writing her first children’s book about space, to be published later this year by Dorling Kindersley.  

Lars Dyrud, Ph.D

Chief Executive Officer
OmniEarth Inc.

Lars Dyrud, Ph.D

Lars Dyrud received a bachelors of art in physics from Augsburg College conducting research ultra-low frequency geomagnetic pulsations. He was a as a Fulbright Scholar in space and plasma physics at the University of Oslo.. He received a Ph.D. from Boston University conducting doctoral research on auroral waves, turbulence and meteor trails, using theory, super-computer -plasma simulations, and observations. As a professional, Lars Dyrud has served as PI on grants and contracts from NSF, DOE NASA, Air Force, AFOSR, and Industry and is involved in basic and applied research in meteors, ionospheric plasma physics, space applications of tomography, software radio GPS and radar. He is the founder of the APL Center for Public/Private Partnerships and worked on AMPERE,  the NSF project to measure the aurora with Iridium, cubesat programs, and utilization of commercial assets such as hosted payloads and commercial sub-orbital for science as the PI of the GEOScan effort, ERIS climate constellation mission concept, RAVAN climate cube-sat, and an NSF project for rain measurement from consumer satellite TV.

Lynn Dugle

Chief Executive Officer
Engility

Lynn Dugle

Lynn Dugle is Engility’s Chief Executive Officer and also serves on the company’s board of directors. Dugle has served as a director on our board and a member of the Audit Committee since Feb. 26, 2015. She was a director of TASC from October 2014 to February 2015. Dugle joined Raytheon in April 2004, and served as the vice president of Raytheon Company and president of Raytheon IIS until her retirement in March 2015. She became president of the former Intelligence and Information Systems business in January 2009, and was previously its vice president and deputy general manager. Dugle serves as a director and member of the Audit and Technology Committees of State Street Corporation, and as a member of the Defense Science Board.

Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund

Chair of the Executive Board
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund

Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund is the current Chair of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Executive board as of August 17, 2015. She previously was a Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, and Lead Investigator at the NASA Astrobiology Institute. In 2005, Ehrenfreund was a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, and she held a professorship in Astrobiology at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Leiden before that. Ehrenfreund holds degrees in Astronomy and Biology at the University of Vienna, where she also earned her doctorate, and she has a Masters of Arts in Management and Leadership. Ehrenfreund accepted the honorary position of President of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in 2013, from which she stepped down upon her appointment at DLR.

Steve Eisenhart

Sr. Vice President - Strategic & International Affairs
Space Foundation

Steve Eisenhart

As head of international affairs, Steve Eisenhart is principally responsible for the Space Foundation's global strategy and relationships with international space agencies and organizations, foreign embassies and U.S. organizations involved with global space programs. He is directly responsible for the program development and integration of key Space Foundation activities including the annual Space Symposium. He also supervises the Space Foundation's government affairs activities in the Washington, D.C., office including relationships with government agencies, other space advocacy organizations and associations and corporate interests.  Since joining the Space Foundation in 1996, Eisenhart has had a broad range of responsibilities, serving as senior vice president of strategic communications, director of communications and public affairs and communications manager. Eisenhart was a military public affairs official and is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

ADM James O. Ellis, Jr., USN (Ret.)

Hoover Institution, Annenberg Distinguished Fellow
Chairman, Space Foundation Board of Directors

ADM James O. Ellis, Jr., USN (Ret.)

Admiral James O. Ellis, Jr. is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Stanford, California.  Ellis served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations from May 2005 to May 2012. Prior to retiring from active duty in July 2004 as a Navy Admiral, he served as Commander, United States Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. He has also served as Commander in Chief of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and as Commander in Chief of Allied Forces in Southern Europe. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Navy nuclear power training, the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun). Admiral Ellis is Chairman of the Board of Level 3 Communications and also serves on the boards of Lockheed Martin Corporation, Dominion Resources,  and the Space Foundation.  In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.  He holds master's degrees in aerospace engineering and aeronautical systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of West Florida.

Gen. David L. Goldfein, USAF

Chief of Staff
U.S. Air Force

Gen. David L. Goldfein, USAF

Gen. David L. Goldfein is Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. As Chief, he serves as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of 660,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general and other service chiefs function as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the President. Prior to assuming his current position, General Goldfein was the Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, where he presided over the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group. Before serving as the Vice Chief, General Goldfein was the Director, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. General Goldfein received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and is a command pilot with more than 4,200 flying hours in the T-37, T-38, F-16C/D, F-117A, MQ-9 and MC-12W. He has flown combat missions in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Allied Force and Enduring Freedom. 

