Those who made it happen!
The Chair of YouSpace
After a career of 27 years in politics marked by an active involvement in the Space sector through chairing the ‘Space group Senate’ and leading the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC), I launched YouSpace in 2014 in order to link Students to Belgian Space experts. I am currently the Chair of EURISY, Board Member of Vitrociset Belgium, Member of the Advisory Board of ESPI and VP of the International Aeronautical Federation.
Project officer at European Commission Research Executive Agency. He is in charge of the evaluation and the technical implementation of Space projects funded by the European Commission. His project portfolio includes Earth observation technologies (satellites and instrumentation), marine and air quality observation EO systems as well as scientific instrumentation for Lunar exploration.
Sabri holds a PhD of Engineering from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and a master of space science and techniques from the University of Liège.
Aerospace Engineer from ISAE-Supaéro (France) now enrolled in a PhD in Space Physiology at Université Libre de Bruxelles. Jérémy already had the opportunity to work on several experiments for the ISS and is passionate about the human aspects of space exploration. Beside this, he is also president of the student chapter of the European Low-Gravity Research Association (ELGRA).
Ever since he was little, the image of the Pale Blue Dot lost in the vastness of space has left its indelebile mark in Alexis' mind. That's why he studied Political Science and holds a Master's degree in International Relations: he wants to understand and go beyond our earthly human systems. Technology, space-related sciences and Politics are his passions. He now works as a project officer in Space Research for the European Commission's Research Executive Agency (REA).
Véronique Dehant works at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, where she is Responsible for the Operational Directorate “Reference Systems and Planetary Science”. She is also Extraordinary Professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain. She is Academician (Royal Academy of Belgium; Science class) since 2010 and was awarded with several prizes, including the Descartes Prize of the European Union in 2003. In 2015, she has obtained a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant, with the project RotaNut: Rotation and Nutation of a wobbly Earth. She is Principal Investigator of the experience LaRa (Lander Radioscience) selected for the ExoMars 2020 mission.
Dr. Sarah Baatout is head of the radiobiology unit at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) in Mol, Belgium. Her research focuses on the potential risks of ionizing radiation on health allowing a more accurate radiation risk assessment for long-term human space missions. Her work is performed in close collaboration with the European Commission, European Space Agency, Belgian & European Universities, hospitals & research institutes. She is invited professor at KULeuven (Belgium) and guest professor at Ghent University (Belgium). In 2018, she won the BeSpace Personality of the Year award for her passion and scientific work related to space biology and in 2020, she was recognized by the King of Belgium as one of the 12 remarkable females of the country. S. Baatout went to Antarctica to monitor health changes in this extreme environment with high degree of isolation and confinement that parallels most closely long-duration human missions in space. See her TEDX talk:
Kevin Tabury is a junior scientist at the Radiobiology Unit of SCK CEN where he is leading Hadron radiation related projects in the context of Space and Radiotherapy research. Prior his function as junior scientist, he acquired almost 10 years of technical expertise as lab technician. He is also currently combining his position as junior scientist with a PhD at the University of South Carolina, USA.
Koen is chairman of the board of the Flemish space industry (VRI), member of the board of Belgospace and managing director of Antwerp Space NV.
He has been active in the space industry for more than 24 years in various leadership roles and has a background in electronics and business administration. In his current position, his ambition is threefold: to strengthen cooperation between space companies and universities in Belgium, to represent them to national and international governments and to make them known to the general public.
At European and international level, Koen builds bridges between the Belgian space sector and foreign agencies, companies and institutions.
He has a creative, result-oriented and entrepreneurial mentality.
Frank holds a Master in Engineering and has been active in the space sector for almost 30 years. He has experience in project management and has held several management positions at QinetiQ. Currently, he is the Sales and Business Development Director and a member of the board, with additional responsibilities for communications, external relations, and strategy.
He was in charge of the set-up and creation of a new space company in Belgium, in Redu, where he was temporarily Managing Director until a new management team was put in place.
Frank is very active in space: he has been part of different advisory groups for exploration and space technical infrastructure and he has supported numerous outreach, educational, and inspirational events. He is a member of the board of the Vlaamse Ruimtevaartindustrie, Belgospace, and FLAG.
