IAF Young Space Leaders Recognition Programme (YSL)

The IAF Young Space Leaders Recognition Programme is awarded to exceptional students and young professionals, who contribute to astronautics in their academic or early careers, reach out to other young people and their communities to share knowledge and experiences, have been engaged with the international space community and contribute to IAF activities.

2019 IAF Young Space Leaders

The annual Young Space Leaders (YSL) Recognition Programme recognises exceptional students and young professionals (age 21-35) who demonstrate leadership in their academic or early careers.

The call for nominations for the programme is addressed to IAF Members, Regional Groups and Technical and Administrative Committees.

Candidates have to be between the age of 21 and 35 (on 1 January of the year following the call announcement) and be:

  • Contributing to astronautics through their academic and/or professional activities,
  • Reaching out to other young people and to their community to share knowledge and experience,
  • Engaging colleagues in the international space community,
  • Contributing to the work of IAF committees and/or volunteering in support of other Federation activities such as physical or virtual participation on selection activities related to IAF grants, Next Generation Plenary and awards; participation in organization of IAC technical sessions and other activities; and participation on local organizing committees for GLEC, GLAC and other IAF meetings. (Note: Attendance at International Astronautical Congress does not in itself qualify).

Nominations have to summarise the nominees’ qualifications and specify how they meet the criteria. Two letters of recommendation per nominee are also asked for.

Young Space Leaders are chosen by a selection committee during the IAF Spring Meetings in March each year. They are then presented with their award during the Closing Ceremony of the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC). Awardees also attend the IAC Gala Dinner as guests of the IAF President and enjoy a free IAC registration. Travel expenses to the Congress are not covered by the IAF, but nominating individuals or organisations are encouraged to help identify sources of funding for their nominee if he/she is selected.

Up to five IAF Young Space Leaders are selected each year. Each should help increase knowledge among, and broaden the involvement of, students and young professionals in astronautics worldwide and in the IAF.

In the year following their induction, IAF Young Space Leaders:

  • are featured in an IAF newsletter and on the IAF web site with a short summary of their experience and achievements and their perspectives on space and international cooperation, including the role of the IAF
  • participate in a virtual event to interact with other young people on these topics and the benefits their involvement with the IAF and attendance at IACs has granted them, and highlight the opportunities available to students and young professionals at the upcoming IAC.
  • mentor the Emerging Space Leaders who receive IAF grants to attend the IAC.

YSL 2020 Winners

YSL Winners

2020 Winners

Hiroki AKAGI

Deputy Director of Houston Office, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Japan

Chiara COCCHIARA

System Operations Engineer, Eumetsat

Germany

Luis FERREIRA

Strategist, Airbus Defence and Space SA

Arnau PONS

Chair, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC)

United States of America

2019 Winners

Olga STELMAKH DRESCHER

Director of Business Development and International Affairs, International Institute of Space Commerce

Matteo EMANUELLI

Senior Systems Engineer, GomSpace Aps

Italy

Avid ROMAN GONZALEZ

Scientist, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES)

Peru

Mia BROWN

Scientist, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States of America

2018 Winners

Seyed ALI NASSERI

Chair and Advisory Board Member, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC)

Jackelynne SILVA-MARTINEZ

Engineer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Peru

Michal KUNES

Project Manager, European Space Agency (ESA)

Czech Republic

2017 Winners

Minoo RATHNASABAPATHY

Research Engineer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States of America

Patrick HAMBLOCH

Research engineer, University of Alabama in Huntsville

Timiebi AGANABA JEANTY

Associate Chair, Space Policy, Economics and Law, International Space University (ISU)

Laszlo BACSARDI

Secretary General, Hungarian Astronautical Society (MANT)

Hungary

2016 Winners

Jessica CULLER

Acting news chief, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States of America

Takashi OHTANI

Associate Senior Engineer, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Japan

Andrea BOYD

Australia

Amalio MONZON

Head of Engineering Quality Wing Development, Airbus Defence and Space SA

2015 Winners

Ryan L. KOBRICK

Lulu MAKAPELA

Liz SEWARD

Head of the Marketing and Communications, Airbus Defence and Space SA

United Kingdom

Guillaume GIRARD

2014 Winners

Michael BRETT

Co-Chair, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC)

Australia

Andrea JAIME ALBALAT

Executive Director, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC)

Austria

Rui LI

China

Nahum ROMERO

2013 Winners

Julio APREA

Project Management of Space Systems Development, European Space Agency (ESA)

Kimberley CLAYFIELD

Executive Manager, CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science

Australia

Kat CODERRE

Jacob SUTHERLUN

International Relations Specialist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

United States of America

Trong THU VU

National Point of Contact for Vietnam, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC)

Vietnam

2012 Winners

Ariane CORNELL

Executive Director, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC)

Nicolas PETER

Exploration Strategy Officer, European Space Agency (ESA)

Germany

Kevin STUBE

Contractor, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States of America

Danielle WOOD

Assistant professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States of America