SSPI

Space & Satellite Professionals International

This is the official podcast of the Space & Satellite Professionals International. On this channel, we release podcasts in two series: Making Leaders and Better Satellite World. Find out more about SSPI at www.sspi.org read less
TechnologyTechnology
BusinessBusiness
CareersCareers

Episodes

Better Satellite World: The Promise, Episode 6 - Looking to the Future with Christian Keil, Sapna Rao and Glory Sikka
3d ago
Better Satellite World: The Promise, Episode 6 - Looking to the Future with Christian Keil, Sapna Rao and Glory Sikka
In this Better Satellite World podcast series, we ask the question: “What would you do if you had the power to make the world a better place during your career?” Joining SSPI’s Lou Zacharilla to answer that question in the sixth episode are 3 members of the “20 Under 35” cohort of 2023: Christian Keil, Chief of Staff at Astranis, Sapna Rao, Senior Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin and Glory Sikka, Technical Program Manager at Maxar. Christian Keil is the Chief of Staff at Astranis, a manufacturer and operator of MicroGEO communications satellites. He leads both the marketing team and the regulatory team, roles in which he is the primary interface between Astranis and the outside world — whether heads of international regulatory agencies or fans on Twitter. After joining Astranis as its third businessperson, Christian played a pivotal role in scaling the company to over 300 employees and a $1.6 billion valuation. Over nearly five years, he has helped by establishing the company’s back-end business systems (finance, recruiting, HR, etc.), designing the company’s first website, writing the company’s first onboarding guide and securing the company’s first MOUs from the Department of Defense. Sapna Rao is a Senior Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin. She joined the company in 2018 after graduating from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and completing an Aerospace Engineering internship with Lockheed Martin. Sapna quickly became integral to many Lockheed Martin initiatives, playing an active role as a Software Systems Engineer, Systems Engineer and Mission Operations Developer on significant programs including Artemis I, Artemis II, the Human Landing System, and the Cryogenic Demonstration Mission. She currently serves as the lead for developing customers and partners from industry and academia to participate in Lockheed Martin’s Lunar Mobile Vehicle project. Sapna is also the technical lead for Project Agni, a machine learning and artificial intelligence tool that can detect wildfires using lightning and weather data. She is also leading the generation of mission operations sequences for the Cryogenic Demonstration Mission. This mission is proving out the technology for transferring liquid hydrogen in orbit demonstrating refueling in space. This capability will enable future deep space exploration to Mars and beyond. Glory Sikka is the Deputy Technical Program Manager for NASA’s Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER) project at Maxar. She joined the company in 2018 as a Lead Systems Engineer for the project. SPIDER is an ambitious and complex mission demonstrating a brand-new robotic arm system for in-space assembly of spacecraft. Glory’s team is responsible for the end-to-end system, which includes end-over-end walking capability, robot control avionics, situational awareness software, operations console, a precision in-space assembled Ka-band antenna and an in-space manufactured composite antenna boom. She was promoted to her current position in 2021 and is one of the youngest employees to ever reach that level of seniority at the company. Before joining Maxar, Glory spent two years as a Systems Engineer performing robotic maintenance activities on nuclear reactors for the MDA Corporation. She made many training and tool upgrades and improvements while at the company, resulting in greater up-time and reduced risk during maintenance operations. Glory began her career at Solar Ship, where she conducted design, modelling, experimental testing and data analysis for a next-generation airship.