Clay Jenkinson

Humanities Scholar and Historical Performer
Dakota Sky Education

Clay Jenkinson

Clay Jenkinson is a humanities scholar, author and social commentator who has devoted most of his professional career to public humanities programs and is considered one of the most entertaining public speakers in the United States. His performances are always humorous, educational, thought provoking and enlightening, while maintaining a steady focus on ideas. Jenkins is also one of the nation’s leading interpreters of Thomas Jefferson. He has lectured about and portrayed Jefferson in forty-nine states over a period of fifteen years. Clay also portrays Meriwether Lewis, John Wesley Powell, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Theodore Roosevelt, John Steinbeck and Sir Walter Raleigh. As the host of the nationally syndicated radio program The Thomas Jefferson Hour, as well as author, historical consultant on several documentaries for Ken Burns and HBO television, film maker and developer and host of annual historical symposiums, Jenkins is nationally known for his work. He is a Distinguished Scholar of the Humanities at Bismarck State College, as well as the president of Dakota Sky Education, Inc, the founder and Chief Consultant for the Theodore Roosevelt Center through Dickinson State University, as well as Chief Consultant  for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library  that is being constructed in Dickinson, North Dakota.

Gregory Johnson

Executive Director, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space
Former NASA Astronaut

Gregory Johnson

Gregory H. Johnson is the President and Executive Director for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). As executive director, Johnson is responsible for leading the CASIS staff to maximize utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) to benefit life here on Earth. CASIS identifies innovative applications and develops new partnership opportunities to promote utilization of our nation’s orbiting laboratory. Prior to CASIS, Johnson was a decorated officer and pilot with the United States Air Force. He flew 34 combat missions in support of Operation Desert Storm and 27 missions during Operation Southern Watch. In 1994, he became a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, where he flew and tested the F-15C/E, NF-15B and several other aircraft. Retiring as a Colonel after nearly 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, Johnson has logged over 5,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft. Johnson received his B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, his M.S. in flight structures engineering from Columbia University and his M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Janet Kavandi, Ph.D.

Director
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center

Janet Kavandi, Ph.D.

Dr. Janet L. Kavandi serves as Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.  In this position, she is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the activities required in accomplishing the missions assigned to the center.  Glenn is engaged in research, technology, and systems development in support of the nation’s space propulsion, space power, space communications, aeronautical propulsion, microgravity sciences, and materials development programs. Before coming to Glenn, Kavandi worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where she served as the Director of Flight Crew Operations. In this role, she was responsible for the Astronaut Corps and aircraft operations at Ellington Field. Kavandi was selected as a NASA astronaut in December 1994 as a member of the fifteenth class of U.S. astronauts. During her time in the Astronaut Office, she supported ISS payload integration, capsule communications, robotics, and served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. She is a veteran of three space flights, serving as a mission specialist on STS-91 in 1998, STS-99 in 2000, and STS-104 in 2001.  Kavandi has logged more than 33 days in space, traveling more than 13.1 million miles in 535 Earth orbits. Kavandri holds a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, a master of science degree in chemistry from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, and her doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Sylvain Laporte

President
Canadian Space Agency

Sylvain Laporte

Sylvain Laporte is the President of the Canadian Space Agency. Before being appointed, Laporte was the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, a federal organization responsible for enforcing the Patent Act and managing requests related to trademarks, copyright, industrial design protection and patents. In that role, he was also Commissioner of Patents and Registrar of Trademarks. Previously, Laporte held the position of Executive Director, Industrial Technologies Office, at Industry Canada, where he was responsible for managing financial contribution programs in research and development for the aerospace, defense, security and space industries. Before joining public service, Laporte worked for the Canada Post Corporation in various sectors, such as marketing, retail, logistics and information technology. He gained extensive experience as an aerospace engineer over the course of his 20-year career with the Canadian Forces and held various positions in fields such as engineering, maintenance, and human resource management. Laporte holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the Collège Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean and a master's degree in computer engineering from the Royal Military College in Kingston.

Jean Yves LeGall

President
Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES)

Jean Yves LeGall

Jean-Yves Le Gall is President of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the government agency responsible for shaping and implementing France’s space policy in Europe.  In this capacity, he is also interministerial coordinator for satellite navigation programs.  Le Gall has devoted his entire career to the European space program.  He joined Arianespace in 2001, heading up the company until his appointment as President of CNES. A trained engineer and scientist, he is Vice-President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), a member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and Vice-President of the "Space Circle", a French think-tank.  He also chairs the France-Japan business council of MEDEF International, the international arm of the French business confederation.  He has received multiple awards and accolades over the course of his career.  Le Gall holds the rank of officer in both the Legion of Honour and the National Order of Merit in France, and was awarded the Order of Friendship by the Russian Federation.

