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Postponement of SpaceOps 2020
SpaceOps 2020, SpaceOps 16th International Conference on Space Operations set to commence 18 May 2020 in Cape Town, has been postponed due to the ongoing and growing threat posed by novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak around the world.  The SpaceOps 2020 organising committee is saddened to make this announcement, as the team was looking forward to hosting international delegates to this prestigious event on Space Operations. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
Through the continuous monitoring of information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the South African Health Department and other public health guidance and reports from across the globe, the SpaceOps 2020 Exco has decided to postpone the conference to 3-7 May 2021.
In light of all the developments across the globe, out of concern for the health and safety of conference attendees the organising committee felt that it was important to postpone the conference as a precautionary measure to ensure the wellbeing of all participants. 

Delegates who have registered for the conference, will receive registration refund information via email from SpaceOps 2020, but will need to cancel their hotel and travel reservations themselves.​
In the coming weeks, the technical program committee will contact delegates who have submitted papers, outlining the next steps to follow regarding their submissions.

Hosted and organised by SANSA (South African National Space Agency) and powered by IAF, SpaceOps 2020 is a technical forum of the Space Mission Operations and Ground Systems community that addresses state-of- the-art operations principles, methods, and tools. SpaceOps 2020 provides the opportunity for you to share mission’s experience, challenges, and innovation solutions. Held biennially since 1990, the conference will attract technologists, scientists, managers from agencies, academic and research institutions, operators and industry and fosters managerial and technical interchanges on all aspects of space mission operations. SGAC organises a number of events in association with SpaceOps 2020. You can find out more about these events below.

SpaceOps 2020 Website


The call for paper is now open, submit your abstract now!

Call for Papers


Space Operations for Constellation of CubeSat/Nanosatellite Workshop

Date: 17 May 2020
Location: Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Do you want to learn how to carry out space operations for Constellation of CubeSats/Nanosatellites? Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) is collaborating with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) to host the workshop in Cape Town, South Africa. It will be held in conjunction to the SpaceOps 2020 conference, on the Sunday before the conference starts. During the one day event, students and young professionals will have the opportunity to learn about different approaches to space operations as well as to hear about  international peers working on cubesat/nanosatellite constellations projects.

During this workshop, participants from around the world will learn about the different philosophies behind cubesat/nanosatellite operations. Two Participants or group of participants will also have the opportunity to showcase their project.

After the lectures by each representative, all participants will have a chance to engage in discussions via a panel discussion.

The workshop is open to students and young professionals. If you aspire to work for a company, an international space agency, or if you are interested in starting your own satellite operations company, then this one day workshop is a great opportunity to learn about the challenges and excitement of space operations.

Registration Costs: Workshop Registration is free.
Deadline for Registration: 28th February 2020


Agenda Outline

 Time  Agenda  Details
 9:45  Registration Check-in  Registration Required (no fee
 10:15   Welcome

 SGAC Workshop- Chair

 Opening from SANSA

 Additional Message from   SpaceOps ExCom


 Participant Introduction   Ice Breaker


  Student Presentations  

  Student Presentation 1

  Student Presentation 2

  Student Presentation 3


  Short Intro about SGAC  SGAC Executive Director


  Lunch   Hosted by SANSA


  Technical Presentations





  Coffee Break & Group Photo Hosted by SANSA


 Panel Discussion



South African Space Agency (TBD)


UAE Space Agency (TBD)

Moderator: Leehandi De Witt (SANSA) 


 Closing Remarks

  SGAC Workshop Chair

*Note: More details coming soon*

Speed Mentoring Event

Date: 19 May 2020
Time: 18:30- 22:00
 Cape Town International Convention Centre

The Speed Mentoring Event is a great chance to kick-start connections that build over time, create chance meetings and to meet with students, early stage professionals, experienced mentors and even possibly a future employer in the space operations industry.

Share a table with top  managers and experts to ask questions, seek advice, and learn more about  their personal experiences which shaped their professional careers.

This event is energizing for both students and young space professionals as well as the senior mentors, providing both groups with a unique networking opportunity.

Registration Costs: Event Registration is free.

Deadline for Registration: 28th February 2020

Seats are limited. Applications will be evaluated by the event Organising Committee and candidates will be notified via email on the outcome. Apply ASAP!

