IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme

Helping launch the careers of aerospace professionals around the world through one-to one mentorship to achieve their career and professional development goals

Mentee Applications Close: December 1, 2020


The IAF is pleased to announce the launch of a new initiative, the IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme, focused on mentorship and career development. This program pairs early- to mid-career professionals with experienced senior professionals in the space industry. The IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme aims to facilitate career development and leadership capabilities of the Mentee and provide a platform for enhanced communication between the generations represented within the IAF.

The Mentees selected for the IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme will have access to some of the most notable leaders within the industry, gaining key insights and advice to help their careers move forward.

How Will Mentoring Benefit Me?

  • Provides a ‘personalised’ opportunity to address your individual professional development goals
  • Provides an opportunity to develop new skills and expertise
  • Provides access to independent and objective perspectives
  • Enhances networking opportunities
  • Drives you to set goals and to strive towards them
  • Helps to clarify and enhance your future direction in the space sector
  • Can provide you with support during times of change and transition

2020-2021 Mentors


Research Professor, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University



VP, Global Sales, Marketing & Customer Experience, Blue Origin

United States of America

Lisa MAY

Chief Technologist for Commercial and Civil Space Advanced Programs, Lockheed Martin Corporation

United States of America


Former Astronaut and CEO, Melroy & Hollett Technology Partners


Valanathan MUNSAMI

CEO, South African National Space Agency (SANSA)

South Africa


Lecturer, Department of International Relations, Hebrew University of Jerusalem



Deputy Manager, Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States of America




Application Process for Mentees

Mentee for the 2020/2021 IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme are selected through a competitive and open application process. Candidates from any country are welcome to apply, provided they are within 5 years of their Masters or PhD terminal degree or job/career change. Although there are no age restrictions to the IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme, Mentee applications between 25-40 years of age will be prioritised.

Successfully selected Mentees will be paired for one-on-one mentorship based on multiple factors within the application process.

The Selection Committee will be reviewing your:

  • career goals;
  • reasons for wanting to be part of this programme;
  • goals you hope to achieve in the programme;
  • educational and career background; AND
  • expectations from your Mentor.

Eligibility to participate as a Mentee

To be a Mentee in the 2020/2021 IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme, you must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Mentees must be within 5 years of their Masters or PhD terminal degree or job/career change
  • Demonstrate active involvement with an IAF committee or programme, SGAC, AIAA, IAA, IISL, ISU or other professional committees and organisations
  • Mentees must agree to meet with their Mentor for a minimum of 4 hours at a mutually agreed time during the program over the 3 month duration of the programme

Application Requirements

To register for the programme you will need to complete an application form which will help in identifying the best possible Mentor to suit your goals and objectives.

Mentee application requirements include the following:

Only complete applications submitted by 1 December 2020 23:59 CEST will be considered.

Engagement with Mentors

The 2020/2021 IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme will run for a period of approximately 3 months. The programme will begin in February and conclude in April 2021. A minimum commitment of 4 hours over the 3- month period is encouraged. These can be at a time, and duration to suit both parties.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 2020/2021 IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme will be completely virtual. All meetings between the Mentors and Mentees will take place using web conferencing software such as Skype and Zoom, or carried out over the phone.

The IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme intends to meet the Diversity and Inclusion policies of the IAF.

Key Dates

  • Mentee Applications Open: October 14, 2020
  • Mentee Applications Close: December 1, 2020
  • Mentee Selections announced: February 5, 2021
  • 2020/2021 IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme Begins: February - April 2021 (3 months)

What should I expect if I am selected as a Mentee?

If you are selected as a Mentee, you will be matched with a mentor, and notified of your match by email. We consider the Mentee the “driver” of the relationship, therefore you are required to make initial contact with your Mentor. An introduction function will be held to allow all new Mentees and Mentors to meet virtually. Mentors and Mentees will continue to manage their relationships for the remainder of the 3-month period. After this time, the Mentee and the Mentor may elect to finalise the mentoring relationship or extend it beyond this period. Once the program has finished, Mentors and Mentees will be asked to provide feedback on the program by completing an evaluation form.

Selection Committee


External Element Integration Lead, Lockheed Martin Corporation


Chief Operating Officer at 4pi Lab; CEO at Escape Velocity Services Inc.; Founder & Director at Zenith


President of RWI International Consulting Services and International Coordinator of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program

United States of America

Soyeon YI

Global Business Lead, Studio XID

Programme Coordinators

Elizabeth BARRIOS

Materials Research Engineer, National Institute of Aerospace (NIA)

United States of America


Integrated Product Team Lead, Paragon Space Development Corporation

United States of America

IAF Vice President for Education and Workforce Developement


Research Engineer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States of America

Contact Us

For any further information or questions, please email launchpad@iafastro.org

Nominate a Mentor for the 2021/2022 Programme

If you would like to nominate a Mentor for the 2021/2022 IAF Mentorship Programme, please send an email to launchpad@iafastro.org with the Subject line: MENTOR NOMINATION [NAME]. Please include the nominee’s name, organisation, title, country being represented, and a short blurb on why they would make a good Mentor for the 2021/2022 IAF Mentorship Programme.