Florian Ruhhammer (Germany)
Congress Manager

Florian Ruhhammer works as system engineer for the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and is currently seconded to the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of the Ariane 6 Launcher System Embedded Team at ArianeGroup. Florian has worked two years at the Launchers Product Assurance and Safety (PA&S) Division of ESA in the frame of its Young Graduate Trainee program. He was a student research assistant for the DLR and Centre of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM). Florian has a M.Sc in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Bremen, Germany. Florian joined SGAC in 2016 and has been appointed as part of the SGC 2016 organizing team as well as Deputy Manager for the E-SGW 2017 and Deputy Manager for the SGC 2017.

Chris Nie (USA)
Deputy Congress Manager

Chris Nie is a Systems and Integration Engineer working on the environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle at Lockheed Martin Space. His career has given him the opportunity to work on GPS satellites, SmallSats, in government affairs and business development, as well as NASA’s Human Spaceflight Program, Orion. Chris graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a focus in Bioastronautics. His university career spanned work in the fields of space life science research, robotics, ECLSS, human factors, and CubeSats. Chris is active in the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and is an alumnus of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). He is honored to have been named one of Aviation Week’s Twenty20s as a rising leader in Aerospace and Defense, and to have received the President’s Volunteer Service Award multiple times for his work in STEM outreach.

Local Team

Abdelfattah Mostafa (Egypt)
Local Organising Coordinator

Abdelfattah Mostafa is a space propulsion engineer at Omnidea-RTG, Germany and is working on development, manufacturing and testing of several propulsion system components from bi-metallic joints to thrusters in the frame of ESA projects and with the LSI in the space industry. He has worked at FOTEC, Austria as an intern research within chemical space propulsion projects with green propulsion outlook. Abdelfattah has a M.Sc. degree in Aerospace Engineering from University of applied science in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. He has been a member of SGAC since 2014.

Amina Zaghdane (Germany)
Local Organising Coordinator

Amina is pursuing a master’s degree in Applied Mathematics at the University of Bremen, specializing in PDE, optimal control and control engineering. During her studies, she did research on a project addressing the exploration of small celestial bodies at the Institute of Space Systems of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Further, Amina worked on the accomplishment of the sounding rocket experiment UB-SPACE which was launched onboard REXUS 21 in March 2017. As scientific responsible, she was crucially involved from the very first ideation to the final data analysis. Beside her studies, she is dedicated to inspire youth’s interest in space science and technology. She had the opportunity to do this over the past years as an instructor for robotics and as a student assistant at DLR_School_Lab Bremen, where she is still working. She looks very much forward to welcoming the delegates for the SGC 2018 in her home city Bremen!

Michael Elsen (Germany)
Local Organising Coordinator

Michael Elsen was born in Germany and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the FH Aachen – University of Applied Sciences and a Master’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Bremen. He focused on orbital mechanics, space systems including guidance, navigation, and control (GNC), attitude and orbital control systems (AOCS), and thermal control design. For an internship and his Bachelor’s thesis, he moved to Bremen to work at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). During his Master’s course, he worked on several projects at the DLR in Bremen, for example a thrust vectoring for a lunar lander demonstrator as part of a master project team. Micha currently doing his PhD at the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the University of Bremen and is working as a research associate within the MAIUS (Matter-Wave Interferometry in Microgravity) project.

Christian Bach (Germany)
Local Organising Coordinator

Since 2013 Christian Bach works as a research associate for the Institute of Aerospace Engineering at the Technische Universität Dresden in Germany. Responsible for all chemical propulsion and rocketry related activities, he manages the project SMART, in which undergraduate students develop their own liquid-fuelled sounding rocket. In 2016, Christian started to give lectures, among others in the fields of space transportation and space exploration. In the same year he has been appointed as occupational health and safety officer at the Chair of Space Systems. In parallel he is a Ph.D. candidate in the research group for Space Propulsion and Advanced Concepts, in which he is working on novel thrust vector control methods for advanced nozzles. He published a total of 18 journal and conference papers. One of them resulted from his participation in the SGAC, where he is an active member since 2015. Christian has a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.


