Developing Space Workforce – Industry Focus

Thursday 4 October 2018, 16:05 – 17:05

Location: Bremen Conference Center – CCB Hansesaal


Attracting of skilled workforce for space industry is always a challenge. There are few important issues to consider: lack of motivation of young people to study engineering subjects, aging of workforce in space industry especially in Europe, scarcity of certain professions as for example system engineering, product assurance etc.

The panellists will discuss the specific problems space industry faces today: scarcity of certain professions, aging of workforce and capture of knowledge accumulated as well as discuss the way forward. The panellists are invited from major prime industrial companies from USA, Europe, China as well as academia and space agencies.

Organized by:
IAF Global Workforce Development Subcommittee


Olga Zhdanovich

Standardisation Engineer and SEOC Vice-Chair Workforce Development,

Modis for European Space Agency,

The Netherlands


Full Bio

Since June 2010, Olga Zhdanovich is a Standardisation Production Engineer via Modis both for ESA and European Cooperation for Space Standardisation organisation. Prior to this assignment she was an Increment and Mission Integration Consultant at RheaTech for  the Human Spaceflight Directorate of the European Space Agency. Olga, in 1990 graduated with Cum Laude from the Moscow Institute of Engineers in Geodesy, Aerial Surveying and Cartography, Russia as engineer. In 1996 she participated in the ISU SSP Program. She received MSc degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Central European University /University of Manchester, UK in 1997. During more than twenty five years of her professional career she worked as consultant on commercial application of space technologies in earth observation, satellite navigation and telecommunication, and educational projects. She is elected member of the ISU Academic Council, Faculty member of the International Space University. Olga is recipient of number of awards and scholarships that includes a scholarship from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences for the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis Young Scientist Program (1995) and holds the award from the European Space Agency (1998). She is authored number of publications as chapters in books and conference papers on various applications of space technology.


Mary Snitch

Senior Staff, Global S&T Organizations,

Lockheed Martin,

United States


Full Bio

Her 30-year professional career includes ten years at the U.S. Department of State and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. She joined the private aerospace sector In 1983 with TRW and in 1985 joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA as Manager, Legislative and International Affairs. Mary returned to Washington in 1990 to join Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Mary Snitch Is an impactful contributor to the aerospace and STEM education community. She actively serves on Committees of the Board for  the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the University of Maryland Aerospace Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. She is an elected Full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and a Corporate Member of the International Astronautical Federation. Mary serves on the Board of Future Space Leaders and represents Lockheed Martin on the Local Organizing Committees for IAC 2017, IAC 2019 and the COSPAR Scientific Assembly 2018.

Mary received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from George Mason University and her Masters of Business Administration in Business, Economics and Public Policy from George Washington University. She completed LMC Executive Leadership Training at Claremont College in Claremont, CA and at Emory University, Atlanta, GA. She and her husband, Dr. Thomas Snitch, an international consultant, live in Bethesda, Maryland.


Vera Mayorova

Professor and Director of Youth Space Centre,

Bauman Moscow State University (BMSTU),

Russian Federation

Full Bio

Head of Projects of Student Satellite Programs in BMSTU.

Developer of the system of continuous aerospace education – high-school/university/post-graduate/industry. Contributed to sustained high level of aerospace education in Russia.

Head of annual International Workshop “Space Development: Theory and Practice” hold in Moscow.

Member of Educational Outreach Committee of International Astronautical Congress.

National Coordinator  and Member of the Board, World Space Week Association.

Full member of International Academy of Astronautics.

Full Member of K. Tsiolkovsky  Russian Academy of Cosmonautics


Andrew Herd

Senior Engineer Knowledge Management,

European Space Agency (ESA),

The Netherlands


Full Bio

Andrew Herd was born in Lincoln, United Kingdom in 1965. He studied Mechanical Engineering at The City University, London, graduating in 1988 with Honors. In 1996, he studied at Loughborough University, graduating with an Executive Masters in Business Administration in 1999.