Better Satellite World: The Promise, Episode 5 - Looking to the Future with 20 Under 35 Honorees Neha Lin, Armando Loli and Asad Malik
May 31 2024
Better Satellite World: The Promise, Episode 5 - Looking to the Future with 20 Under 35 Honorees Neha Lin, Armando Loli and Asad Malik
In this Better Satellite World podcast series, we ask the question: “What would you do if you had the power to make the world a better place during your career?” Joining SSPI’s Lou Zacharilla to answer that question in the fifth episode are 3 members of the “20 Under 35” cohort of 2023: Neha Lin, Space Systems Engineer at Iridum, Armando Loli, Project Engineer at Boeing and Asad Malik, Founder, Chairman and CEO of iRocket. Neha Lin is a Space Systems Engineer at Iridium. She joined the company in 2017 as a Satellite Payload Computer Engineer, during a pivotal time when Iridium had just begun retiring its older satellites and launching Iridium NEXT satellites with entirely new payload hardware and software, as well as hosted services. As soon as she took on this role, Neha was confronted with a multitude of challenges with on-orbit payload hardware and software issues and integrating the new satellites into the existing Iridium satellite constellation without disrupting service for customers. She investigated each issue and developed appropriate responses and procedures to minimize service impact. Neha also actively guided the Operations team in efforts to recover the computers with as little disruption as possible. Before joining Iridium, Neha began her career as a Reliability Test Engineer at Microchip Corp., where she carried out rigorous flash endurance cycles on PIC microcontrollers. She transitioned into a role as an RTL Design Engineer at Microchip Corp. before moving on to join Iridium. Armando Loli is a Project Engineer at Boeing. He joined the company initially as an Industrial Engineer, a role in which he supported F-15, F/A-18 and 777x aircraft. From there, Armando transferred to Kennedy Space Center to work on Boeing’s Starliner Crewed Spacecraft. He was selected as a key member of the Pad Team that assists NASA astronauts into the Crew Module on Launch Day and also granted security clearances to help integrate Production Engineering initiatives across Boeing’s entire Space and Launch portfolio. In his current position, Armando developed the requirements and initial design for a Spacecraft Production System Digital Model/Twin and demonstrated optimized build flows and flexible scaling to meet different build rate scenarios. He is currently managing 3 major projects for Boeing’s Space Production, Test, Launch and Recovery Engineering Core Team. While working at Boeing, Armando created and now manages an initial Immersive Development Center for the company’s space programs that provides Mixed Reality technologies, which help with manufacturing, production, test and operations. Asad Malik is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of iRocket. He founded iRocket at the age of 28 with the vision of bridging the “digital divide” by launching satellites designed to enhance 5G high-speed Internet access, autonomous vehicles, telemedicine and online education. The company’s slogan, “Launch More. Wait Less,” articulates its commitment to providing low-cost, responsive launches with a fully reusable launch vehicle powered by clean, sustainable propellants. iRocket also plans to provide point-to-point cargo delivery services, which can be used for national security and humanitarian missions, such as those dealing with natural disasters. Asad is a graduate of the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He worked at M&J Engineering Group, a diversified provider of engineering, environmental, construction and technology services, for 12 years, eventually serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. While working at M&J, Asad developed MARQUS, an FEA error-checking and design optimization tool for submarine hull structure design, and helped deliver $2 billion in constructed value projects for the Department of Defense with exceptional CPARS ratings. Asad still serves on the Board of Directors at M&J while leading iRocket today. In 2020, he was accepted into the NYU Stern Accelerator Endless Frontiers Lab (EFL) and was part of its Deep Tech Cohort. EFL works with high-growth start-ups that employ innovations in technology and life sciences with the goal of having societal impact through science and technology.
Better Satellite World: The Promise, Episode 4 - Looking to the Future with 20 Under 35 Honorees Aysha Alharam and Laura Cummings
May 24 2024
Better Satellite World: The Promise, Episode 4 - Looking to the Future with 20 Under 35 Honorees Aysha Alharam and Laura Cummings