Delegates coordinators

Mehdi Scoubeau (Belgium)
Delegates Coordinator

Mehdi Scoubeau has been working for two years as Mission Analysis Engineer in the context of a National Traineeship at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) of the European Space Agency (ESA), in Darmstadt, Germany. Previously, he did an internship in Propulsion in a Swiss startup and acted as Crew Commander during two Mars Analogue missions at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in the Utah desert, USA. Mehdi has a Aerospace Engineering Degree from ISAE-Supaero in Toulouse, France and a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mons in Belgium. He has attended the Space Generation Congress as Delegate in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Eric Mwobobia (Kenya)
Delegates Coordinator

Eric Mwobobia is a young leader with huge interests and focus into technology, communities and leadership. He is heavily involved in community development and has been a part of leadership in African developer ecosystem in a number of successful tech companies. Eric is a part of the SGAC global web team and an active ambassador in a number of SGAC projects. Eric has huge passion in Internet of Things and is working to bridge the gap between tech and space sector by championing for more tech-space related projects. He currently works at Safaricom Limited in Kenya. His contribution into community growth, collaboration and leadership is enormous.

Sumana Mukherjee (India)
Delegates Coordinator

Sumana is a Masters student at Delft University of Technology studying Space engineering and has an undergraduate degree in Aerospace engineering from India. She attended SGC 2016 as a student delegate in Guadalajara, Mexico. Sumana has done several internships on small satellite systems in Europe. In 2017, she participated in analogue missions including the Poland Mars Analogue Mission(organised by Space Exploration Project Group of SGAC) and Lunar Expedition 1 (organised by ESA-ESTEC and Space Garden company) as a member of the Planning and Scheduling Team.

Eloise Matheson (UK / Australia)
Delegates Coordinator

Eloise Matheson is doing her PhD in Medical Robotics at Imperial College London, UK. Previously, she was working at the European Space Agency in the Telerobotics and Haptics Lab in the Netherlands, first as a Young Graduate Trainee and then as a contractor. She has a M.Sc in Advanced Robotics from Ecole Centrale de Nantes, France, and completed her undergraduate degree in Mechatronics (Space) Engineering at the University of Sydney, Australia. Eloise has been appointed as part of the Programme Team for E-SGW 2018, and as part of the Delegate Team for SGC 2018 in Bremen.


Working Group Coordinators

Angeliki Kapoglou (Greece)
Working Group Coordinator

Angeliki Kapoglou is an ESA funded Phd student, spending her time between ESTEC, UCL’s Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose and New Space Companies in Silicon Valley. Her research is focused on commercial partnerships for lunar exploration and more specifically on enabling lunar ISRU. Before that Angeliki spend a year at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, where she became interested in learning how innovation works and applying Human – Centered Design methodologies as a strategic planning tool for international space exploration. Since then she also works as design strategy consultant and some of her clients include ESA HQ, DLR and the Dubai Museum of the Future. In the past she also worked at CERN and NASA’s JPL Innovation Foundry and she is experienced in leading early phase research and opportunity definition projects. Finally, she is a member of the Moon Village Association Board of Directors.

Davide Petrillo (Italy)
Working Group Coordinator

Davide Petrillo is currently working as a Business & Integration Consultant for Accenture, global management consulting company that provides strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations services. Davide has a M.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy. Previously, he was the Team Leader of FELDs Experiment selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the Drop Your Thesis! 2014 programme. FELDs tested a tethered electromagnetic soft docking technology in microgravity conditions at the Drop Tower of the Centre of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) in Bremen, Germany. In 2015, he won the “Hans Von Muldau Team Award” for the best team project that took place in Jerusalem at the 66th International Astronautical Congress (IAC). Davide joined SGAC in 2016 and has been appointed as part of the 3rd E-SGW organizing team.



