SGC Working Groups

The following is a list of Working Group topics that will be the focus of SGC2022. Additional detail, including more Working Group topics, will be added once it is available, so check back regularly for more information!

NASA Exploration Working Group Title: Expanding Access to Space in the Era of Artemis

Working Group #1

When NASA first announced its goal to send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon, it became clear that the Artemis missions would bring a new era of inclusivity and access to space. However, a lunar landing is only one of a number of different opportunities that could benefit from diverse space actors.  Whether it be through public engagement, cross-agency collaboration, or the development of new technologies, concerted action will be needed to incorporate members of historically underrepresented communities in space exploration. 

In leading this Working Group, NASA’s goal is to simultaneously inform participants about its plans for sustained lunar exploration, while also challenging the group to provide feedback on these plans through the lens of equity and inclusion. Participants should be prepared to discuss technical, policy, economic, and social approaches to increase participation of non-traditional and underrepresented actors in Artemis objectives. Strategies will be discussed for space industry stakeholders to engage diverse communities at individual, government agency, private entity, and whole industry levels. While the Artemis framework will serve as a focus point for this dialogue, it is expected to yield a mixture of both realistic steps that can be implemented in the short-term and aspirational goals for the future.  

NASA recognizes the importance of gathering perspectives from young people around the world with various backgrounds. To support this effort, NASA will provide the Working Group members with an up-to-date understanding of NASA’s plans for sustained human exploration through Artemis and existing frameworks/strategies.


  • Inform the Working Group members about NASA’s latest plans for Artemis and lunar exploration and development. 
  • Identify the barriers to entry of communities historically underrepresented in the space industry.  
  • Identify novel ways of increasing non-traditional parties in the space industry in a way that is meaningful and sustainable.  

Focus Areas and Potential Questions: 

  • International Collaboration: In what ways can NASA increase collaboration with emerging space nations? How can emerging space nations contribute to Artemis in meaningful ways? What benefits do emerging space nations gain from contributing to Artemis and collaborating with existing space agencies such as NASA?
  • Audiences: How might Artemis inspire the world the way Apollo did? How does NASA broaden its communication about Artemis across different audiences? How does NASA use existing technologies to reach non-abled communities? How can NASA engage and utilize people with more diverse skillsets? How can NASA invest in non-traditional audiences?
  • Industry/Technology: In what ways should the role of industry change in the modern space arena? How can NASA engage non-traditional industries to be involved in space activities? What technological advancements are needed to broaden access for the Artemis missions?

Subject Matter Expert

Ruth Siboni

Chief of Staff, Common Exploration Systems Development Division at NASA HQ


Dr. Ruth Siboni serves as the Integration Manager and Chief of Staff for the Common Exploration Systems Development division at NASA Headquarters.  In this role, Dr. Siboni is responsible for translating goals and objectives into effective operations for the division; establishing control systems and progress reporting requirements for audit processes; integrating technical, programmatic, and strategic products across the division; managing enterprise life cycle reviews and audits; and developing legislative communications. 

Dr. Siboni began her career at NASA in 2015 as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Space Life and Physical Sciences (SLPS) Research Division. While in SLPS, she served as a Life Scientist and Partnerships Manager, where she established agreements supporting space biology postdoctoral fellowships, research facility sharing with other government agencies, and public-private science conferences. During this time, she also served a detail as the Integration Lead for the new Collaborative Sciences Facility at NASA Ames Research Center. In addition, she was a Fulbright Scholar at the German Aerospace Center (Cologne, Germany) in 2019 and a National Science Foundation EAPSI Fellow at Osaka University Medical Hospital in 2015 (Osaka, Japan).

In 2020, she became the Executive Officer for the Associate Administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. In this role, she led front office operations, provided authoritative review of external presentations and engagements, and coordinated technical and strategic correspondence for senior HEOMD management. 

Dr. Siboni earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology from Mary Baldwin University, a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Oregon, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. She is licensed to practice law in Washington, D.C.

