Session 3: Technology and Skills Development

Thursday 25 April


Given the nascent stage of developing countries in the field of space science and technology, technology and skills development become important success factors for the long-term sustainability of national space programs. Hence, the consideration of different approaches to such development and the protection of intellectual property is vitally important during the implementation phase  of national space programs. The Session focus will be on:

  1. Grasping the role played by academia in developing the requisite knowledge and skills required for national space programs, and
  2. Contextualising the role of government in supporting the implementation of national space programs.
  3. Understanding the cooperation modalities among the key players involved in skills and technology development.


09:30 – 09:40 : KEYNOTE 3


Juan de Dalmau


International Space University (ISU),




Full Bio

Juan serves as President of the International Space University and is based at ISU’s Campus in Strasbourg, France since September 2018.

Juan’s background is in mechanical engineering, business administration, space studies, and languages. He has over 35 years of international management experience in engineering, operations, technology development, education and communications & outreach. He has worked in the private sector, in university and for the French (CNES) and European (ESA) Space Agencies.

His latest job was as Head of the Communication Office at ESTEC, ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands. He previously served as director of the Aerospace Research and Technology Centre (CTAE) in Barcelona, and as General Delegate of the Community of Ariane Cities (CVA). Earlier on, he worked as Range Operations Manager (DDO) at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Juan is a graduate of ISU’s SSP Program of 1989, when he benefited from a joint scholarship of CNES and ESA. He was elected as ISU’s 6th President in March 2018, and took succession of  Prof. Walter Peeters in September 2018.

His involvement with ISU as Faculty member dates back to 1993, and he has also served as Director of the SSP Program and as Chair of the Academic Council.

Juan was raised in a German-Spanish family. He speaks seven languages. He and his wife Cristina enjoy a family of three children.

More details are available here:

09:40 – 11:00 : Plenary 3


Rania Toukebri

National Point of Contact for Tunisia,

Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC),




Full Bio

Ms Rania Toukebri, born in 1991, is a Tunisian aerospace engineer working for ESA projects in Bremen, Germany since November 2016.
She has an engineering diploma in instrumentation and electronics from INSAT in Tunisia in 2015 and a Master in embedded systems from UPJV in France in 2016. She also got a certificate in Cryptography from Stanford University in 2017.
She worked on the QB50 project (50 cubesats launched in 2016-2017) with INSSET, UPJV during her graduation project and for a Bombardier project `SURFER´: a new generation calculator for maintenance tasks.
Among the spacecrafts that she worked in: Jupiter Icy Moons Satellite, Biomass satellite, Met-Op C satellite, En-Map satellite and a non ESA project: Kompsat7 satellite (South Korean).
She is specialized in storage units and data acquisition interfaces.
Rania is also National Point of Contact of Tunisia or the Space generation Advisory Council since 2016.
She has been part of several international workshops, seminars and events for the development of space activities, solving space problematics (space debries, cybersecurity..) and for the growth of the space generation. She has been moderator in Space Generation Congress and she has been part of UNOOSA events, the UNISPACE +50 and the UNCOPUOS.
She is also part of the UNHCR organization since 2016, as well as a UN Volunteer for African affairs and an activist supporting the Human Rights Watch activities.



Elhachmi Essadiqi


Aerospace Engineering School, International University of Rabat






Otto Koudelka

Head of the Institute of Communications Network & Satellite Communications,

Graz University of Technology (TU Graz),



Full Bio

Otto Koudelka studied Electrical Engineering at Graz University of Technology, Austria, received the Master’s degree (Dipl.-Ing.) in electrical engineering (1980) and PhD degree (1986) with honors in communications from Graz University of Technology.

From 1  1980 – 1982 he was scientist at the Research Centre Graz and became involved in ESA’s first high-speed satellite data transmission experiment STELLA. In

1982 he joined Graz University of Technology where he became Assistant Professor and Deputy Head of the Institute of Communications and Wave Propagation, Austria’s leading institute in space communications. “Habilitation” was in 1993, afterwards Otto Koudelka became Associate Professor at TU Graz.

In 1990 he was Visiting Researcher at the Rutherford-Apleton Laboratory in Oxford and University of Buckingham carrying out research in high-speed satellite networking systems.

From 1999-2000 he was Visiting Professor at the University of Kansas (USA).