Bethany Downer (Canada)

Bethany Downer was born and raised on the island of Newfoundland, Canada, where she received her B.Sc from Memorial University. She has since gone on to complete her M.Sc in Space Studies from the International Space University and is currently working in the area of science and technology communications for the space sector in the Netherlands. Bethany has been named twice to Canada’s list of Top 30 Under 30 and was recently named one of the world’s Top 24 Under 24 in STEAM and Space by The Mars Generation. Bethany is passionate about engaging the public in space sector activities, particularly those not directly involved in the industry, and has recently founded the space science and technology platform Reaching Space Science.

Murdoch Thomson (US)

Murdoch Thomson is a masters of law student specialising in space, cyber, and telecommunications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Murdoch studied undergraduate law with politics and graduated with first class honours from the University of Buckingham before completing a masters in international and commercial law with distinction in 2017. Currently, Murdoch is researching what possible consequences the British departure from the European Union may exert upon the European and international space market, alongside collective policy initiatives for European space security. Murdoch is an Editor within the Organising Committee for the 2018 Space Generation Congress.


Support Team

Mansoor Shar (UK)
Support Team

A graduate from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France with an MSc in Space Studies, Mansoor joined Inmarsat in June 2015 and works as an Asset and Investment Analyst in the Technology Optimisation function, carrying out profitability assessments, technical analysis and supporting cross-functional strategic development activities. Mansoor has been an active member of SGAC since early 2015 when he joined the Web Team during his masters at ISU. He first experienced SGAC’s impact on the space community when taking part in the 2015 SGC in Jerusalem, resulting in a successful workshop that led to a published paper in the peer-reviewed journal NewSpace. He continued his involvement through participation at SGx 2016 in Washington DC, the 2nd European Space Generation Workshop in Paris and the 2017 Space Generation Fusion Forum in Colorado. Mansoor has also been on the organizing team for the 2018 Fusion Forum. Prior to Inmarsat and ISU, Mansoor worked at Barclays and Goldman Sachs and has a BSc in Computer Science.

Ani Vermeulen (South Africa)
Support Team

Ani Vermeulen is a Master’s student in Space Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. Her current research focuses on ionospheric disturbances in GPS satellite transmissions. Her prior education includes engineering, astrophysics and space science. The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) named her a 2017 Emerging Space Leader and she contributed to the Innovation working group at the 2017 Space Generation Congress. Ani was part of the 2016 Space Station Design Workshop (SSDW) at Stuttgart University’s Institute for Space Systems (IRS). She has worked in Antarctica as a volunteer scientist for the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and has four years of telecommunications industry experience in business analysis and process engineering. Her future focus will be on space mission design and mission operations, with a specific interest in crewed space habitats or planetary missions. Ani has been appointed to the SGC2018 Support Team.



Ian Benecken (Germany)
Media Team

Ian Benecken studies Aerospace Engineering with a Major in Space Engineering at the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences. Ian also supports the COMPASS project, a student project for designing, building and operating cubesats as vice student lead, PR Manager and Flight Controller. Before starting his university studies, he finished an apprenticeship as an aircraft maintenance mechanic in 2016. In 2015, he was given the opportunity to work as an intern for the EUROCOM ISS flight controller at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany where he prepared PR materials about the team for public display. In his spare time, he is active on social media by writing about human spaceflight operations.

Sathesh Raj (Malysia)
Media Team

Trained as a journalist, Sathesh Raj is proficient in the areas of communications and media affairs. He gained his media trainings, among others, through his participation in a joint workshop by British Council Malaysia and Pioneers Post UK in 2014. He continued to develop his video journalism skills by being part of the British High Commission Kuala Lumpur’s MediaLab programme between 2016 and 2017. Through a video production part of the programme, he secured a spot as a delegate in Future News Worldwide 2017, an international conference held at the Scottish Parliament. He has been part of the World Space Week Association’s Global Volunteer Team as a media support personnel since 2016 and is currently attached to Doctors Without Borders Hong Kong. Occasionally, he can be seen contributing digital content for Astro AWANI, Malaysia’s 24-hour news network, while completing his undergraduate studies in Biology.