How it Works

Each Student or Young Professional (Mentee) sits at one of the tables with one Mentor. Each Mentor gets 10 minutes at the table to talk about their personal career background, advice on how to develop a career/life path, and answer questions (Examples: “what was one difficult challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?; What are 3 tips you learned over the years that you wish you knew earlier as a student or young professional?). After 10 minutes, the mentor must rotate to the next table and meet a new set of Mentees!

A networking event will take place after the speed mentoring event and will allow all the participants to further network and follow up on discussions with the mentors.

There is no registration fee, although places are limited, so book your participation at the SpaceOps Speed Mentoring session today!



Alice Bowman

Alice Bowman Alice Bowman is a member of the Principal Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. She is the Space Mission Operations Group Supervisor and the New Horizons Mission Operations Manager (MOM). She supervises approximately 45 staff members who operate deep space and Earth-orbiting spacecraft, including TIMED, STEREO, New Horizons, Van Allen Probes and Parker Solar Probe. As the New Horizons MOM, Alice leads the team that controls the spacecraft that made a historic flyby of the Pluto system in July 2015. The team is now preparing for its next flyby, past a Kuiper Belt object nicknamed “Ultima Thule,” scheduled for January 1, 2019 – more than 6.5 billion kilometers from Earth. Prior to operating spacecraft, she worked in the fields of computer modeling, drug research and long-wave detector research.

Alice has a degree in chemistry and physics from the University of Virginia and has more than 29 years of experience in space operations. She is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and has served on the International SpaceOps Committee since 2009.



Harry Shaw, D.Sc. Harry Shaw has over 30 years of experience in computer networking, microwave communications, information theory, microelectronics and space communications. He supports the NASA/GSFC Space Network project which operates the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite spacecraft constellation by managing upgrades to the ground segment and supporting customers adapting to new services. He is coordinating efforts within the Space Network to support future Cubesat customers. Harry is involved in technology development and has received two patents. He also works with university partners to advance space communications technology.
Philip Liebrecht

Philip Liebrecht has retired from NASA since August 2019. He was the Assistant Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) and the Deputy Program Manager for the SCaN Program. The SCaN Office and Program is within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC and manages the provision of communications and navigation capabilities for NASA’s flight missions. SCaN capabilities enable a diverse set of space missions which extend across the Solar System from the International Space Station (ISS) in low Earth orbit, to Voyager 1 in interstellar space.

The organization provides enabling services to national, commercial and international scientific and aerospace customers in addition to NASA flight missions, and works in partnership with Industry, other Government agencies and International partners to achieve its mission. SCaN develops necessary technologies, standards and systems to enable future missions while improving efficiency and performance. As the Deputy Program Manager for SCaN, Mr. Liebrecht led the strategic space communications architecture planning for NASA and served as head of NASA delegations to several international organizations chartered to establish internationally interoperable operations architectures and standards for the future.

Prior to joining NASA Headquarters, Mr. Liebrecht served for over thirty years in various positions of leadership at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt Maryland. He has been a leader in the space communications and tracking for NASA, the US Government and Global International space communities for over four decades. Mr. Liebrecht earned Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.



Andrew Monham

Andrew Monham has 32 years’ experience in the space industry, having graduated with a Master of Engineering in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Southampton University in England. Andrew led the system preparation and transition into operations of the ground station and near-real-time product processing for ESA’s first European Remote Sensing satellite (ERS-1) and subsequently led the flight operations system preparation for ENVISAT. He performed consultancy to EUMETSAT as System Manager on the European Polar System / Metop mission, following which he joined the management team of a Small-Medium Enterprise in Belgium, developing the business, as well as Project Managing contracts with ESA. Andrew then moved back to EUMETSAT where he is responsible for Low Earth Orbit Spacecraft Operations.

Andrew is also deeply involved in debris conjunction management and space weather impacts, as well as EUMETSAT’s technical, management and financial interfaces with external partners and stakeholders.



Kevin Marston

Kevin Marston is the System Operations Manager at EUMETSAT. He has been working in systems engineering and operations for over thirty years, in industry, ESA and for the last years at EUMETSAT. Having studied aeronautics and astronautics and working initially in systems and software development in England, then Kevin moved to Germany, where he is located today. 

Kevin’s responsibilities cover the day to day operations of the ground segments for all of EUMETSAT ‘s programmes, as well as the coordination of the system operations preparation for the future programmes and their transition into operations. In addition he is the chair of the security committee. Kevin is also a member of the SpaceOps committee.