In 2002 he became Full Professor in Communications at Graz University of Technology, succeeding Prof Willibald Riedler, the eminent Austrian Space scientist, as Head of the Institute of Communication Networks and Satellite Communications at Graz University of Technology (the institute was renamed in 2002 to institute of Communication Networks and Satellite Communications).

From 2002 to 2012 he was also Head of the Institute of Applied Systems Technology (Joanneum Research, the second largest non-university research institution in Austria), respectively Head of the Space and Acoustics Research Group, responsible for a team of more than 40 researchers and engineers.

His research and teaching activities are in the fields of satellite and terrestrial broadband wireless communications, development of space-qualified hard-and software, nanosatellite technology, satellite and terrestrial networking, multi-media communications as well as satellite ground station technology.



Aimin Niu

Programme Officer,

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA),



Full Bio

Mr. Aimin Niu is the Programme Officer at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). He is in charge of the implementation of projects under the Human Space Technology Initiative (HSTI) of UNOOSA, with particular attention to the United Nations/China Cooperation on the Utilization of the China Space Station (CSS), as well as the United Nations/ESA Cooperation on the Utilization of the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) located at ESTEC/ESA in the Netherlands.  With strong support by the Government of China, Mr. Niu initiated the cooperation on opening China Space Station to all Member States of the United Nations, providing physical access to space and bringing benefits of CSS to humankind.

Before he joined the United Nations in 2011, Mr. Niu worked at the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) for 15 years discharging responsibilities in China’s human space programme planning, software product quality control and international cooperation with rest of the world.


Amal Layachi

Head of Capacity Building Department,

Royal Centre for Remote Sensing (CRTS),




Full Bio

Ms. Layachi Amal, born in 1966, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic, Electrotechnical and Automatic from the University of Bordeaux, Master in Instrumentation and Control from the University of Rouen and a Engineer’s degree in Automation and Industrial Computing from the Mohammedia School of Engineers in Rabat.

Since 1991, Ms. Layachi has specialized in the fields of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing Space through several high-level complementary trainings and stays in institutions abroad that allowed her to set up and deploy GIS for the benefit of several national institutions, in the framework of bilateral projects or international cooperation.

 As head of the training department at the Royal Center for Remote Sensing Space, in charge of  national and regional capacity development activities, she has set up training programs in the fields of Earth observation, GIS and related fields. in partnership with national institutions and international organizations, UNDP, FAO, ESA, UNESCO … and implemented up to today more than 200 training modules and awareness workshops for more than 3000 participants. She is also the focal point in CRTS’s partnership relations with universities and scientific research.

At the same time, she has been in charge of the scientific and technical organization of several national and international events in space technology, and has coordinated several international cooperation projects integrating capacity building in space technology.



Pierluigi Mancini

NAVISP Programme Manager,

European Space Agency (ESA),



Full Bio

Specialising in electrical engineering, I initially graduated cum laudae from Naples University, then was awarded my Master’s by the Polytechnic Institute of New York, and subsequently took a PhD at University College London.

I have more than 30 years of experience in the space sector where after several years of R&D activities in the spaceborne radar domain, I have been involved in the definition and implementation of several ESA missions such as ERS, Envisat, Small GeoSat  as well as some key strategic developments in the field of space-based applications.

I have been responsible for the Strategy and the Feasibility Studies Divisions in ESA’s Directorate of Telecommunications & Integrated Applications and in this capacity I conceptualised the actual creation of the Integrated Applications Programme. I am now heading the NAVISP Programme which aims to further foster European industry’s succeeding in the highly competitive and rapidly-evolving global market for satellite navigation, and more broadly Positioning Navigation Timing (PNT) technologies and services, while supporting the ESA Member States in enhancing their national objectives and capabilities in the sector.


Tidiane Ouattara

Space Science Expert and GMES & Africa Program Coordinator,

African Union Commission,



Full Bio

Dr. Tidiane Ouattara received a master’s degree in physical geography from Université de Cocody-Abidjan (Côte-d’Ivoire). In 1996, Dr. Ouattara obtained a master’s degree and in 2001 a PhD, both in Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) from Sherbrooke University (Canada).  Dr. Ouattara is currently Space Science Expert and Coordinator for GMES & Africa Programme. He has gained tremendous experience in international relations and business development, research and development (R&D), strategic policy development and program management issues related to environment, natural resources, and sciences and technology. Indeed Dr. Ouattara began his career in Canada as lecturer at Sherbrooke University from 1996 to 2001. He taught not only scientific courses, but also African geopolitics and sociocultural issues. After a brief stay with the private sector in Montreal, in 2002 Dr. Ouattara started working with the federal government of Canada. He successively occupied various positions:


At the Canadian Space Agency (2004-2006):

  • Advisor to the President and International Relations manager in charge of Africa, Central and South America and United Nations. He was also covering Earth Observation, Navigation and Positioning, Robotics and Space Sciences portfolios.
  • Head of Canadian Delegation at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS).