In 1988, he started a career in engineering, firstly with Hawker Siddeley Engineering, making 100 diesel electric locomotives with novel  computer-based power distribution control, and a decade later in 1998 with NASA developing and operating science hardware for Increment 3 on the newly established International Space Station (ISS). In 2003 he brought his ISS experience to the European Space Agency (ESA), establishing the discipline of  payload operations safety at ESA, and then directly supporting the newly established ESA Payload Safety Review Panel.

In 2013, Andrew moved to the Standardization and Engineering Knowledge Management Office, working as part of the Executive Secretariat of the European Cooperation for Space Standardization. In 2015 he was nominated as a directorate Knowledge Management Point of Contact and then, in 2017, was subsequently requested to support the corporate-level efforts in knowledge management at ESA .


Maria Antonietta Perino

Director of Relations with Space Associations,

Thales Alenia Space,




Full Bio

Maria Antonietta got a Degree in Nuclear Engineering at the Politecnico di Torino. In 1988 she attended the first Summer Session of the International Space University (M.I.T., Boston, USA) and then she became a Faculty member.

Since 1986 she has been working at Thales Alenia Space – Turin, as Program Manager of major ESA and ASI activities related to exploration like ExoMars, Mars Sample Return, and the Aurora
Core Program. In 2010 she was appointed Director for Advanced Exploration Programs.

In the last years she has been Director Marketing & Sales for the ESA Exploration & Science Programs, and recently Director for System Supplies Operations.

Maria Antonietta is involved in different activities promoting the development of young professionals in the space industry.

She is author of several publications, papers, and reports, and Acta Astronautica Co- Editor.

Maria Antonietta is a member of different scientific committees, of the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), and of Women in Aerospace. She is member of the Académie de l’Air et de l’Espace and of the International Academy of Astronautics, and former Vice President of the International Astronautical Federation Bureau responsible for Technical Activities and IAC Evolution.


YANG Yuguang


China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC),


Full Bio

Yang Yuguang, Professor from CASIC, mainly engaged in space system design and spacecraft design, also being engaged  in preliminary study of China’s manned space program and deep space exploration projects. He is also good at orbital dynamics and numeral simulation. Yang is very active in international space cooperation and communication and already has more than 600 friends in international space field. He is the only founding member of Moon Village Association from China.  He is now the secretary of IAF space transportation committee, acting as cooperator of space transportation Symposium during IAC. He has chaired deep space transportation Solution sessions for four times during IAC. Yang is also very enthusiastic on popularization of space technology. He was always invited by China Central Television as technical expert during live coverage of important space missions of China. He has attended 149 live coverages and studio interviews on CCTV. Yang has already written more than 200 articles for almost all the important medias of China, introducing space technology to the public.


Lisa La Bonté

Founder & CEO,

Arab Youth Venture Foundation,

United Arab Emirates


Full Bio

Career roots in Silicon Valley aerospace and info systems, for the past 25 years overseas, Lisa has built businesses and advised multi-nationals (i.e. Raytheon, SK, Lockheed Martin) within 21 nations (Asia, Mid East, EU). As a start-up expert and business strategist, Lisa has launched businesses for Royalty, sovereign wealth funds, UHNWs/family ofcs, and VVIPs.

A venture financier since 1997, Lisa has invested in 76 companies (internet, medical device, software). Exits incl. 18  IPOs, 8 M&A. Lisa has raised over $225MM in capital, advised 100+ SMEs, and served as advisor to industry focused start-up incubators.

From Dubai, Lisa created and served as lead investor and CEO of the Arab Youth Venture Foundation, the first NGO to introduce extra-curricular STEM and space education to the GCC, introducing the STEAM acronym to the public domain in 2007, the A for Aerospace, Astronautics, Aviation, and Astronomy for “inspired STEM”. In 2009 AYVF secured an historic NASA Int’l Space Act Agreement bringing NASA education actively into the region. AYVF launched the model for NASA’s international internships, with the first non-American NASA funded by the Abu Dhabi, UAE government.

Lisa and sponsors strategic workforce development and STEM infrastructure as a staunch advocate for innovation, start-ups, and space training for youth and serves on numerous space boards and committees globally.

Lisa holds an MBA in International Business, a Master of Science in Internet Strategy & Technology Management, and has been an adjunct professor of Asian Business Strategy at the Graduate level