Helene Pasquier

Hélène Pasquier is an operation ground systems expert in the Operation department at CNES (French Space Agency) after many years as head of Generic Ground Systems Section in the Products and Grounds Systems Department.

As such, she is involved in the development of generic and reusable Monitoring & Control software systems part of CNES Mission Operations Systems. She is acting in research & technology studies and coordinates the use of the international standards (ECSS, CCSDS Mission Operations and Cross Support Services) within the Mission Operations Systems developed by the Operation department. Hélène works in close cooperation with ESA for Ground Systems Harmonization and has been an active member of the SpaceOps Technical Program Committee since 2008. Since 1982 at CNES, she took key positions in Earth Observation programs (SPOT, Pleiades HR) and Science Ground Systems (CADMOS French USOC, …) in the area of Mission Operations Systems and Payload Operations & Data Systems. Hélène Pasquier is graduated in Computer Science Engineering from the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, France (ENSIMAG, INPG).



Peter Collins

Peter Collins is a GAIA S/C System Engineer. He has been covering the role of Galileo LEOP SOM for three LEOPs in 2015.

Before that he was working also as Gaia Power/Thermal SOE.

In his earlier career he was working in ESTEC on the Herschel-Planck Project team managing the S/C LEOP & commissioning from project side.

Before working for ESA he has been working with MetOp S/C instrument/payload as Spacecraft Operations Engineer at EUMETSAT.

He is an expert on LEOPS: In total he has done 7 LEOPs (involving 11 S/C since some were multiple), some as SOE some as SOM. Multiple commissioning and routine phases, lots of ops prep etc.

He has also been involved in other activities such as reviews and GS evolution WGs.



Andiswa Mlisa

Ms Andiswa Mlisa is the Managing Director of Earth Observation directorate at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). Prior to joining SANSA, she was at the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Secretariat, based in Geneva, Switzerland, responsible for the coordination of the AfriGEOSS initiatives and capacity building. A graduate of the Universities of Fort Hare and Stellenbosch in GIS and Remote Sensing, she spent her early career years developing geospatial solutions for water resource management and disaster risk reduction. She aims to use her over 17 years of experience and passion for developing partnerships in earth observations & space applications initiatives to mainstream use of Earth observations for service delivery.



Khalid Manjoo: Chief Technical Officer (CTO)

Having been ascribed the role of leader throughout his career, Khalid has pre-empted every role and excelled at it too. In 2005 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Cape Town (UCT). He was the Team Leader for Assembly Integration and Verification (AIV) at SunSpace, South Africa’s first private satellite manufacturing company. As the youngest of the engineers at the time, he was the AIV lead engineer during the launch campaign in Baikonur of South Africa’s first Government satellite, SumbandilaSat in September 2009. In 2017 he co-founded Astrofica Technologies with Jessie Ndaba and currently they are both involved full-time in building the company and brand.
Khalid is a registered ECSA professional engineer, a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Workforce Development for Young Professionals Program Committee. He is passionate about progressing South Africa’s Space science and technology and thereby its people, hopefully privileging South Africa with the status of “African Pioneer” in our Space industry.



Alexsander Schmid

Alexander Schmidt studied physics at the Ludwigs-Maximilians university in Munich a got a doctorate degree in high energy physics. After two years as a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for mathematics in the sciences he started working at the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA ) for the DLR German Aerospace Center. At MORABA he was project manager for the REXUS/BEXUS project, temporarily part of the telemetry group and involved in many MORABA launch campaigns in different functions.These days he is part of MORABA’s control systems and sensors group and is working with attitude controls systems and inertial guidance systems for sounding rockets.

Gladys Magagula

Gladys Magagula was appointed as a Mission Control Specialist for SumbandilaSat – South Africa’s first satellite to be launched into space – in 2009 and she is currently a Project Manager,responsible mainly for Ground Station establishment projects, at the South African National Space Agency’s (SANSA) Space Operations directorate which is situated at Hartebeesthoek.

As a Mission Control Specialist, Gladys led a team responsible for the day-to-day operations of South Africa’s own Earth observation satellite.