At the Department of Natural Resources Canada (2002-2004 and 2006-2010):

  • Senior Science and Policy Advisor for the Assistant Deputy Minister, the Chief Scientist and, Head of knowledge management, bilateral and multilateral strategies Unit
  • Manager of Canadian Digital Elevation Model Programme and, Researcher and International Relations officer in geomatics (earth observation, mapping, GPS and Geographical Information System).

At the Department of Environment Canada (2010-2016):

  • Manager, Geospatial Data Management Section, Canadian Wildlife Service.
  • Head, Landscape and Ecosystem Assessment Planning and Coordination Section, Canadian Wildlife Service

At the African Union Commission (2016-Present):

  • Space Science Expert in charge of the development and implementation of the African Outer Space Programme.
  • Coordinator for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES & Africa) Programme.


Jörg Feustel-Büechl

Space Consultant, 



Full Bio

Jörg Feustel-Büechl, German, graduated in 1967 in mechanical engineering at the Technical University Munich.

He joined the MAN group, where he worked for 19 years acquiring extensive industrial and management experience in leading-edge technologies, principally space transportation, aeronautics and new energy systems.

He has been involved in the ARIANE development and production programme from the very beginning in 1973 and was building up all ARIANE activities in MAN-Technologie. He reached Senior Vice President status with 700 collaborators, before moving on to the European Space Agency ESA upon recommendation of the German research ministry BMFT.

Jörg Feustel-Büechl joined ESA in November 1986 as Director of Space Transportation Systems and held this position until March 1994. During this period he was responsible for all ESA ARIANE programmes as well as the HERMES activities.

In 1994 he was appointed as Director of Human Spaceflight and Microgravity. In this function he directed the ESA activities relating to the International Space Station ISS, the Microgravity application programmes, and the European astronauts activities.

From 2004 to 2007 he supported the Director General as Director of Reforms before he left the Agency after 21 years of service. Up to now he is the longest serving ESA-Director of all times.

From 2007 until 2017 Jörg Feustel-Büechl supported as consultant the Bavarian Ministry of Economy. He supports since 2012 the German Aerospace Center DLR and other national and international research organisations and industrial companies. Since 2018 he acts as advisor to the European Space Agency ESA.

He received several national and international decorations: Legion d’honneur (F), Order van Oranje-Nassau (NL), Order of Blue Planet (R), Bundesverdienstkreuz 1.Kl.(D).



Carlo Viberti


SpaceLand Africa,




Full Bio

Graduated with Honours at 24 years of age as Doctor in Aeronautical Engineeering at the University Politecnico Torino (Italy), in 2010 has been proposed by the President of the Italian Space Agency as first sub-orbital astronaut-engineer for sub-orbital research flights.
In 2005 became the first non-U.S. citizen authorized to fly from the NASA Space Shuttle L.F. at the Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral-Florida) for the first NASA Microgravity Pathfinder Flights.

So far he has worked in weightlessness almost three times longer periods than Iuri Gagarin’s spaceflight; during such test-flight programs, he trained and brought on board representatives of the general population, including the world’s oldest (93 years of age), the first disabled woman and the youngest-ever (11 yr-old) life-sciences test subjects in zero-gravity, for experiments involving Nobel Prize-winning scientists with spin-off biomed and technological applications for kids, disabled and elderly.

During his work as Lead Engineer of the European Space Agency’s Astronaut Activities Office, was in charge of microgravity test campaigns both underwater and on-board zero-gravity flights for the design and development of the space laboratory Columbus of the International Space Station; after designing and testing the underwater operational model of the Columbus laboratory which is now utilized at the European Astronaut Center, became responsible of the European technology facilities for the NASA ISS Phase 1 program on board the Russian Space Station MIR.

As Director of the SpaceLand group, he has conceived and leads the SpaceLand program in Africa for the development of the first Center of Excellence for Microgravity Research, Education and Training, presented through an invitational speech at the United Nations / UAE High-Level Forum of Dubai together with the Head of State of Mauritius (