Kris Lehnhardt, MD

Attending Physician and Assistant Professor
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Kris Lehnhardt, MD

Dr. Kris Lehnhardt is an Attending Physician and Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at The George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine and Health Sciences, where he is the Director of the Fellowship in Extreme Environmental Medicine (FEEM) and the Introduction to Human Health in Space graduate course.  Dr. Lehnhardt is an Adjunct Professor at the International Space University where he has served for two years as the Chair of the Human Performance in Space Department for the Space Studies Program.  In addition, he is a medical specialist reservist in the Royal Canadian Air Force, an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner, a private pilot, and a PADI advanced open water SCUBA diver.

David Livingston, DBA

Founder and Host
The Space Show

David Livingston, DBA

Dr. David Livingston is the founder and host of The Space Show®. In the nearly 16 years and close to 3,000 interviews, its the nation’s only talk radio program exclusively focusing on space commerce, space tourism, and facilitating our becoming a space-fairing economy and society. Livingston is also the Executive Director of the Giant Leap Foundation, Inc., the 501(C)3 that controls The Space Show promote space education. Livingston is also an Adjunct Professor of Space Studies in the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota.  He has a bachelor's of art in political science, a master's of business administration specializing in international business management, and a doctorate in business administration. His dissertation was titled Outer Space Commerce:  Its History and Prospects

Dr. Naomi Mathers

Industry Liaison Engineer
ANU Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre

Dr. Naomi Mathers

Dr. Naomi Mathers is the Industry Liaison Engineer at the ANU Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC), Australia’s national space environmental test facility. Mathers is an active member of the Australian space industry. She is a Director of the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA), a member of the Local Organising Committee for the 2017 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) and she was a member of the former Australian Government Space Industry Innovation Council. Mathersrepresents Australia in a number of international forums including the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF), the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), and as a Board member of the DFAT Australia-Korea Foundation.

Todd May

Director
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Todd May

Todd May is director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Named to the position in February 2016, he heads one of NASA's largest field installations, with nearly 6,000 on- and near-site civil service and contractor employees -- including those at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which is managed by the Marshall Center -- and an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion. May manages a broad range of propulsion, scientific and space transportation activities contributing to the nation's space program.

2015 and served as acting director from November 2015 until being appointed director. Prior to that, he was manager of the Space Launch System program since August 2011.

From June 2008 until becoming SLS program manager, May was Marshall’s associate director, technical, where he was responsible for ensuring that all center activities, processes and policies are consistent with the nation's Space Exploration Policy.

A native of Fairhope, Alabama, May earned a bachelor's degree in materials engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, in 1990. His many awards include NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and the John W. Hager Award for professionalism in materials engineering. He has been named a Distinguished Engineer by his alma mater, Auburn University. In 2014, he received Aviation Week's Program Excellence Award, as well as the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation’s Stellar Award in recognition of the SLS team’s many accomplishments.

Francisco Javier Mendieta Jiménez, Ph.D

General Director
Mexican Space Agency

Francisco Javier Mendieta Jiménez, Ph.D

 Francisco Javier Mendieta-Jimenez is the General Director of the Mexican Space Agency. Prior to his appointment, he was involved in development projects on applications of optical fibers to electrical power systems at the Institute for Electrical Research, Mexico.  Mendieta-Jiminez previously served as Director of the Applied Physics Division and General Director of the Center for Scientific Research and High Education of Ensenada, Baja, California (CICESE), where he formed the optical communications group and laboratory and lead diverse research and development projects on optical telecommunications, free space optical satellite communications and detection. He was a candidate astronaut for the Space Shuttle program, and leader in CICESE of the SATEX 1 Project, which was a coordinated national effort to develop human resources in space sciences around a microsatellite project. Mendieta-Jiminez has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from National University of Mexico and his Certificate of Higher Studies and Doctor of Engineering degree from the National Superior School of Telecommunications, France, in the field of Optical Telecommunications.

Robert Meyerson

President
Blue Origin

Robert Meyerson

Robert Meyerson is the President of Blue Origin where he has overseen the steady growth of the company since 2003. Blue is developing reusable launch systems to enable a future where millions of people are living and working in space. Vehicles and technologies under development include the New Shepard system for suborbital human and research flights, the BE-3 LOX/LH2 rocket engine, the BE-4 LOX/LNG rocket engine, as well as orbital launch systems. Prior to joining Blue, Meyerson was a Senior Manager at Kistler Aerospace, responsible for the landing and thermal protection systems of a two-stage reusable launch vehicle, as well as all technical activities related to Kistler’s Space Launch Initiative contract with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Meyerson began his career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), where he led the aerodynamic design of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Drag Parachute, as well as the overall design, integration, and flight test of a gliding parachute for the X-38 Crew Rescue Vehicle project. He began his career as a cooperative education student at JSC. Meyerson earned a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in engineering management from the University of Houston. 