Subject Matter Expert

Laura Means

Strategic Communications, Human Landing System Program at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center


Ms. Laura Means is a strategic communications program analyst for the Human Landing System (HLS) program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where she has served since the program’s inception in 2019. In this role, Ms. Means provides support to HLS program management with strategic messaging, executive communications, and stakeholder engagement, integrating the program’s communications efforts internally within the Agency and externally with the program’s industry partners.

Before NASA, Ms. Means spent five years as the communications manager for the Office of the Vice President of Institute Relations at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, where she helped advocate for higher education and research funding and policy at the local, state, and federal levels. 

Ms. Means began her career in the communications office at an Atlanta-based international nonprofit, spending five years sharing the organization’s stories in order to raise support for its goals and objectives.

Ms. Means received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Berry College and a Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communication from Kennesaw State University.

Subject Matter Expert

Amelia Batcha

Executive Officer to the Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA HQ

Amelia Batcha serves as the Executive Officer to the Associate Administrator of the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. In this role, Amelia leads front office operations to support international partner and project activities; maintains overview of issues, policies, and program development; and implements a broad spectrum of management actions. She provides recommendations and detailed analyses on technical topics for senior ESDMD management.

She is also a trajectory design engineer and will support Artemis I as a certified Trajectory Analysis Retargeting and Optimization (TARGO) Officer in the Mission Evaluation Room (MER). Previously in her role at the Johnson Space Center, she served as the Orion Lead to the Exploration Systems Development cross-program and intra-agency End-to-end Mission Performance Team (EMPT) responsible for trajectory products used for the Artemis missions. She managed configuration and data products of mission feasibility and opportunities for launch date planning. She designed trajectories that close performance gaps and balance margins to maximize Artemis I launch opportunities and support development of mission contingency scenarios in conjunction with the Flight Operations Directorate. 

Amelia earned her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2015 and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in astrodynamics from Purdue University. 

European Space Agency

Working Group Title: Achieving “Space for All” through investment in Space Entrepreneurship

Working Group #2

The space sector is pushing towards its most ambitious plans in decades. As a result, all areas of the space sector are receiving more attention and investment than ever before. There are plans to develop technologies that will allow humanity to reach other planets and stars while solving some of the most pressing issues of our world. The US, Europe, China, India, UAE, and Japan are among the nations investing in Space and space-related technologies with the promise to bring a better future to their citizens. In addition, multiple emerging countries on all continents have shown interest in developing their space infrastructure and economy. 

A significant difference between past years is the increasing involvement of the private sector in space activities. More and more, space agencies and governments rely on private companies to perform all the technical development and operations of the mission. This difference has resulted in an increasing number of start-ups trying to find their place in today’s space industry and attempting to provide solutions to help the space sector advance its technical and economic competency. 

The European Space Agency (ESA) is one of the primary supporters of start-ups and small companies in Europe.  The ESA Business Incubation Centers (ESA BICs) comprise the largest network of space incubators in Europe, supporting entrepreneurs with space-based business ideas and stimulating clusters of space-related start-ups across Europe. Additionally, this network connects start-ups with new business partners and enables new companies to get their products off the ground and market ready.

ESA believes it is essential to support and guide young entrepreneurs, enabling them to become leaders of the space industry of tomorrow. For this reason, ESA has partnered with SGAC to provide a platform to discuss ideas on how to motivate and prepare young minds so that they can become space entrepreneurs. Additionally, this working group will discuss ideas on diversifying and promoting entrepreneurship to gender minorities and young students and professionals in emerging countries to achieve “Space for All”. 

Working Group Focus Questions

  • How can the space sector invest in the younger generation to take up entrepreneurship, particularly for gender minorities?

Desired Outcome: The delegates must look deeper into the current statistics on gender diversity within entrepreneurship. The conclusions from this analysis should allow the delegates to propose tangible solutions to ensure equal opportunities for anyone interested in pursuing entrepreneurship. At the same time, the delegates will be encouraged to talk about their different experiences to propose ideas on ensuring everyone is treated equally.

  • How can the space sector empower young people to pursue entrepreneurship, especially in emerging nations?

