Plenary 1: Heads of Agencies

Monday 1 October 2018, 13:15 – 14:45

Location: Bremen Conference Center – DLR Hall


The International Astronautical Federation is organising its flagship plenary with world space agency leaders. The theme for this year’s plenary is “Involving Everyone – What’s New for the Space Agencies?”. Participating Heads of Agencies will present and discuss how their respective agencies are reacting to a changing space environment with new actors getting involved and how they are successfully involving the broadest spectrum of space and non-space actors. The event will be divided into 3 main sections. In the first part, the Heads of Agencies will be asked to give a 3-4 minute presentation and will raise questions to the audience. In the second part, the Heads of Agencies will be presented with a series of questions by the moderator, engaging them into a lively discussion. The Plenary will conclude with an interactive session with the audience.



Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Space Scientist,

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC),

United Kingdom



Full Bio

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE is a space scientist, broadcaster and author who has a passion for presenting science to a general audiences and demonstrating that you ‘don’t need a brain the size of a small planet’ to understand, participate in and enjoy science and that space truly is for everyone,

Maggie studied at Imperial College where she obtained a degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.  Since then she has spent much of her career making novel, bespoke instrumentation in industrial and academic environments, ranging from hand held land mine detectors to an optical subsystem for the James Webb Space Telescope.

She has worked on project to better understand climate change including the recently launched ESA Aeolus satellite, which measures wind speed in the Earth’s atmosphere with the aim of better weather and climate change predictions..

Maggie is the founder of Science Innovation Ltd, a company designed and run to further share her love of science. Through this she conducts “Tours of the Universe” and other public engagement activities. To date she has reached over 300,000 school children and adults around the world engaging them with the incredible wonders of space.


Hiroshi Yamakawa


Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA),






Full Bio

Hiroshi Yamakawa was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1965. He received master’s degree of engineering in 1990 and earned Ph. D from the Department of Aeronautics, School of Engineering in 1993 both from the University of Tokyo.

He became a research associate and an associate professor at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in 1993-2003, and an associate professor at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2003-2006. He engaged in mission design of numerous Earth-orbiting scientific satellite projects as well as in lunar and interplanetary missions. He also engaged in the navigation, guidance, and control systems of the solid propellant rocket, M-V, and liquid propellant reusable sounding rocket, RVT. He was a study manager and a project manager of the Euro-Japan collaborative mission to Mercury “BepiColombo” from 2000 through 2006. He was a visiting scientist at NASA JPL in 1997-1998 and at ESA ESTEC in 2002.

He moved to Kyoto University in 2006 as a professor of the Research Institute of Sustainable Humanosphere, a professor of the Graduate School of Engineering (cooperating chair) and a deputy director of the Unit for Synergetic Studies of Space. His academic interest lay in orbital mechanics, trajectory optimization, space propulsion, and space situational awareness.

He was appointed as secretary general at the Secretariat of Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy, Cabinet Secretary, Government of Japan in 2010 through 2012. Then, he was assigned member of the Committee for National Space Policy, Cabinet Office from 2012 through 2018.

He was appointed as the President of JAXA in April 2018.


Jim Bridenstine


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),

United States


Full Bio

James Frederick “Jim” Bridenstine was nominated by President Donald Trump, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and sworn in as NASA’s 13th administrator on April 23, 2018.

​Bridenstine was elected in 2012 to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served on the Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Bridenstine’s career in federal service began in the U.S. Navy, flying the E-2C Hawkeye off the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. It was there that he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and accrued most of his 1,900 flight hours and 333 carrier-arrested landings. He later moved to the F-18 Hornet and flew at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the parent command to TOPGUN.

After transitioning from active duty to the U.S. Navy Reserve, Bridenstine returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium.

Bridenstine was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 2012 while flying missions in Central and South America in support of America’s war on drugs. Most recently, he transitioned to the 137th Special Operations Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

Bridenstine completed a triple major at Rice University, and earned his MBA at Cornell University. He has three children with his wife, Michelle.


K. Sivan


Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO),





Sylvain Laporte


Canadian Space Agency,





Full Bio

Sylvain Laporte became President of the Canadian Space Agency in March 2015. He is committed to advancing Canada’s presence in space through the satellite, exploration and astronaut missions in the service of science and innovation.

From 2011 to 2015 Sylvain was Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Prior to this, he held the position of Executive Director, Industrial Technologies Office at Industry Canada, where he was responsible for managing financial contribution programs in research and development for the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. Sylvain first joined Industry Canada in March 2007 as the Chief Informatics Officer.

Before joining the public service, Sylvain held several positions  at the Canada Post Corporation in the marketing, retail, logistics and information technology sectors.

Sylvain earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in computer engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada. He served with the Canadian Armed Forces for over 20 years, gaining experience as an aerospace engineer in diverse areas, from engineering and maintenance to human resource management.

Sylvain is passionate about leveraging space to inspire Canadian youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Sylvain is a certified sommelier. He is married, has three children and has embarked with great enthusiasm in his new role of grandfather.


_DSC0703- JW- ESA- Ph Sebirot, June 2015

Johann-Dietrich Woerner

Director General,

European Space Agency (ESA),





Full Bio

Jan Woerner was born in Kassel, Germany in 1954. He studied civil engineering at the Technical University (TU) Berlin and TU Dramstadt, from where he graduated in 1985.

In 1990, he returned to TU Dramstadt, where he was appointed as a professor of Civil Engineering and took over as Head of the Test and Research Institute. Jan Woerner headed the university from 1995 to 2007 and succeeded in making it the first autonomous university of the Federal Republic of Germany.

From March 2007 to June 2015, he served as Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). He became the ESA Director General on 1 July 2015.


ZHANG Kejian


China National Space Administration,







Dmitry Loskutov

Head of International Cooperation Department,


Russian Federation