Ali Nasseri

Co-Chair
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC)

Ali Nasseri

Ali Nasseri is co-chair of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). He began working with SGAC in 2012 as a member of the Space Safety and Sustainability project group, and later moved to roles including executive secretary, member of the local organizing committee, co-lead SSS project group and operations manager of the organization. Nasseri holds a European Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher Fellowship at Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI) Foundation, where he works as part of the European ITN WALL project on the analytical modeling of magnetization dynamics in nanostructures. Prior to joining ISI Foundation, he conducted graduate research on developing surrogates for aerospace fuels at the University of Toronto, and worked on system level modeling and design optimization of space systems at the MDO Lab and the Space Systems Research Center at K. N. Toosi University of Technology. Nasseri is a member of the International Astronautical Federation's Space Education and Outreach Committee (SEOC), teaches outreach courses as part of the University of Toronto Engineering Outreach Office programs, mentors for the Ontario On-Line Research Co-op for high school students and is a Let's Talk Science volunteer.

Ger Nieuwpoort, Ph.D

Director
Netherlands Space Office (NSO)

Ger Nieuwpoort, Ph.D

Since 2009, Dr. Nieuwpoort has been Director of the Netherlands Space Office (NSO), which is responsible for developing and managing the space program of the Netherlands. Previously, he was director of the Netherlands Agency of Aerospace Programmes, which, due to government restructuring, became the NSO. After writing his thesis in chemistry, Nieuwpoort started working for the national government as a policy maker, head of a division for the ministry of Education and Sciences in the areas of research infrastructure and science and technology policy, and was head of a division responsible for the development of economic and safety policy for maritime transport.

Peter Nikoloff

Executive Director and Co-Founder
Nova Group

Peter Nikoloff

Peter Nikoloff is an Executive Director, co-founder of Nova and Senior Weapons System Engineer. He is a member of the Nova Group's Executive Management Team and on the board of two other companies within the Group. He obtained an Aeronautical Engineering degree from RMIT in 1986 and has over 20 years’ experience supporting and conducting test and evaluation of aerospace and defence systems. Prior to starting Nova, Nikoloff worked as a Flight Test Engineer at the RAAF's Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) in the role of Senior F/A-18 Hornet Test Engineer. Pete served at ARDU for over ten years and has vast experience over a range of aircraft and associated systems. He had major involvement with several Hornet Test & Evaluation projects, including the Hornet Upgrade Project and various missile evaluation and integration projects. Nikoloff is a chartered professional engineer and member of the Institution of Engineers, Society of Flight Test Engineers, Flight Test Society of Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Nikoloff also actively supports the industry in other capacities such as: - President of the Australian Chapter of the International Test and Evaluation Association (ITEA) - Member of the National Committee for Space Engineering within Engineers Australia  - Chair for the Systems Engineering and Test & Evaluation Confere.

Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D

Director
NASA Johnson Space Center

Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D

Dr. Ellen Ochoa, a veteran astronaut, is the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center. She is JSC's first Hispanic director, and its second female director. Her previous management roles include Deputy Center Director and Director of Flight Crew Operations. Ochoa joined NASA in 1988 as a research engineer at Ames Research Center and moved to Johnson Space Center in 1990 when she was selected as an astronaut. She became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on the nine-day STS-56 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. She has flown in space four times, including STS-66, STS-96 and STS-110, logging nearly 1,000 hours in orbit. Ochoa has been recognized with NASA's highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for senior executives in the federal government. She has received many other awards and is especially honored to have 5 schools named for her. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), serves on several boards, and chairs the Nomination Evaluation Committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Ochoa earned a bachelor's degree in physics from San Diego State University and a master's degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University. 

Bill Parsons

President & Chief Executive Officer
RD AMROSS

Bill Parsons

Bill Parsons joined RD AMROSS in April 2011. RD AMROSS, LLC markets liquid propulsion rocket engines (RD-120, RD-151, RD-171, etc.) for NPO Energomash, including the RD-180 that provides the main thrust on the Atlas V Launch Vehicle made by United Launch Alliance. Prior to joining RD AMROSS, Parsons was Vice President, Strategic Space Initiatives, Lockheed Martin, Information Systems and Global Solutions-Civil. He provided strategic guidance to IS&GS-Civil for Space Programs and Missions. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Parsons served as the Director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida and served in other key positions including the Deputy Director of KSC, the Director of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, the Shuttle Program Manager for Return to Flight after the Columbia tragedy and the Deputy Director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. In 1990, Parsons joined the NASA team at the Kennedy Space Center in the Shuttle Operations Directorate. Parsons holds a Bachelor’s of Engineering degree from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s of Engineering Management degree from the University of Central Florida. He holds a bachelor's of engineering degree from the University of Mississippi and a master's of engineering management from the University of Central Florida.