Desired Outcome: The delegates will have to study the statistics of young entrepreneurs in the space industry in terms of demographics. They will identify the main factors that enable and limit young minds to pursue entrepreneurship in specific regions. Both tasks should allow the delegates to propose solutions for developing frameworks that facilitate entrepreneurship, considering regional strengths and weaknesses. The delegates should also list opportunities for collaboration between different regions to promote the global development of the space sector. 

  • How can the space sector achieve collectively “Space for all” within the next decades?

Desired Outcome: Using what they learned and talked about, the delegates will be tasked to develop a Glocal Roadmap that presents their vision of “Space for all” implemented throughout the space sector across the future decades. This roadmap should display how their solutions will result in a more diverse and inclusive space sector. 

Subject Matter Expert

Gonzalo Martín de Mercado Pérez

Business Development Officer, Space Solutions at European Space Agency

As part of the Space Solutions team Gonzalo has revitalised the ESA Investor Forum. In its current form, the Forum has featured over 100 Space economy scale-ups, supported them in raising well over €150M of private capital, and showcased the business opportunity behind Space economy to well over 500 investment firms, worldwide. Alongside the ESA Investor Forum, Gonzalo manages the “innovation with purpose” financing instrument, ASPIRE WITH ESA, a novel way for start-ups and SME’s to work with ESA. 

Prior to this he developed ESA’s first Space for Fintech challenge, atttracting the attention of London, Paris and Luxembourg’s banking community to the companies involved. Previous roles in the agency included working on institutional programmes like the eHealth for sub-Saharan Africa and Space4Med sponsored by the European Investment Bank.

Before joining ESA, Gonzalo spent ten years working as team leader and engineer in space technology development for INSA S.A. (FUEGO and SMOS missions). He worked with big names in the Space industry including DLR, Alcatel Space, Alenia Aeronautica, Sener and INTA. 

Gonzalo holds a MSc on Telecommunications Engineering and is an alumnae from University of Valladolid (ES), Politechnic University of Madrid (ES) and Henley Business School (UK). He lives in the United Kingdom with his Japanese partner, an Oxford University Fellow.

Luxembourg Space Agency

Working Group Title: TALENTS – or the future of Space

Working Group #3

STEM students, and talents in general are critical to the future of space. But the Space Sector has a lot of competition for a relatively small talent pool. The top STEM students represent a highly specific segment of the population, and the aerospace companies are all seeking the same kind of profiles. 

Yet, those companies are not the only ones looking for talented kids with a tech-based skill set. They are competing with tech companies like Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, or even, as technology development enters every single field of activity, with other industries such as, for instance, finance where incentives are high. The same competition also exists for other profiles. 

As a matter of fact, the space industry has a lot of job openings and not enough people to fill them. Space startups are expanding their teams, which puts more and more pressure on the talent pool. Consequently, companies are changing their recruiting techniques, upgrading facilities, allowing more remote work, and in some cases, a willingness to hire from outside the industry to come out on top in the competition. 

In such a competitive environment, how should the “talent” matter be addressed by small countries such as Luxembourg? 

Focus Questions

Growing the pipeline

One way of addressing talent scarcity is to increase the number of people aiming for a job in the space industry. 

  • A number of initiatives have already been taken in order to raise awareness among young people in Luxembourg: 
    • How should current initiatives be complemented or modified in order to achieve maximum efficiency both for creating awareness, convincing them, and guiding them to the necessary education that will help to get a job in the space industry? 
    • What new initiatives should be put in place?  
  • What kind of training would best address the needs of the industry, in terms of technical competencies as well as culture and mindset?  
  • What are the best worldwide space training programmes, why and how should Luxembourg’s training offer evolve to meet or even exceed the international standard? 
  • Facilitating industry switches of established professionals (talent from terrestrial industries joining the space industry) is another more immediate way of growing the talent pool. 
    • What kind of  initiatives should be put in place to create awareness and push already established professionals in doing an industry switch to space? 
    • What facilitating measures should be put in place to foster this transition?
  • In terms of economic returns, what do you expect the result of training young people for the space field to be?
    • How long does this take ?
    • How does this link to other space objectives for Luxembourg ?
  • Is there any basis for joint initiatives for other countries?
  • To what basis does training need to be prescriptive and how much freedom of innovation will you allow within this training? 


