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Plenary Sessions

09:15 - 12:45


17:00 - 17:50

09:20 – 09:30

Welcome address

Didier Reynders, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs

09:30 – 09:40

The space vision for Belgium

Jacques Nijskens – General Manager Belspo

09:40 – 09:50

Why Switch to Space?

Dominique Tilmans, Chair of YouSpace

09:50 – 10:05

Space in a changing world

Frank de Winne, Head of the European Astronaut Centre, ESA

10:05 – 10:30

Components of Space Missions: satellite, launcher, ground segment, space environment

Jean-Jacques Tortora, Director of ESPI

10:30 – 10:40

Main European players in space

Lionel Poncelet, YouSpace Member

10:40 - 11:10 

Coffee break

11:10 – 11:25

Future work / working patterns in the aerospace sector

Eric Morel de Westgaver, Director of Industry, Procurement and Legal Services, ESA

11:25 – 11:35

Eumetsat – Monitoring weather and climate from space

Paul Counet, Head of Strategy & International Relations, Eumetsat

11:35 – 11:50

Space: a truly European project

Pierre Delsaux, Deputy General Director DG Growth, European Commission

11:50 – 12:40 

Space Business in Belgium

Ground Segment: How do we control the satellites?

What do we do with the data

Thierry Du Pré-Werson, CEO Spacebel

Access to Space: How do we get there? How do we come back? 

Thibauld Jongen, CEO Sabca

New End User Markets, The Next Generation of Satellite Customer

Frank Preud’homme, Member of the Board QinetiQ Space



Summary of the day

Sabri Mekaoui, Project Adviser REA, European Commission


Presentation of the HATCH

Linda Kimeisa, WIT Berry & HATCH


How to get involved as a student or young professional?

Natacha Callens, Administrator ESA Academy's Training and Learning Programme, ESA


Closing remarks

Dominique Tilmans, Chair of YouSpace


Didier Reynders

A father of four, Didier REYNDERS was born in Liège on 6th August 1958. In 1981, he obtained a degree in law at the University of Liège. After presiding the Belgian railways and the Belgian Airways Agency, he was elected Deputy Chairman of the PRL (Liberal party), before becoming a Member of Parliament in 1992.  On 12th July 1999, he became Minister of Finance and, on 18th July 2004, (concurrently) Deputy Prime Minister. He was Chairman of the Mouvement Réformateur (party alliance) from 11th October 2004 until 14th February 2011. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs from 6th December 2011 until 11th October 2014. He became Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, in charge of Beliris and Federal Cultural Institutions on 11th October 2014.

Vice Prime Minister, Minister Foreign Affairs

Dominique Tilmans

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 and Member of the Advisory Board of ESPI.

Frank de Winne

Frank De Winne holds a master’s degree in telecommunications and civil engineering (1984) and is a graduate from Empire Test Pilot school (1992). He also commanded the BAF 349 Squadron and  the Deployable Air Task Force during operations Allied Force in 1999.

In 2002 he flew his first 10 day mission to the ISS. In 2009, Frank flew a six months mission to the ISS, during which Frank became the first European Commander of the ISS.

Currently, Frank is the head of the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne.

​Head of the European Astronaut Center, ESA

Jean-Jacques Tortora

Jean-Jacques Tortora started his career in 1984 at the French military procurement agency, then he integrated the space sector and never left it. He worked at Arianespace, at CNES and is now director of the European Space Policy Institute in Vienna. His mission is to suggest in-depth analyses to European decisionmakers concerning medium- and long-term perspectives in the space sector and independent recommendations in terms of space policy.

Director of ESPI

Lionel Poncelet

A member of YouSpace, Lionel Poncelet has worked since 2013 for a large European space company that is involved in most EU and ESA space programs. His responsibilities include monitoring political developments in EU space policy and representing the company's interests in Brussels. Prior to that, he was for six years an advisor to the Belgian High Representative for space policy. He holds degrees in law and political science.

YouSpace Member

Eric Morel de Westgaver

Eric Morel de Westgaver took up duty as Director of Industry, Procurement and Legal Services (D/IPL) on 1 November 2013. He was appointed Head of HQ Paris on 1 October 2016.