Marta now works as Marketing and Communications Officer at QinetiQ, in Kruibeke, after working for some years in a New Space startup. She’s an alumni of the International Space University and one of the co-founders and team members of Astropreneurs.space.
She’s very active in the young space community. She has supported and organized various events like SpaceUp and is an active member of the Space Generation Advisory Council. She’s also part of the TEDxAntwerp team.
Guerric is enthusiastic and self-driven, eager to understand the world he lives in, and to contribute to a better world. He holds a PhD is aerospace engineering from the University of Queensland, in Australia. Before that, he also obtained degrees from the Louvain School of Engineering, the von Karman Institute, and the International Space University. After working for different aerospace companies, he now dedicates his time to a new challenge in the field of Earth observation.
A small introduction about me, I have a law degree, I started my career in 2007 at the UCM which is an officially authorized Payroll Provider's Company, first as a Payroll Officer, but very quickly as a Front Lawyer Officer specializing in Social Law.
Passionate about the space sector when I was a little girl - I remember when I was 10 years old and I met Frank de Winne , I seized the job opportunity offered by Vitrociset Belgium in 2012 where I am now HRD for the whole Belgian Group, with employees working in the Province of Luxembourg and present as well in many European countries.
I wanted, outside of this professional context, to get involved as a volunteer for the Switch to Space project because I am passionate, and I would like to extend my knowledge about Space Sector.
Carl-Henrik Dahlqvist holds a Master's degree in Business Engineering from the Université catholique de Louvain (LSM). After having worked 2 years for SWIFT as a financial analyst, he decided to go back to university to pursue a Ph.D. in Finance in co-supervision between the Université catholique de Louvain (LSM) and the Université de Namur where he was also a teaching assistant in Finance. He decided, a few years later, to transform his passion for Astronomy and space into a possible career. In 2014, he started, on top of his Ph.D. in Econophysics, a 2 years preparatory program for the M.Sc. in Particle Physics and Cosmology. After having completed this MSc in Particle Physics and Cosmology and received his PhD in Economics from the Université de Namur (CeReFiM) and the Université catholique de Louvain (LFIN), he started in October 2018, a second PhD fellowship in exoplanet imaging at the STAR Institute at the Department of Astrophysics and Geophysics in collaboration with the Montefiore Institute of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the Université de Liège. His current interests lie in Exoplanets Detection, High Contrast Imaging, Optics, Solar physics, Spaces and Planetary Sciences and Satellite Conception and Operational Management.
Olivier Chazot is professor and Head of the Aeronautic and Aerospace department at the Von Karman Institute. He carries out research in high enthalpy facilities and plasma wind tunnels to study laminar to turbulent transition and Gas-Surface interactions in re-entry flows. He participated in multiple ESA missions for the development of flight-testing experiments like the EXPERT probe, IXV program and QARMAN re-entry CubeSat.
He is also "scientist in residence" at Zurich University of Arts for transdisciplinary collaboration between art, science and philosophy in experimental research.
Sven holds a Bachelor in marine engineering. After sailing the world for 6 years, he changed course. Obtaining a Master of science in Electronics-ICT, he is now working as a software engineering consultant in safety related systems. He is a science and space enthusiast.
Mohammad Iranmanesh is a Space Systems Engineer with a strong engineering background. He completed his dual degree at UCLouvain and ISAE-Supaero with a certificate in Management of Innovation from HEC Paris.
He has since led the technical work of a range of projects for ESA involving space hardware at all stages of the project lifecycle.
He also co-founded lide.space, a belgian startup providing a novel platform for microgravity research using glider parabolic flights. Beside this, Mohammad is also the National Point of Contact in Belgium for the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC).
Prof. Dr. Ir. Vladimir Pletser is currently Director of Space Training Operations at Blue Abyss, proposing new approaches for astronaut training.
He was previously Visiting Professor and Scientific Adviser at the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, on microgravity research for parabolic flights and Chinese Space Station
He was also Senior Physicist-Engineer at the European Space Research and Technology Centre, European Space Agency, developing scientific instruments for microgravity research on the International Space Station and coordinating ESA aircraft parabolic flight campaigns. He logged more than 7350 parabolas, equivalent to 39h30m of weightlessness or 26 Earth orbits.