  • What other untapped recruitment sources could be considered? 


Talent attraction & retention 

  • Which elements, specific to Luxembourg, should be advertised in order to attract talents for the national space industry? What additional strategies could be developed at the national level? 
  • Which elements could be considered as obstacles preventing talent attraction, and how should this be overcome?
  • What are the key elements which could allow talent retention: 
    • In the country?
    • In the space industry?
  • What measures should be put in place to reinforce diversity in the space sector? 

Subject Matter Expert

Andreas Hein

Associate Professor, Head of the Space Systems Engineering Group

Andreas Hein loves space and complex systems. He is fortunate to combine both as a professor for Space Systems Engineering at SnT, University of Luxembourg where he works on disruptive future space systems in collaboration within the Luxembourg space ecosystem. Before SnT, he worked as a system architect at IRT-SystemX, designing autonomous transportation systems with Transdev. He was formerly an researcher at the Industrial Engineering Lab at CentraleSupélec – Université Paris-Saclay in the area of systems engineering, collaborating with major French companies such as Renault, Thales, EDF, and Air Liquide.

He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Technical University of Munich and conducted his PhD research at the same university and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the Executive Director of the Initiative for Interstellar Studies, a UK-based not-for-profit company working towards the realization of interstellar travel. 

Subject Matter Expert

Charles Koener

Policy Officer at Luxembourg Space Agency

Charles Koener is a policy officer and project manager at the Luxembourg Space Agency. In the frame of his job at the LSA, he is involved in the evaluation of proposals from innovative companies planning to establish themselves in Luxembourg to join the space ecosystem. Moreover, he represents Luxembourg as a delegate in committees at the European Commission and ESA. Charles always had a passion for technology and space. He holds a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. Since his beginnings at the LSA in 2018, he has developed a deep knowledge around space systems and entrepreneurship by assisting many companies and start-ups to develop a sustainable business in this field. 

Subject Matter Expert

Bo Byloos

Project Officer Exploration and Education at Luxembourg Space Agency

Subject Matter Expert

Loïck Chovet

Doctoral Researcher in the Space robotics research group (SpaceR) of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) at the University of Luxembourg

Loïck Chovet is a doctoral researcher in SpaceR, working on the project FiReSpARX to explore the potential of DLT for space multi robot systems.

He holds a double degree in computer science and robotics & artificial perception from the university of Clermont-Ferrand in France. 

His work is focused on multi-robot cooperation, network and embedded systems.

UK Space Agency

Working Group Title: Addressing the Space Sector Skills Gap

Working Group #4

The next generation of space missions and capabilities, with their ever-increasing complexity and ambition, could be hampered by skills gaps in the space sector. We see a growing number of vacancies, some for highly-specialized roles, but many asking for business and soft skills allied with technical skills. Employers across this and other hi-tech sectors are reporting difficulties recruiting, particularly at mid-levels, and with an aging workforce, these challenges are compounded.

Addressing the skills gap needs innovative ideas to ensure that young, skilled talent wants to work and remain in the space sector by developing their careers. 

Hosted by the UK Space Agency, this working group will explore different ways to address the skills gap, nationally and internationally, including industry, academia, and government, considering existing initiatives to draw out fresh recommendations. 

Desired Outcome: A presentation and a paper with recommendations from the working group, based upon their experiences, on how the space sector can reduce the skills gap, with clear actions for space organizations, including industry, academia, and governments, to take. For participants to be able to take these recommendations back to influence their own national organizations.

Focus Questions and Outcomes: 

  • What are the issues facing technical, policy, and research skills retention and pull-through into career pathways?  
    • Outcome 1: A list of issues facing those working in technical, policy, and research roles in the space sector on how to develop a long career.
  • How can we improve the current system of collaboration, or linkages, between government, industry, and academia in addressing the skills gap and prepare for future capabilities and challenges?
    • Outcome 2: Recommendations that define the responsibilities of different actors (including industry, academia, governments, and other organizations such as SGAC) to address the skills gap – who is responsible for what?
    • Outcome 3: Suggestions of how better linkages between organizations could prevent a future widening of the skills gap.
  • How can such recommendations be implemented?
    • Outcome 3: Identifying long-term objectives for the space sector to address the skills gap.
    • Outcome 4: identifying short-term objectives for buy-ins – such as how to present and publicize the recommendations and long-term aims.

