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

Check back in September 2022!


The IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme is focused on professional mentorship and career development of early- to mid-career professionals and recent graduates entering the space industry. In this programme, you will be paired with experience, 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. They will also have the ability to take part in professional development designed specifically for this programme.

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

2021-2022 Mentors


Deputy Head, Australian Space Agency


Lisa MAY

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

United States


Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of the International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL), Leiden University


Danielle WOOD

Assistant professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States

Jonathan HUNG

Founder & President, Singapore Space and Technology Limited (SSTL)


Valanathan MUNSAMI

Chancellor, International Space University (ISU), Advisor to the CEO, Saudi Space Commission

South Africa


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

United States

Charity WEEDEN

Vice President, Global Space Policy and Government Relations, Astroscale

United States


Find all the winners here

Application Process for Mentees

Mentees for the 2021/2022 IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme are selected through a competitive and open application process. Candidates from any country are welcome to apply. Eligible candidates are within 10 years of completing their terminal degree (NOT in school) or a 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 prioritized. To apply, you will fill in the application form below by December 15, 2021. In this application form, you will need to upload your resume and at least one recommendation letter from an IAF member organisation. Be sure to have these ready when you begin your application.

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 this programme;
  • Educational and career background; AND
  • Expectations from your Mentor.

Eligibility to participate as a Mentee

To be a Mentee in the 2021/2022 IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Mentees must be within 10 years of their terminal degree or a major job/career change. You MAY NOT still be in school. If you are a student and looking for mentorship, IAF Partner Organisations, including The Space Generation Advisory Council, have targeted programmes for this audience.
  • 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 6 hours, at a mutually agreed upon time, throughout the 6 month duration of the programme
  • Mentees must participate in professional development activities throughout the course of the programme

Application Requirements

To apply for this programme, you will need to complete an application form (below) which will help in identifying the best possible Mentor to suit your goals and objectives.

Mentee application requirements include the following:

  • Mentee Application Form
  • Applicant’s Resume (MAX 2 pages)
  • A minimum of one reference letter from an IAF Member Organisation

Only complete applications submitted by 15 December 2021 23:59 CEST will be considered.

Engagement with Mentors

The 2021/2022 IAF Launchpad Mentorship Programme will run for a period of approximately 6 months. The programme will begin in February 2022 and end in August 2021. A minimum commitment of 6 hours of contact with your mentor during this 6-month period is encouraged. These can be at a time and duration that suits both parties.

Most communication and participation in this programme will be virtual, using web-based conferencing platforms. If permitted, we will have in-person meetings, workshops, panels, etc. set-up during the IAF Spring Meetings 2022 and IAC 2022 in Paris.

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

Key Dates

  • Mentee Applications Open: November 15, 2021
  • Mentee Applications Close: December 15, 2021
  • Mentee Selections Announced: mid-January 2022
  • 2021/2022 Programme Period: February – August 2022

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 to be the “driver” of the relationship. Therefore, you are required to make initial contact with your Mentor. An introductory meeting will be held to allow all new Mentees and Mentors to meet virtually. Mentees and Mentors will continue to manage their relationships for the remainder of the 6-month period. Throughout the programme, we will organise professional development seminars. We expect you to do your best to attend these as it will enhance your experience in the programme. After this programme ends, the Mentee and Mentor may elect to finalise their mentoring relationship or extend it beyond this formal period. Once the programme has finished, Mentees and Mentors will be asked to provide feedback on the programme by completing an evaluation form.

At this time, we hope to include some in person events at the IAF 2022 Spring Meetings and IAC 2022. More info to come.

Selection Committee

To be announced.

Programme Coordinators

Elizabeth BARRIOS

Structural Materials Engineer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States


Program Manager, City of Calgary; Co-Founder & Director at Zenith Canada Pathways Foundation; CEO at Escape Velocity Services Inc.; Strategic Advisor at 4pi Lab

Camilo Andrés REYES

Strategic Partnerships, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC)


Alessandra VERNILE

Programme Advisor


Research Engineer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States

Contact Us

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