Marius-Ioan Piso, Ph.D

President and Chief Executive Officer
Romanian Space Agency (ROSA)

Marius-Ioan Piso, Ph.D

Dr. Marius-Ioan Piso is President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA).  Previously, he worked as the executive secretary and was its first executive director.  Prior to joining ROSA Piso served as a research scientist in the Institute for Electrical Engineering (ICPE); a research professor at the Institute of Atomic Physics; and joined the Centre for Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Bucharest to establish the Institute for Space Sciences.  He earned a degree in physics and general relativity theory from the Babes-Bolyai University and a doctorate from University Alexandru Ioan Cuza in Iasi with a thesis on space-time structure.

Jane Poynter

Chief Executive Officer
World View

Jane Poynter

Jane Poynter is the Chief Executive Officer of World View. She is also a member of the Biosphere 2 design team and a member of the original crew who lived inside the sealed, self-sustaining habitat for two years. Poynter was co-founder, President and Chairwoman of Paragon Space Development Corporation, which develops technologies for extreme environments. Experiments in her patented, self-sustaining habitats have flown on the International Space Station (ISS), Mir and the Space Shuttle. Poynter is a recognized leader in sustainable development. She is the author of The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2.

Minoo Rathnasabapathy

Executive Director
Space Generation Advisory Council

Minoo Rathnasabapathy

Minoo Rathnasabapathy is the Executive Director of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), an non-governmental association which acts in support of the United Nations Programme on space applications, based in Vienna, Austria.  Rathnasabapathy earned her undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering in Australia, and has worked on several projects including structural design improvements for the Ariane 5 launch system.  Rathnasabapathy is currently completing her Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, researching the impact dynamics of novel materials used in aerospace structures.  Besides her interest in the space sector, Rathnasabapathy has a black belt in Shotokan Karate.

Brig. Gen. John Shaw, USAF

Deputy Director, Global Operations, Global Operations Directorate
U.S. Strategic Command

Brig. Gen. John Shaw, USAF

Brig. Gen. John E. Shaw is the Deputy Director, Global Operations (DJ3), Global Operations Directorate, United States Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. As deputy director he is responsible to the Commander on matters of situational awareness, command and control and integrated plans and operations across space, nuclear, and cyber operations.  He has served in a variety of air and space operations and staff positions, including operations tours in the 50th Space Wing, the National Reconnaissance Office, the 32nd Air Operations Group, and the Space Warfare Center.  His operational commands have included the 4th Space Operations Squadron, the 50th Operations Group, and the 21st Space Wing. He has also served previously at U.S. Strategic Command as Director of the Commander's Action Group, and in the Pentagon as an Air Force intern, as Deputy Chief of Space Strategy and Integration, as a speechwriter, and as a senior space policy advisor. Shaw holds a bachelor of science fro mastronautical engineering from the Air Force Academy, a master of science in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington, Seattle, a master of arts in organizational management from the George Washington University, a master of science in national security strategy from the National War College, and a master of arts in military operational arts and sciences from the Air Command and Staff College. 

Gen. William L. Shelton, USAF (Ret.)

Vice Chairman
Space Foundation

Gen. William L. Shelton, USAF (Ret.)

General Shelton retired as Commander, Air Force Space Command, in September 2014. During his career, he commanded space operations units at every level and held staff positions in a wide range of Air Force and Department of Defense organizations. In his final assignment, he led a team of over 40,000 at Air Force Space Command to provide space and cyberspace operational forces as well as acquisition of space systems. In this role, he was responsible for a budget of over $10 billion. During his career, General Shelton was a Space Shuttle controller for the first 18 missions, commander of Global Positioning System operations during the initial deployment of the constellation, and commander of the largest ballistic missile wing. He also commanded all Department of Defense space operations during internationally significant events such as the Chinese anti-satellite test and the North Korean Taepo Dong launch. He served as the CIO of the Air Force and the director of the Air Force headquarters staff during one of the most turbulent periods in the Air Force’s history. General Shelton earned a bachelor of science degree in astronautical engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, a master of science degree in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a master of science degree in national security studies from the National War College. 