Notes: Potential background reading – links to pages with PDFs for download: 

Subject Matter Expert

Dr Joanna Hart

Skills Factory Director, National Labs, UKRI – Science and Technology Facilities Council

Joanna spent 8 years helping to develop the UK space sector, first at the Satellite Applications Catapult and then as the Harwell Space Cluster Development Manager at UKRI-STFC. Growing the Cluster from 80 organisations to over 100 today that collectively employ over 1,400 people (up from 800 in December 2017). 

One of the key challenges the sector faces is access to skills and increasingly over the last two years, Joanna has explored how STFC with its inspirational facilities, award winning training schemes and direct links to businesses can increase the pipeline of skilled people to SMEs. As the Skills Factory Director, Joanna is charged with making this idea a reality so that school leavers to returners can benefit from the opportunities that STFC has to offer, setting them up for a fulfilling career in the STEM sector and directly addressing national skills shortages.

Previously, Joanna has nine years of experience in equity research at investment banks UBS and Credit Suisse. This involved advising global fund managers to buy and sell shares in European telecoms companies. Joanna holds a DPhil in Particle Physics from the University of Oxford, which involved working on the ZEUS Central Tracking Detector (now a museum piece at Harwell Campus).

Subject Matter Expert

Kathie Bowden

Skills Lead, UK Space Agency

Kathie has been the Skills Lead for the UK Space Agency for the past 5 years, working with partners across the sector (in industry, academia and government) through her leadership of the People, Skills and Culture Workstream for the National Space Partnership. She has an Earth observation background and has worked in industry, academia and now government for over 40 years. She is passionate about ensuring that the space sector is welcoming and truly inclusive. Kathie has been instrumental in the skills agenda for the space sector. She is working in collaboration with the Satellite Applications Catapult and industry to address the skills gap. One of the initiatives she leads is the national Space Placements in INdustry (SPIN) scheme which connects bright and motivated students with placements in companies and other space sector organisations. 

Kathie is: a founder member of the Geological Remote Sensing Group; Fellow and past Chair of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society, awarded the Founder’s Medal for Services to the Society in 2008; a member of Women in Aerospace, and was awarded the British Interplanetary Society’s Arthur C Clarke award for her skills development work in 2017.

Subject Matter Expert

Jodie Howlett

Space Systems Engineer, UK Space Agency

Jodie is a Space Systems Engineer at the UK Space Agency, working within the Office of the Chief Engineer. She provides detailed technical oversight on a variety of UK-supported space missions and projects, from Earth Observation missions that help tackle climate change, to large flagship science missions involving a number of international players. Jodie graduated with a First Class (Hons) in MEng Mechanical Engineering from Sheffield Hallam University in 2019, and then went on to complete the Space Studies Program at the International Space University in France. She then joined the European Space Agency’s mission control centre in Germany, working in product assurance and quality alongside 800 colleagues from over 20 countries. Jodie is a Trustee of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Support Network, an active member of SGAC, and was listed in the UK’s Top 50 Women in Engineering in 2017.


Working Group Title: Addressing Food Security with Earth Observation Data

Working Group #5


To engage and enable today’s space generation in productive discussions around how space technology can address global food security on Earth; as well as understand the impact it has on overall diversity, equity, and inclusion for the space community.
The purpose of the workshop is to actively create and draft an impactful report with support of focus questions to discover and assess how the active discussions can be incorporated into any future EO-powered programs that Planet launches. 


In 2015, the United Nations published the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Multiple countries, institutions and multinational companies are committed to implementing solutions to meet SDGs. Additionally, the most effective sustainable development happens at the local levels, albeit political decisions being made at higher levels, namely in cities and small municipalities. Earth observation has been cited as a superior tool to monitor, capture and drive development responsibilities and goals. Large constellations of Earth-observing satellites, like Planet, now produce enormous volumes of potentially actionable information about our Earth, with wide relevance in facilitating SDGs. Yet this trove of information is of little value if it is not synthesized into actionable insights, and then made accessible to those best positioned to take action. Routinely, elite scientific, technical, commercial and intergovernmental bodies produce indicators that never reach communities on the ground and can cause an unfortunate access gap. 