Gladys holds a B.Sc. Degree in Computer Science and Physics from the University of the North (now University of Limpopo), a Master Degree in Engineering Science from the University of Stellenbosch, a Programme and Project Management certification from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Management Development Programme diploma from Regenesys Business School. She is currently studying towards an MBA degree at the Business School Netherlands.

Before joining SANSA Space Operations in 2009, Gladys spent six years working for diverse range organizations including Business Connexion, Sunspace and Information Systems, as well as Airborne Consulting.



Vanessa E. Wyche

Vanessa E. Wyche is deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), an organization of nearly 10,000 civil service and contractor employees in Houston and White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She assists with leadership of a broad range of human spaceflight activities, including NASA’s astronauts, Mission Control, development and operation of human spacecraft in low-Earth orbit and plans for human missions to the Moon and Mars.
Prior to her position as deputy director, Wyche served as the director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate at JSC where she provided executive guidance and direction of a multi-disciplined organization to enable human and robotic exploration of deep space.
Wyche previously served as acting deputy director of JSC from September 2017 to February 2018. A native of South Carolina, Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Master of Science in Bioengineering from Clemson University. Before joining JSC in 1989, she worked for the Food and Drug Administration in Washington D.C. Throughout the span of her career with NASA, she has held several other distinguished leadership positions including: assistant director of JSC; flight manager of several missions of the retired Space Shuttle Program, executive officer in the Office of the NASA Administrator and led center-level technical and program organizations.
A strong supporter of Innovation and Inclusion (I&I) at JSC, Wyche has served as a member of JSC’s I&I Council and co-executive sponsor of “Emerge,” an employee resource group for early career employees. She advocates mentoring and is a passionate promoter of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Wyche serves on multiple boards, including chair of Space Center Houston, and advisory board member of Houston Exponential, SpaceCom and the NASA College Scholarship Foundation. She has received numerous honors from NASA, notably, two Outstanding Leadership Medals, two Achievement Medals, and is a 2014 Women at NASA awardee. She has been recognized externally as a national “2016 Women Worth Watching” honoree by Profiles in Diversity Journal, a 2017 “Inspiring Woman from South Carolina” by Coastal Carolina University, and was inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists at Clemson University in 2019.
Follow Wyche on Twitter at twitter.com/V_Wyche.

Technical Tours

Two technical Tours will be offered at the South African Astronomy Observatory and at the SKA Ops Room. Both tours will be offered on Sunday after the Workshop, and on Friday at the end of the SpaceOps conference. Transport will be provided: departures for the tours will be in the afternoon both on Sunday (after the workshop) and on Friday. Further details on the exact departure times will be given closer to the events.

South African Astronomy Observatory (SAAO)
Founded in 1820 and located in the leafy Southern suburbs of Cape Town, The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the national centre for optical and infrared astronomy in South Africa. Its prime function is to conduct fundamental research in astronomy and astrophysics. It does so by providing a world-class facility to scientists. 

The SAAO promotes astronomy and astrophysics in Southern Africa, by sharing research findings and discoveries.

SKA Ops Room
The SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area. The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research & development towards building and delivering a radio telescope, and will deliver a correspondingly transformational increase in science capability when operational.

Deploying thousands of radio telescopes, in three unique configurations, it will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky thousands of times faster than any system currently in existence.

The SKA telescope will be co-located in Africa and in Australia. It will have an unprecedented scope in observations, exceeding the image resolution quality of the Hubble Space Telescope by a factor of 50 times, whilst also having the ability to image huge areas of sky in parallel. With a range of other large telescopes in the optical and infrared being built and launched into space over the coming decades, the SKA will perfectly augment, complement and lead the way in scientific discovery.


Registration costs: Tour Registration is free.

Deadline for Registration: 28th February 2020

NASA SCaN Scholarship

The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) has partnered with NASA Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program to allow 2 U.S. students to attend the Students and Young Professionals Program (SYP) organized by SGAC and SpaceOps Committee at the 16th Conference on Space Operations (SpaceOps) as well as the Conference itself, hosted in Cape Town, South Africa from May 17 to May 22, 2020, by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA).  Deadline to apply: 28 Feb 2020. Apply here!

European Space Agency Scholarship

The European Space Agency is providing sponsorship opportunities for students to attend the entire SpaceOps2020. Check it out!

Organisers and Contacts

Chiara Cocchiarac[email protected]

Young Lee: [email protected]

Leehandi de Witt: [email protected]