In this Better Satellite World podcast series, we ask the question: “What would you do if you had the power to make the world a better place during your career?” Joining SSPI’s Lou Zacharilla to answer that question in the fourth episode are 2 members of the “20 Under 35” cohort of 2023: Aysha Alharam, Acting Head of Satellite Design and Development at the Bahrain National Space Science Agency and Laura Cummings, Regulatory Affairs Counsel at Astroscale U.S. Aysha Alharam is the current Acting Head of Satellite Design and Development for the National Space Science Agency (NSSA) of Bahrain. She began her career in 2018 when she was selected as one of the nine first members of the Bahrain Space Team, a position that had over 4,000 other applicants. As the first Bahraini space engineer leading the team, Aysha served as project manager, idea innovator and software developer for the “Aman” payload project, which won the prestigious Payload Hosting Initiative – organized by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) in 2022 – out-competing space agencies, companies, universities and research centers from over 100 countries. The Aman payload project showcases Eng, which focuses on securing satellite data through a novel cybersecurity encryption algorithm based on FPGA and parallel processing technology. Aysha personally developed the idea of the AI-based image processing system that will be onboard the first Bahraini satellite, “AlMunther,” the first of its kind in the Middle East region. She completed her education with two Masters degrees, one in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a concentration in space technology from Khalifa University in the UAE and one in Information Technology and Computer Science from the University of Bahrain. Laura Cummings is Regulatory Affairs Counsel for Astroscale U.S., a position in which she is responsible for identifying and helping to create the regulatory framework to authorize In-Orbit Servicing, Assembling and Manufacturing (ISAM) for spacecrafts such as Astroscale’s Life Extension In-Orbit (LEXI) missions. These satellite missions require knowledge and expertise in multiple legal frameworks, orbital regimes and technical innovations, with only a handful of precedents that can be considered examples by regulators. In addition to her work on the ISAM regulatory framework, Laura represents Astroscale U.S. in a variety of industry associations, including the Commercial SmallSat Spectrum Management Association (CSSMA) – of which she is President and a Board Member – and the Consortium for the Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing (CONFERS), where she helps the industry to shape policies and communications standards for ISAM missions. Before joining Astroscale U.S., she served as a Regulatory Intern at SES Satellites and a FAA Legal Honors Intern at the Federal Aviation Administration. Laura received her Bachelor of Arts in International Regulations and Affairs, Astronomy from the University of Colorado Boulder, her Doctor of Law in Space Law and International Law from the University of Denver – Sturm College of Law and her Juris Doctor in Space Law from Georgetown University Law Center. While earning her degrees, she held major roles in the Space Law Society at both Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as Vice President and then President, and at Denver University, where she served as Executive Director.
Better Satellite World: Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, Episode 5 - Building Our Dreams of the Future in Space, One Block at a Time
May 17 2024
Better Satellite World: Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, Episode 5 - Building Our Dreams of the Future in Space, One Block at a Time
In the fifth and final episode of Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, SSPI's Lou Zacharilla speaks with Jonathan Baliff, Chief Financial Officer at Redwire Space. Redwire, based in Florida, is a new leader in mission-critical space solutions and high-reliability components for the next generation space economy. On April 24, Redwire received the 2024 Business Award from the Luxembourg-American Chamber of Commerce, becoming the first space and satellite company to receive this honor. Jonathan Baliff has been a leader in the aerospace, energy and infrastructure sectors for over 25 years as both a public company senior executive and investment and commercial banker. Mr. Baliff has served on the Redwire Board of Directors and as Chair of the Audit Committee since September 2021. Mr. Baliff also serves on the Board of Directors and Audit Committee of Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc (NYSE: TCBI). Most recently, Mr. Baliff was the President of Genesis Park Acquisition Corporation, the special purpose acquisition corporation that merged with Redwire. Previously Mr. Baliff served as Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group (NYSE: BRS), the world’s largest commercial helicopter and industrial aviation company serving the energy and government sectors. He served as Bristow’s Chief Financial Officer from 2010 to 2014 until his appointment to Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Bristow Group in 2010, Mr. Baliff was the Executive Vice President for Strategy at NRG Energy, where he led the development and implementation of NRG’s overall strategy. Before joining NRG in 2008, Mr. Baliff was a Managing Director in Credit Suisse’s Global Energy Group, where he advised energy infrastructure companies on over $50 billion in merger and acquisition assignments and project and corporate financings starting in 1997. Mr. Baliff started his business career with J.P. Morgan’s Natural Resource Group in 1995 after nearly a decade flying F-4 Phantom fighter aircraft in the US Air Force, including the first combat missions during the first Gulf War.