Planet has the ability to support 14 out of 17 SDGs. SDG number two is Zero Hunger. According to the United Nations, nearly 690 million people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition (8.9% of the world population). In the Panet Working Group we will discuss how to address global food security using Earth Observation (EO) data and how we can bring the world back on track to meet Zero Hunger by 2030.

Delegates will first look into determining how the world population can alleviate the perils of hunger through EO Data and address global food security in the coming years. Then, the delegates will consider how future policy can be structured to ensure ethical and democratic access to EO tools and how these tools can build new norms towards planetary stewardships and contribute to achieving the Zero Hunger initiative. Finally, delegates will use this year’s SGC2022 theme of diversity, equity, and inclusion to discuss what role space technology and EO satellites play in addressing the “access gap” in food security. 

The above themes were chosen as the main points of discussion to make sure delegates understand what EO data is, what can be done through policy and how we address the “access gap” to EO data. These main focus questions are in no way a comprehensive list of questions that can be used to address Zero Hunger, but are designed to allow the delegates to have an open conversation and ask more questions about each of these themes in the context of space technology, and in particular EO satellites and data.

The mission of the workshop in “Addressing Food Security with Earth Observation Data”: See Change. Change the World. 

The main outcome of Planet’s working group “Addressing Food Security with Earth Observation Data” is to engage the current space generation in productive discussions regarding how space technology can address global food security on Earth and the impact it has on overall diversity, equity, and inclusion in the space community. The second outcome is to produce a report on the focus questions’ discussions and how these discussions can be incorporated within any new EO-powered program that Planet launches in the future. 


Focus Questions

1. How can we alleviate the perils of hunger through Earth Observation (EO) data and address global food security?

Desired Outcome: 

Global agriculture communities need EO data to make practical decisions regarding crop health, growth, and yield. The discussion will be focused on remote sensing ideas and how they can be applied globally, but especially in high-risk geographical locations, given the UN estimates that 8.9% of the world population suffers from hunger. 

2. What are the visions and aspirations of the next generation with regards to how policy can be structured to ensure ethical and democratic access to these EO tools, and use these to build new norms towards planetary stewardship and achieving the Zero Hunger initiative?

Desired Outcome: 

Discussions will be focused on identifying what role can private industries and governmental agencies play in providing data-sharing access to EO-powered decision support tools and creating relationships between these entities to support initiatives like the UN’s SDG of Zero Hunger.

3. What role should space technology and EO satellites play in addressing the “access gap” of diversity, equity, and inclusion caused by food insecurity?

Desired Outcome:

Discussions will be focused on how space technology can empower global communities to take informed action to tackle the topic of food security, especially in space-emerging nations, and what direct impacts can be made to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in the global space community.

Subject Matter Expert

Mariana Curdoglo

Product Manager, PlanetScope

Mariana is a product manager with a focus on remote sensing and image quality for Planet’s medium resolution fleet (Planetscope). She works with customers across verticals to ensure they have the best quality imagery delivered in a reliable, consistent way. She is passionate about helping customers get valuable insights from one of the richest geospatial datasets in the world.

Subject Matter Expert

Pooja Pandey

Product Manager, Retention

Pooja is a product manager currently leading customer retention in Planet, supporting companies across various sectors in their digital transformation and adoption of remote sensing technologies. She has helped Planet customers capture value from satellite imagery by advising them on architecting and developing solutions that enable them to make global change actionable. Now she works in product, making strategic decisions on how customers interact with Planet’s Platform. Before Planet, she was a geospatial analyst building maps for the automotive industry in Munich. She has an educational background in environmental science, business and computational sciences having studied across London and Berlin.