Eric Morel de Westgaver graduated in Economics from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He joined ESA in 1987 as Industrial Policy Officer in the Directorate of Administration. In 2001, he became Head of the Industrial Policy and Cost Analysis Department in the Directorate of Industrial Matters and Technology Programmes.

Before his current appointment, he had been Director of Procurement, Financial Operations and Legal Affairs since April 2011 and before that, Head of the Procurement Department since October 2004 in the Directorate of Resources Management and Industrial Matters. In addition to this responsibility he was nominated Associate Director for Industrial Matters by the Director General in February 2010. In this capacity he conducted to completion the Procurement Reform in its regulatory and policy aspects to be in line with international best practices and to better control project costs and planning.

Director of Industry, Procurement and Legal Services, ESA

Paul Counet

Paul Counet is the Head of Strategy, Communication and International Relations at EUMETSAT and the Head of Cabinet of the Director-General. He has been with EUMETSAT for the last 20 years, with a short break of 2 years in the Space Policy Unit of the European Commission, between 2004 and 2006. Before his EUMETSAT time, he had his own consultancy company based in Belgium supporting SMEs from the space sector to enter into EU-funded projects and working on applications of EO data, mainly in the field of control of subsidies to agriculture and of development of cadastral databases using satellite images.

Head of Strategy & International Relations, Eumetsat

Pierre Delsaux

Pierre Delsaux is Deputy Director General at the European Commission Directorate General for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SME’s.  After studying Law at the University of Liège, he obtained his Master of Law at the Northwestern University, Chicago, in 1983. He was Legal Secretary at the European Court of Justice from 1984 to 1987.  He worked in the private sector before joining the European Commission in 1991.  He started his career within the European Commission in the Directorate General for Competition.  He was appointed Director responsible for regulating the financial services in 2007.  Following this, in 2011, he was appointed Deputy Director General with responsibilities for the Single Market in the EU.  Since December 2015, he is in charge of Space Policy and Defence.

Deputy General Director DG Growth, European Commission

Thierry Du Pré-Werson

Mr. Thierry du Pré-Werson is an electronic civil engineer (Master of Engineering Sciences) graduated from ULiège. After a career of 9 years in software development for SAIT Electronics, a telecommunication company, he joined SPACEBEL in October 1989 to be in charge of the ESA Columbus related projects. After 15 years of involvement in the development of various European satellites, he was appointed General Manager and later on Managing Director of SPACEBEL.

He is also Vice-Chairman of Belgospace and Chairman of Wallonie-Espace

CEO Spacebel

Thibauld Jongen

Mr. Thibauld Jongen is the Chief Executive Officer of SABCA (Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques) since June 2016. After starting his career in 1998, he joined Unilever Corporate Research as a Research Scientist, where he was later appointed Program Director. He then joined Techspace Aero as Sales & Strategy Director within its test facilities engineering Business Unit, and then Senior Vice President, Managing Director of CENCO International, and President of the Board of Directors of the Minneapolis-based subsidiary CENCO Inc. Dr. Ir. Thibauld Jongen has earned his Civil Engineering degree in Applied Mathematics from the UCL, supplemented by a Masters in Fluid Dynamics at VKI and a PhD at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

CEO Sabca

Frank Preud’homme

Experienced in space project management and holding several management functions at QinetiQ Space before, currently he is a member of the board and Sales and Business Development Director at Qinetiq Space with additional responsibilities for external communications and relations and strategy. Frank is very active and member of the board in the Belgian space professional associations VRI, Belgospace and FLAG. In his career he has been part of different Advisory groups  for exploration and space technical infrastructure and he has supported numerous outreach, educational and inspirational events in space field

Member of the Board QinetiQ Space

Sabri Mekaoui

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.

Project officer, European Commission Research Executive Agency

Linda Kimeisa

Linda is a digital marketing manager who works on the HATCH project - the doorway to European Space Research and Innovation. 

Natacha Callens

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. 

Administrator ESA Academy's Training and Learning Programme, ESA

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