Better Satellite World: Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, Episode 2 - A Better Satellite World for All Nations
Apr 26 2024
Better Satellite World: Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, Episode 2 - A Better Satellite World for All Nations
The peaceful use of space for all nations is consistent with the vision of the United Nations, as it is with every professional in our industry. And there is one group and a person at the UN whose role it is to work toward that vision every hour of the day. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) works to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use and exploration of space and in the utilization of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development. In the second episode of Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, we hear from Aarti Holla-Maini, Director of UNOOSA, a true champion of the peaceful uses of space and its development. Aarti Holla-Maini is the Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), having taken up post on September 18 following her appointment by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Ms. Holla-Maini brings over 25 years of experience in the space and satellite sector, working predominantly with international organizations and regulators. Prior to the United Nations, she held the post of Secretary-General of the Global Satellite Operators Association. Ms. Holla-Maini is a recognized leader with a strong track record in forging public-private and cross-sector partnerships; high-level advocacy at the international level; strategic communication and managing diverse stakeholders. Under her leadership, Ms. Holla-Maini expanded the association from being a regional organization to a global one representing commercial satellite operators around the world. She was one of the chief architects of the Crisis Connectivity Charter established in 2015 for emergency telecommunications via satellite with the UN World Food Programme’s Emergency Telecommunications Cluster and has, on multiple occasions, secured recognition and policy support for space technologies to play their rightful role in connecting the unconnected, in Europe, Africa and beyond. The appointment of Ms. Holla-Maini comes at a time when activities in space are being increasingly driven by the private sector. Her deep experience in high-level advocacy with international organizations and regulators, along with her understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the space sector, will serve Member States well as they seek to access and leverage the benefits of space to accelerate sustainable development. Ms. Holla-Maini’s experience has included service as a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Space; member of the Advisory Group of the Space Sustainability Rating managed by eSpace at EPFL Space Center; member of the Advisory Board of the Satellite Industry Association of India; Senior Space Policy Advisor to Forum Europe and an Expert Advisor on Space Traffic Management for European Union studies 2021-2023. Ms. Holla-Maini holds a bachelor’s degree in law with German law from Kings College London and a master’s degree in business administration from HEC in France. She is fluent in French, German and Punjabi alongside her native English and has moderate knowledge of Dutch.
Better Satellite World: Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, Episode 1 - The Cloud Adoption Journey from Space
Apr 19 2024
Better Satellite World: Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, Episode 1 - The Cloud Adoption Journey from Space
The world is supported by infrastructure that no one can see. It keeps computers and communication networks running, detects hurricanes and wildfires, tracks methane and carbon emissions. And we go nowhere without it. It guides ships and planes, cares and homes. It battles disease and helps take a bite out of crime. This infrastructure consumes little or no concrete or asphalt and few steel beams for support, yet it circles the entire planet. It is the network of communication and observation satellites. In the first episode of Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, we hear from Karl Horne, Vice President of Cloud and Digital Solutions at SES. Karl is responsible for technology and business strategies for satellite connected cloud and Digital Transformation solutions aimed at the Enterprise, Public Sector and Telco/MNO markets. In this capacity, Karl works across the ecosystem of cloud and network service providers, technology vendors, and solutions integrators to establish SES’s solutions in support of the industry shift towards 5G, IoT, and Cloud Powered Digital Transformations. Karl has over 30 years of experience in the telecom/datacom industry. Prior to his current position at SES, he has held various Engineering, CTO and Business Development roles for Ciena Corporation, Scientific Atlanta and AT&T Tridom. Karl holds a BSEE from Clemson University.
Making Leaders: Ensuring Excellence for the American Warfighter from the Army to Artel - A Conversation with 2024 Hall of Fame Inductee Ed Spitler
Mar 29 2024
Making Leaders: Ensuring Excellence for the American Warfighter from the Army to Artel - A Conversation with 2024 Hall of Fame Inductee Ed Spitler
In this Making Leaders podcast, we hear from Ed Spitler, Head of SATCOM at Artel and one of three inductees to the Space & Satellite Hall of Fame in 2024. For more than three decades, Ed Spitler has pursued a passionate commitment to support the American warfighter by supplying best-in-class satellite communications systems to power the success of the US Armed Forces. Upon completing his military service as a Cryptographic Telecommunications and Systems Specialist, Ed went to work for the US Department of Defense Contractor, rising from Senior Technical Engineer to Regional Program Manager, OPMAS-EUR, 5th Command, where he played a pivotal role in transitioning seven Defense Communications Sites (DCS) throughout Germany from analog to digital technology. In 2001, he joined Artel as Vice President of Managed Network Services, in which role he served as program director for more than eight critical DOD and Department of State programs and supported missions including Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan. Leaving Artel in 2012, Ed went on to hold a series of leadership positions, including COO of Vizada, CEO of Astrium Services Government and President of Satcom Services Government Division at Airbus Defense and Space. By 2017, he was back at Artel as Head of Satcom, where he led the company into a multi-orbit future that delivered resilient GEO to LEO connectivity to the government. He led development and delivery of the SPACE FORCE Pathfinder 2 program, which embedded the Pathfinder 2 payload aboard Hispasat’s Amazonas Nexus HTS. The goal was to provide dependable access to connectivity while saving money for Federal agencies compared with short-term satellite capacity leasing. The program produced savings of more than 60 percent over equivalent service.