Alan Stern, Ph.D

Principal Investigator New Horizons Mission
CEO Uwingu

Alan Stern, Ph.D

Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, and author. In 2007, he was named to the Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World and was appointed NASA’s chief of all science missions. Since 2009, he has been an Associate Vice President at the Southwest Research Institute. Dr. Stern is the Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizon’s mission to reconnoiter Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons launched in 2006 and arrives at Pluto in 2015. He has been involved as a researcher in 24 suborbital, orbital, and planetary space missions, including 9 for which he was the mission principal investigator; and he has led the development of 8 scientific instruments for NASA space missions. Stern holds a Bachelor's Degree in Physics & Astronomy and a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Planetary Atmosphere from the University of Texas, Austin, and a Doctorate in Astrophysics and Planetary Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Jeffrey Tarr

President and Chief Executive Officer
DigitalGlobe

Jeffrey Tarr

Jeffrey Tarr joined DigitalGlobe in 2011 as President and CEO. Under his leadership, DigitalGlobe has grown annual revenue from $300 million to $700 million and strengthened its commitment to its purpose of Seeing a better world®. DigitalGlobe’s imagery, platforms and insights serve end-users across the U.S. government and its allies, and enable the maps and geospatial applications relied on by billions of consumers. DigitalGlobe has also expanded into geospatial analytics with its Geospatial Big Data Platform where users run hundreds of applications on DigitalGlobe’s 15-plus-year time-lapse imagery library, revealing insights that help solve critical problems. Prior to joining DigitalGlobe in 2011, Tarr served as president and COO of IHS, chairman and CEO of Hoover’s and a division president with Dun & Bradstreet, and began his career with Bain & Company. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and serves on the boards of CEB (NYSE: CEB), the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, and the Management Board of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Tarr earned an undergraduate degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Dylan Taylor

President and Chief Operating Officer
Colliers International

Dylan Taylor

Dylan Taylor is the President and COO of Colliers International where he oversees the operations of more than 16,300 professionals operating from 502 offices in 67 countries. Taylor’s focus is on integrating operations across all services lines; enhancing client engagement strategies and cross-selling; fostering service excellence and an enterprising culture; and developing systems for supporting the strategic growth of Colliers worldwide. Taylor is also a leading angel investor. He has several investments within the smallsat and Earth observation sector. Taylor holds a bachelor of science in engineering from the University of Arizona, an MBA from University of Chicago, and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government for global leadership and public policy for the 21st Century at Harvard. 

Pham Anh Tuan, Ph.D

Director General
Vietnam National Satellite Center

Pham Anh Tuan, Ph.D

Dr. Pham Anh Tuan received his Ph.D. from the Ilmenau University of Technology, Germany. He is the Director of the Vietnam National Satellite Center (VNSC), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST). His research projects include Manufacturing Flight Model, as well as testing and launching pico-satellites in orbit. He currently directs the Project Management Unit of the Vietnam Space Center Project at Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park.

Michael Watkins, Ph.D

Director
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab

Michael Watkins, Ph.D

Michael M. Watkins became Director of JPL on July 1, 2016. In this role he also serves as a vice president of the California Institute of Technology, which staffs and manages JPL for NASA.Watkins, an engineer and scientist, previously was on the staff of JPL for 22 years. In 2015-16 he spent a year at the University of Texas at Austin, where he held the Clare Cockrell Williams Chair in Engineering and was director of the university’s Center for Space Research.During his JPL career, Watkins served as chief scientist for the Laboratory’s Engineering and Science Directorate, manager of JPL’s Science Division and manager of its Navigation and Mission Design Section. He was mission manager from development through landed operations for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which sent the Curiosity rover to Mars. He also led NASA development and review teams for the Cassini, Mars Odyssey and Deep Impact robotic space missions.

Watkins served as project scientist for the GRACE, GRAIL and GRACE Follow-On missions. He was an originator of the concept for the GRACE mission, which uses a pair of Earth-orbiting satellites to make detailed measurements of Earth's gravity field anomalies. In addition, he has been a pioneer in the development and use of gravity data for new science applications to better understand Earth’s climate and its evolution. Other research interests include mission design, instrument design and science analysis for acquisition and use of remote sensing data for Earth and other planets.

Watkins holds bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He has published in both engineering and science, contributed more than 100 conference presentations, and serves or served on the boards of numerous international scientific and engineering societies. In addition, he has taught estimation, filtering theory and system engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and at Caltech.

Shaun Wilson

Chief Executive Officer
Shoal Group

Shaun Wilson

Shaun Wilson is the chief executive officer of the Shoal Group. Wilson is a practicing systems engineer with particular expertise in aerospace modelling and simulation and in conceptual design of complex systems. His experience spans from aerospace and defence to mining and leisure sports. Wilson sits on a range of company boards, holds multiple degrees, and is published in several technical fields.