Subject Matter Expert

Stefan Zeller

Space Systems Engineer

Stefan Zeller is a Space Systems Engineer at Planet, where he is part of the satellite operations team that manages the largest Earth Observation fleet in the world. Stefan received a BSc and a MSc in Aerospace Engineering from the Technical University of Munich and also studied at the Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín. He wrote his Master’s Thesis at ArianeGroup in the field of heat transfer simulations within rocket engines and worked as an IT product owner in the field of flight trajectory optimization before joining Planet.

SGAC Special Track

Working Group Title: Space Food

Working Group #6

Description: Having food in space has always been challenging due to the unique logistical requirements for supply and storage. Also, each aliment needs to be packaged to be consumed adequately and safely by the astronauts. In the last couple of decades, Low Earth Missions have developed new resupply processes and methods, and several food items have been adapted for consumption in space. However, future crewed missions to the Moon, Mars, and more distant planetary bodies will require many modifications as the duration of the mission, the crew diversification and the distance from Earth increase. 

First of all, food will have to be produced in situ as an alternative for food resupply, which will become more expensive and eventually unfeasible. Secondly, space food will play a much more critical role in keeping the astronauts healthy, both physically and mentally, since food also has, in addition to nutritional properties, sensorial, cultural and social aspects that can help mitigate problems like low morale and homesickness. 

Delegates of this Working Group will have to discuss the multilateral roles and possible future applications of food in human spaceflight. Also, they will learn about the current and high-level food production technologies and provide recommendations on the research fundamentals that can help advance space nutrition and food production technologies. 

Focus (1): What are the best food items attributes and candidates for consumption in space?

Desired outcomes: The unique challenges of space travel impose specific constraints, making some food attributes more relevant than others to astronauts. Usually, nutritional value, stability, and convenience come first, but other aspects such as palatability become just as significant when considering deep space missions. The international nature of SGC will allow delegates to develop a universal list of the most important food attributes, as well as diverse food candidates already consumed on Earth in different parts of the world that would be appropriate and promising for space travel. Trade offs based on logistical aspects such as storage requirements, meal preparation needs, and the possibility of in situ production during the mission will be performed. Other considerations include the need for variety and acceptable tradeoffs between food requirements based on mission attributes, such as crew size, the mission duration, etc. 

Focus (2): How to improve existing space food production systems and methods?

Desired outcomes: In addition to nutritional characteristics, future food production systems and methods in space should consider user acceptance, ensure reliability, and avoid complex operations. These considerations will be brainstormed and broken down by the delegates to identify feasible opportunities for innovating existing food production systems and methods in preparation for longer missions to the Moon and Mars.

Focus (3): How can developments in space food be reused on Earth to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition (SDG #2) and reduce inequalities (SDG #10)? 

Desired outcomes: Space Technology Earth Applications are probably one of the best arguments to justify our investment in space infrastructure, especially when paid with taxpayer money. Any development made on how to supply, store, and produce food in space can potentially improve how we do the same on Earth, which could benefit communities that experience a high degree of isolation or face extreme environmental conditions. During this part, the delegates should identify such opportunities to answer part of the Sustainable Development Goal #2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture) #10 (Reducing Inequalities) based on the current space food technologies and foreseen challenges in our food supply chain, such as those created by climate change. 

Subject Matter Expert

Pascal Rosenfeld

VP New Ventures & Space at Aleph Farms

Pascal Rosenfeld holds an MBA and has over 20 years’ experience in strategic partnerships, finance & venture projects. A lifelong Environmentalist, he believes Aleph Farms is one of the most powerful levers on Earth to lower our carbon footprint and reduce the use of natural resources. Pascal is managing Aleph’s New Ventures programs and partnerships.

Subject Matter Expert

Shahreen Reza

CEO and Co-Founder of ASTREAS

Shahreen Reza is the CEO and Co-Founder of Astreas, the first commercial company focused on employing nutritional countermeasures to promote human health in space. Astreas engineers food products and production systems that redefine the multisensory pleasure of food in space and create infrastructure for deep-space exploration. Prior to Astreas, Reza’s first start-up, PurifAid, was a cleantech water company that used the byproduct of Scotch Whisky to decontaminate industrially polluted water in Europe and took the technology to the villages of Bangladesh to tackle the arsenic water crisis.