Better Satellite World: The Promise, Episode 3 - Looking to the Future with 20 Under 35 Honorees Srikanth Kodeboyina and Klaus Okkelberg
Mar 22 2024
Better Satellite World: The Promise, Episode 3 - Looking to the Future with 20 Under 35 Honorees Srikanth Kodeboyina and Klaus Okkelberg
In this Better Satellite World podcast series, we ask the question: “What would you do if you had the power to make the world a better place during your career?” Joining SSPI’s Lou Zacharilla to answer that question in the third episode are 2 members of the “20 Under 35” cohort of 2023: Srikanth Kodeboyina, Founder and CEO of Blue Eye Soft Corp dba Blue Space and Klaus Okkelberg, Electrical Design & Analysis Engineer at Boeing. Srikanth Kodeboyina is the Founder and CEO of Blue Eye Soft Corp, currently in the process of becoming Blue Space. He moved to the United States in 2010 to pursue his education and earned his Master’s degree in Computer and Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton. Within six years of completing his degree, he was working for Fortune 100 companies and managing projects across 14 states with budgets up to $32 million. Srikanth moved on to be commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, which led to him becoming a U.S. citizen. With citizenship came the opportunity to pursue his true dream, starting his own enterprise in the form of Blue Eye Soft (BES). The company initially offered IT consulting and management services, but it quickly expanded to include BlueDoc AI, Blue Space and Blue Space International, creating a specialty in the application of artificial intelligence models to analyze vast amounts of data, text and imagery. BES has established offices in South Carolina and New Mexico and intends to establish a presence in an international business hub in India next. The company has achieved the highest security clearances and been awarded contracts from agencies such as NASA and AFWERX, a technology directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Since founding BES, Srikanth has been chosen by more than 20 organizations to participate in incubator/accelerator programs for top entrepreneurs. He was a member of the first cohort of the New Mexico Lab-Embedded Entrepreneur Program (LEEP) at Los Alamos National Laboratory and was also chosen to be part of MIT’s Engine program that helps the next generation of “Tough Tech” leaders navigate the commercialization process. Klaus Okkelberg is an Electrical Design & Analysis Engineer at Boeing. In his current position, he works at Boeing Phantom Works Space on moving ground-based signal processing algorithms to space, reducing turnaround time, which is crucial for enabling autonomous operations. Klaus also works with artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), specifically deep neural networks (DNNs), for image-based inspection and pose estimation – the detection of the position and orientation – of unknown satellites. Supervised AI/ML greatly reduces the need for feature engineering, meaning fewer engineers and revisions are needed per project. Using DNN algorithms has sped up development of new image processing functions and reduces the cost of developing and deploying new space-based imaging sensors, which has led to many new business opportunities for Boeing with national space government customers. Klaus has personally developed several key innovations in AI/ML, including data augmentations, training regularizations and high-dimensional space embeddings.  These developments greatly reduce generalization error and enable the use of real satellite imagery from different sources without additional pre- or post-processing. Klaus is a graduate of Penn State Schreyer Honors College with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and of the University of New Orleans with a Master’s degree in the same field. At Penn State, his thesis on nonlinear control of marginal oscillators contributed to the more precise detection of explosive materials, providing immense benefit to potential customers such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Klaus interned at Xilinx in their signal integrity division.
Making Leaders: Elevating Performance Through Interoperability Standards - A Conversation with DIFI Chair Stuart Daughtridge
Mar 1 2024
Making Leaders: Elevating Performance Through Interoperability Standards - A Conversation with DIFI Chair Stuart Daughtridge
In this Making Leaders podcast, guest host Lou Zacharilla steps in for Robert Bell to speak with Stuart Daughtridge, Vice President of Advanced Technology at Kratos and Director and Chair of the Digital Intermediate Frequency (IF) Interoperability Consortium (DIFI). Stuart, who was recently nominated for Via Satellite's Satellite Executive of the Year award, joins Lou to talk about DIFI's latest news and the upcoming London Space Business Roundtable on March 5. Stuart Daughtridge has been with Kratos since 1999, and in the satellite and aerospace industry since 1986. In his current position, Mr. Daughtridge leads Kratos’ satellite ground segment technology research and development efforts.  Prior to his current role, he held several senior management positions, including SVP & GM of the Integral Systems Products Group, SVP & GM of the Integral Systems Commercial Group, as well as Program Manager of several major commercial programs.  Before joining the Company, Mr. Daughtridge held various management and engineering positions with Orion Satellite Corporation, Intelsat, and Spacecom. Mr. Daughtridge holds a Bachelor of Science from Lafayette College. DIFI has created a standard that enforces interoperability on digital IF/RF technology. Digital IF was developed to overcome the limitations of analog systems but, today, vendor lock-in prevents it from delivering seamless interoperability and severely limits its adoption. A truly interoperable digital IF, on the other hand, will enable transformation to a virtualized ground segment, reducing the total cost of ownership and significantly boosting network and terminal agility and scalability. Compliance with the DIFI standard will ensure that satellite ground segments can seamlessly adapt to rapidly changing space-layer payloads, orbits, and constellations. Ultimately, DIFI promises to elevate the resilience, performance, and capabilities of satellite networks and enable a digital transformation that integrates satellites seamlessly into the larger telecom, IT and GIS markets.