Astronaut Candidate for Belgium, he trained as Payload Specialist at NASA-JSC and participated in three Mars mission simulations.
Katrien Kolenberg is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Antwerp and the VUB, as well as STE(A)M coordinator and currently Flemish ESERO (European Space Education Resource Office) coordinator at the KU Leuven. Her research lies in the field of stellar astrophysics, particularly variable stars and asteroseismology. Katrien is passionate about scientific research, astronomy for development, and innovative/artistic science communication and education worldwide. She has received international awards for both scientific accomplishments and science communication.
Julien Béclard works for the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the European Union. He is in charge of the coordination of Belgium's positions in space matters inside the EU institutions and more particularly inside the Council of the European Union where he seats for Belgium in the Space working party. His fields of expertise cover the space programme of the European Union, the European space governance and the relations between the EU and the European space agency (ESA).
Julien holds a PhD in Political Science on the European space policy from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).
Thierry du Pré-Werson
Mr Thierry du Pré-Werson is the Managing Director of SPACEBEL, a Belgian based company involved in the development of Space infrastructure software systems and Earth monitoring applications.
He is a civil engineer in electronics (Master in Engineering Sciences) trained at the University of Liège (ULiège).
In October 1989, after a career of 9 years in software development for SAIT Electronics – a telecommunication company – he joined SPACEBEL to be in charge of the ESA Columbus related projects.
After 15 years of involvement in the development of various scientific and Earth Observation European satellites, he was appointed General Manager and later on CEO of the company.
Natacha Callens graduated with a PhD in Physics awarded by the Université Pierre et Marie Curie and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She works for the ESA Education Office since 2009. After developing and coordinating for several years some ESA hands-on programmes, including the Fly, Drop and Spin Your Thesis! programmes, she is now in charge of the ESA Academy’s Training and Learning Programme.
Thierry Dewandre worked at the European Space Agency (ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands) from 1985 to 2012, and is now retired. He was active as engineer and scientist, and later as manager, in the project management of scientific experiments (Physics, Chemistry, Human Physiology) developed for and performed in Spacelab, and afterwards in the International Space Station. In this frame, he spent years at NASA centres (Cap Canaveral & NASA Mission Control Centre).
He holds an "Ingénieur Civil Physicien" degree (UCL), he obtained an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. (Laser-Plasmas Interaction, in a 200-persons Laser Laboratory) at the University of Rochester (USA). After a PostDoc at the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris), he led the "Vacuum thin films" R&D section at VEGLA GmbH (Germany) before joining ESA.
The first part of his career, 1985-2020, was academic. During that period, he worked in the Microgravity Research Center, a laboratory of the polytechnic school of ULB where he was involved in the development of various microgravity experiments onboard sounding rockets and the Spacelab D2 Mission. In parallel with the scientific research, he develops as project manager, optical equipment for space and industrial applications. In 1996, he founded with two partners, Lambda-X who designs, develops and manufactures imaging and metrology optical systems for high technological markets like space & security, biomedical & life science as well as process control for the industry.
Philippe holds a Masters in Aerospace Engineering and has been active in the space sector for over 25 years.
He is currently Space Instrumentation Program Manager at Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL). As a student, Philippe really "Switched to Space" when joining EUROAVIA (The European Association of Aerospace Students). He set up a local group at the University of Liège and was selected for the first Euroavia Design Contest, which offered him the opportunity to participate in a 2-weeks Space Mission Design workshop organised for students with the support of ESA and Industry. This experience definitly paved the way for an exciting career in Earth Observation Instrumentation, Satellite and Mission Control, Navigation and downstream applications.
WIT Berry digital communication manager
Linda is a digital communication manager at WIT Berry (Latvia) Linda has more than 10 years of experience. Author of the book "Web content that sells". For last few years Linda has participated in different international space projects.
Guna is a communication and marketing manager with more than 5 years of experience. She cherishes personalised communication on all levels: among colleagues, with clients, and between clients and their clients. In doing her job Guna always goes the extra mile to ensure the quality of the work.