Danielle Wood, Ph.D

Special Assistant to the NASA Deputy Administrator
NASA

Danielle Wood, Ph.D

Dr. Danielle Wood serves as the Special Assistant to the NASA Deputy Administrator, Dr. Dava Newman. In this role, Wood serves as the primary advisor to the Deputy Administrator on daily and strategic activities; she also contributes to researching, coordinating, and managing activities within the Office of the Deputy Administrator related to the focus areas of exploration, innovation and education. Prior to joining NASA in 2015, Wood worked as a systems engineer and technology policy researcher within the Aerospace Corporation, a Federally Funded Research and Development Center that supports US government space activity. In addition to her work at Aerospace, from 2013 to 2015, Wood held a research appointment within the Systems Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Her research applied systems architecture to study the complex, socio-technical systems implemented by the public sector to meet critical societal needs, with a focus on space, higher education and infrastructure. In 2012, Wood completed her Ph.D in Systems Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wood also holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering, and a Master of Science in Technology Policy from MIT.

Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner

Director General
European Space Agency (ESA)

Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner

Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner became the European Space Agency (ESA) Director General on July 1 2015. Previously, from March 2007 to June 2015, he served as chairman of the executive board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). In 1995, he was elected president of Darmstadt Technological University where he previously was technical director of the Institute for Glass Construction, dean of the civil engineering faculty and head of the Testing and Research Institute. Wörner earned a degree in civil engineering from Darmstadt Technological University and has received honorary doctorates from State University, New York (USA), the technological universities of Bucharest (Romania) and Mongolia, St. Petersburg University for Economics and Finance (Russia) and from École Centrale Lyon (France).

Technical Track

Rhiannon Roberts

Internship Coordinator
University of South Florida’s Patel College of Global Sustainability

Rhiannon Roberts

Rhiannon Roberts is the University of South Florida’s Patel College of Global Sustainability's Internship Coordinator. Prior to joining USF’s Patel College of Global Sustainability, Roberts played a pivotal role as an avid networker and social media expert with over 10 years of extensive experience managing professional social media accounts. She successfully leveraged an extensive network of over 70,000 followers to dramatically increase the number of followers on social media accounts for large corporations, events, and individuals. Her work’s focus in science, technology, space exploration, and global sustainability was as a result of being selected to the NASA Social program, and her work covering rocket launches for NASA, the United Launch Alliance (ULA), and SpaceX. In addition, Roberts is also the Social Media Manager for The Space Frontier Foundation.  She has also worked closely with large film and entertainment venues such as the Blue Ocean International Film Festival and Conservation Summit promoting ocean sustainability, IIFA awards and BET to name just a few. Her broad experience and travel to over 50 countries has helped produce new partnerships for the university. Roberts holds a bachelor of arts in mass communications broadcast news from the University of South Florida. 

Greg Thanavaro

Senior Spacecraft Systems Engineer
Ball Aerospace

Greg Thanavaro

Greg Thanavaro is a Senior Spacecraft Systems Engineer at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado. During his seven years with Ball, he has worked programs for Sandia National Labs, NASA, and DigitalGlobe, and currently serves as a lead fault management engineer for the National Defense strategic business unit. Prior to his position at Ball, Thanavaro was a graduate research assistant for the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In this role, he applied advanced design methods to a system-of-systems grand challenge for the Office of Naval Research. As an undergraduate, he was a payload mechanical design engineer for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Demonstration and Science Experiments spacecraft. Thanavaro worked on the CloudSat Battery Anomaly Recovery Team honored with a NASA Group Achievement Award in 2012. He holds a bachelor's degree from Boston University and a master's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, both in aerospace engineering.

New Generation Space Leaders

Mike Appleby

Senior Associate
Booz Allen Hamilton

Suzanne Cunningham

Strategy & Integration Manager
NASA Kennedy Space Center

Suzanne Cunningham

Suzy Cunningham is Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC’s) Strategy & Integration Mgr. for Communications and Public Engagement (CPE). She works with NASA, Industry, Academic, DoD & other state/federal leaders to research community, Center and organizational issues and initiatives related to CPE. She determines the impact of those functions on KSC and the Agency and collaborates to develop strategic approaches and recommendations that synergize efforts and best utilize resources. She also serves as NASA liaison for efforts including Space Congress, Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, and Space Walk of Fame. Cunningham was previously KSC’s Strategic Planning Mgr.  She advised Sr. Mgt. on KSC strategic planning activities/analyses concerning present & future KSC operations and development, and facilitated development of Center-wide strategic policies & initiatives.  She was strategic planning liaison to Air Force 45th Space Wing (45 SW), and was a Space Florida (SF) Board Advisory Member. Cunningham holds a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla and a master of science in space system operations fro mthe Florida Institute of Technology. 