The Promise, Episode 2: Looking to the Future with 20 Under 35 Honorees Julie Newman, Dr. Zhe Liu and Alix Rousseliere
Feb 23 2024
The Promise, Episode 2: Looking to the Future with 20 Under 35 Honorees Julie Newman, Dr. Zhe Liu and Alix Rousseliere
In this Better Satellite World podcast series, we ask the question: “What would you do if you had the power to make the world a better place during your career?” Joining SSPI’s Lou Zacharilla to answer that question in the second episode are 3 members of the “20 Under 35” cohort of 2023: Julie Newman, Program Chief Engineer at Boeing; Dr. Zhe Liu, Senior Materials & Process Engineer at Maxar; and Alix Rousselière, Strategy Consultant for Satcom at Euroconsult. Julie Newman is Program Chief Engineer for Satelit Nusantara Lima N5 (SNL), a major geostationary communications satellite program, at Boeing. In this role, she has been instrumental in overseeing risk management and problem resolution for the satellite, particularly in the midst of a challenging shift to a different payload. Julie regularly directs and approves the work of senior engineering staff and provides recommendations to the program management office and the customer. She has also represented her executive manager in various critical functions, ranging from safety to quality assurance across Boeing’s El Segundo site and has spearheaded multiple process improvement initiatives, including major efforts to improve Boeing’s engineering training and metrics tracking systems. Before taking on her current position, Julie was the Technical Program Manager, a role in which she led a team of 15 engineers to develop the engine controller assembly for the Space Launch System (SLS) first stage rocket. The team consistently exceeded expectations under her leadership while executing a late re-design of the unit to resolve a leakage issue associated with a sneak path discovered during testing of the engineering model. She received a Promise Award from SSPI in 2023. Dr. Zhe Liu is Senior Materials & Process Engineer at Maxar as well as an accomplished scientist with a broad range of expertise in material science, biopolymers and computer science. Originally from China, Dr. Liu began her academic journey with an undergraduate degree in her home country. She then spent several years engaged in research and development in biopolymers before moving to the U.S. for further studies. She earned a Master’s degree in Material Science with a concentration in composite materials from the University of Dayton before pursuing a PhD at Florida State University, where her research focused on nano composite materials for thermal ablative applications. During her PhD, Dr. Liu joined a California-based start-up company that specialized in the novel 3D printing of continuous fiber carbon composites. As team leader, she characterized the materials and developed the process for printing structural components. This crucial work paved the way for the successful commercialization of a carbon fiber/thermoplastic composite bicycle. Dr. Liu is currently working on a second Master’s degree in Computer Science at Georgia Tech while working full-time for Maxar. Alix Rousselière is Strategy Consultant for Satcom at Euroconsult, which she joined in April 2022. Her role responsibilities include advising satellite operators and space agencies, conducting commercial and financial assessments and developing market intelligence reports on a variety of topics, including milsatcom and NGSO constellations. Although not an engineer herself, Alix has completed exemplary work on highly technical technology harmonization dossiers for the European Space Agency (ESA), demonstrating her ability to learn and adapt quickly. She participated in more than 12 international consulting missions within her first year at Euroconsult. Before joining Euroconsult, Alix spent two years at Thales in Abu Dhabi where she worked on Strategy and Commercial Development for Defense & Space Key Accounts. In particular, Alix formulated and helped implement a new, transversal, coordinated 5-year Strategic Plan for the company’s UAE Defense accounts by analyzing trends and providing recommendations to C-level executive management on priority subjects and associated investments.