Subject Matter Expert

Alain Maillet

Head of Nutrition activities for CNES at MEDES

Alain Maillet has a PhD in physiology and a diploma to direct scientific research (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches); he has been working at MEDES (Space Medicine and Physiology Institute, Toulouse) as project scientist and project manager since 1993.

Before that he has been selected as a volunteer for the first ESA confinement campaign (1990: Norvegian Underwater Technical Centre, BERGEN-Norway, French selected crew member for the Isolation Study for the European Manned Space Infrastructure, ISEMSI – ESA). Then, he also participated as a scientific investigator in many ground space simulations or space missions. Since 1993, during his work at MEDES, he has coordinated several ground space simulations (in 1994, the ESA-CNES long-term bed-rest and several short-term head-down bed-rest experiments from 24 hours up to 7 days, either on male or female subjects).

In 2001, he joined the CADMOS team (the French space station operations and support centre) for MEDES where he was responsible for the EPM activities and also nutrition activities. EPM is the European Physiology Modules Facility which is on board the international Space Station inside the European Columbus laboratory. Since the launch of Columbus in 2008, he has been Experiment Manager and Operations Lead for the physiological experiments supported by CADMOS. In early 2021, he changed for two new activities: half-time with the responsibility of the nutrition activities within the CADMOS instrument development section and half time as CNES Life Science & Health responsible for Exploration.

He is the author (or co-author) of 46 publications in international scientific peer reviewed journals.

Subject Matter Expert

Dr. Sonja Brungs

Crew Support Engineer at the European Space Agency

Sonja Brungs is a Crew Support Engineer serving the European Space Agency’s Human and Robotic Exploration Programme. She facilitates the daily life of astronauts, reducing stress and alleviating inconveniences that both crew as well as their immediate families encounter from pre-flight to post- flight. Accordingly, Ms Brungs is responsible for the procurement of food (“Bonus Food”), individually tailored to each astronaut’s food preferences while accommodating strict guidelines. Besides her crew support tasks, she supports ISS tech demo payloads as a certified flight controller.

Before joining ESA, Ms Brungs earned a diploma and doctorate’s degree in cell biology from the University of Bonn, Germany, and worked as a research fellow at the German Aerospace Center where she managed microgravity research projects on ISS, parabolic flights, sounding rockets and ground-based analogues.

Subject Matter Expert

Christina-Ariadni Valagkouti

Analog Astronaut Nutrition Expert at Interstellar Performance Labs

Everyone deserves access to nutritious, tasty food, but there are populations in extreme conditions, for whom those standards are rarely met. I’m Christina-Ariadni, applying nutrition science in innovative projects that will solve exactly that problem. My internship at the European Space Agency taught me about environmental restrictions and the potential of novel foods in helping with food insecurity and sustainability issues. Currently, I am doing my part by battling food waste in the Dutch branch of “Gorillas”, and by making sure that microorganisms that have not been consumed widely before are safe to eat, within ““. The other aspects of my education as a nutrition expert find application within Interstellar Performance Labs, where I support the training of analog astronauts.

Subject Matter Expert

João Pedro Marques Garcia

Research Fellow on cultured meat technologies at the European Space Agency

João Garcia obtained a masters’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Porto in 2015. In 2020, he completed his PhD in regenerative medicine at the University Medical Center Utrecht, during which he focused on the development of regenerative strategies for cartilage diseases. Since early on in his PhD, Joao developed an interest in cellular agriculture and cultured meat technologies. As of January 2022, he joined the European Space Agency as a Research Fellow, where he is evaluating the potential of cultured meat technologies as food source in future long-term space exploration missions.

Subject Matter Expert

Christel Paille

Project Engineer for closed regenerative life support systems technology development (MELiSSA project) and Coordinator of MELiSSA R&D activities in food production and preparation for future space crewed missions at ESA

1998: Process Engineering, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand, France 

2001: Master in Biotechnology, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain; 

2001-Present: Project Engineer for closed regenerative life support systems technology development (MELiSSA project), coordinator of MELiSSA R&D activities in food production and preparation for future space crewed missions, European Space Agency, Noordwijk, The Netherlands.