John Elbon

Vice President and General Manager Space Exploration at Boeing
Space Foundation Board of Directors

John Elbon

John Elbon is vice president and general manager, Space Exploration, a division of Boeing Defense, Space & Security at The Boeing Company. He is responsible for the strategic direction of Boeing's civil space programs, and support of NASA programs such as the International Space Station (ISS), Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program, and the Space Launch System. Elbon served as vice president and program manager for Boeing’s Commercial Programs. In this position, Elbon managed Boeing’s efforts on NASA’s Commercial Crew Space Act Agreements, including the first two phases of the Commercial Crew Development program. He has leveraged innovations and capabilities from across Boeing in the development of crew transportation systems to support NASA and commercial customers in accessing destinations in Low Earth Orbit. He has been Boeing vice president of Systems Integration for the Army’s Future Combat Systems, and the Boeing program manager for several NASA programs including Constellation, ISS, and the, Checkout, Assembly & Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) contract at Kennedy Space Center.  He holds a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Erik Eliasen

VP, National Security Space Programs
Swedish Space Corporation

Erik Eliasen

Erik Eliasen joined Universal Space Network, now SSC, in September 2009.  As Vice President, National Security Space Programs, he is responsible for overseeing and advancing all of SSC's Business Development activities for the National Security Space market.  Furthermore, Eliasen also provides executive oversight and guidance for SSC’s government relations and legislative interaction. Eliasen joined Universal Space Network after serving 20+ years in the U.S. Air Force where he gained a vast amount of satellite and space operations related experience. His varied assignments included time as a Satellite Vehicle Operator, Air Force Space Command, the Commander for the Air Force’s Satellite Control Station in California, and Commander of the 1st Space Operations Squadron where he led 85 people to accomplish various dynamic satellite missions for the Air Force. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Mechanics from the United States Air Force Academy, and two Masters Degrees, one in Space Operations from the Air Force Institute of Technology and the other in Management Information Systems, from the University of Montana.

Gregory Johnson

Executive Director, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space
Former NASA Astronaut

Gregory Johnson

Gregory H. Johnson is the President and Executive Director for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). As executive director, Johnson is responsible for leading the CASIS staff to maximize utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) to benefit life here on Earth. CASIS identifies innovative applications and develops new partnership opportunities to promote utilization of our nation’s orbiting laboratory. Prior to CASIS, Johnson was a decorated officer and pilot with the United States Air Force. He flew 34 combat missions in support of Operation Desert Storm and 27 missions during Operation Southern Watch. In 1994, he became a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, where he flew and tested the F-15C/E, NF-15B and several other aircraft. Retiring as a Colonel after nearly 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, Johnson has logged over 5,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft. Johnson received his B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, his M.S. in flight structures engineering from Columbia University and his M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Mary Lockhart

President and Chief Executive Officer
PEMDAS Technologies & Innovations

Robert Meyerson

President
Blue Origin

Robert Meyerson

Robert Meyerson is the President of Blue Origin where he has overseen the steady growth of the company since 2003. Blue is developing reusable launch systems to enable a future where millions of people are living and working in space. Vehicles and technologies under development include the New Shepard system for suborbital human and research flights, the BE-3 LOX/LH2 rocket engine, the BE-4 LOX/LNG rocket engine, as well as orbital launch systems. Prior to joining Blue, Meyerson was a Senior Manager at Kistler Aerospace, responsible for the landing and thermal protection systems of a two-stage reusable launch vehicle, as well as all technical activities related to Kistler’s Space Launch Initiative contract with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Meyerson began his career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), where he led the aerodynamic design of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Drag Parachute, as well as the overall design, integration, and flight test of a gliding parachute for the X-38 Crew Rescue Vehicle project. He began his career as a cooperative education student at JSC. Meyerson earned a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in engineering management from the University of Houston. 

Rodrigo Romo

Project Manager
Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems

Rodrigo Romo

Rodrigo Romo is the Project Manager for the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, and is primarily in charge of the Robotic Village – an initiative to test in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and robotics at planetary analogue testing sites.  He is currently leading and supervising the development of PISCES’ Alpha Argo planetary exploration rover, as well research and integration of future components for the Robotic Village. Romo began his career near Tucson, Arizona at Biosphere II – the largest fully enclosed facility dedicated to researching climate change, ecosystem interactions, and space colonization during its time.  From 1992 through 1997, he held several key positions overseeing instrumentation and air monitoring systems, as well as working in research and engineering departments.  Romo held his last position at Biosphere as the Plant Manager for a 6 megawatt co-generation power plant on site. From 1997 through 2014, Romo served as the Vice President of Engineering for the Zeta Corporation, researching and developing new applications for the company’s technologies, provided engineering and technical support to multinational customers, and overseeing large projects. He is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and earned his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from ITESO University in 1992.  He later obtained his Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

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