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October 19th, 2022, Egmont Palace, Brussels

With a possibility to attend plenary sessions online

The theme of Switch to Space 3 is Space Exploration: the Moon & Mars

Do you already know which of the 7 engaging topics interests you the most?

Moon & Mars

Morning plenary sessions
09:00 – 12:30

Opening of the event (09:00 - 9:20)

The Chair of YouSpace and Switch to Space Dominique Tilmans.

Testimonials from students & young professionals: Benoit De Vrieze, Cem Berk Senel, Antonio Gil Bonnet, Elisa Tasev, Guillaume Noiset, Corneel Bogaert, Emma Buckinx.

Panel 1 (09:20 - 10:20)

The role of Europe and Belgium in the Moon & Mars Exploration?


Chair: Sabri Mekaoui


  • Didier Schmitt (Strategy and coordination group leader for robotic and human exploration – ESA)

  • Stella Tkatchova (EIC programme Manager for Space)

  • Thomas Dermine (Belgian State Secretary for Recovery, Strategic Investments & Science Policy)


Panel 2 (10:25 - 11:25)

The place of Belgian industry in the Moon & Mars gateway


Chair: Prof. Dr. Ir. Vladimir Pletser


  • Bart Desoete (OIP)

  • Federico Rossi (Telespazio)

  • Frank Preud'Homme (QinetiQ)

  • Ina Maller (Thales Alienia Space)

  • Richard Aked (SAS)

  • Koen Puimège (Antwerp Space)

  • Olivier Dupont (Lambda-X)

  • Pierre-François Migeotte (Heartkinetics/ ULB)

Panel 3 (11:30 - 12:30)

How can we benefit from Moon & Mars Exploration technologies?


Chairs: Natacha Callens


  • Frank De Winne (Head of the European Astronaut Centre)

  • Koen Vriesacker (Technology Transfer Broker for the Belgian Space Solutions Center)

  • Jan Van Baelen (The Lunar Grid)

  • Mieke Sterken (Education & Outreach coordinator at International Polar Foundation)

Cup of Coffee

Lunch break / Speed dating / Meetings / CV corner
12:40 – 14:30 

Speed dating
Speed dating is a series of short meetings (10 minutes) with representatives of major organisations in Belgium. They will take place during the lunch break. You will be able to meet the representatives on these organisations for one-on-one conversation.

Most of the sponsors will have their booths and assigned representatives with whom you will be able to chat during the lunch break.

CV corner
Take your CV with you (several copies), you will be able to present your CV to leading space companies in Belgium to potentially apply for internship or even open position. The CV corner will also ensure a list of vacancies or internships already available at these organisations.

mars and moon

Topic 1
To the Moon & Mars
14:30 – 16:30 

Chair: Veronique Dehant and Vladimir Pletser

Presentations & Speakers

Going to Mars and the Moon needs studies in micro-gravity and experiments on the Moon first 

Carlo Iorio, Senior Researcher at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Adjunct Professor at York University

Understanding Mars from Mars Sample Return

Vinciane Debaille, FNRS Senior Researcher at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Understanding Mars from interior and rotation measurement

Sébastien Le Maistre, FED'tWIN Researcher at Royal Observatory and Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain)

Understanding asteroid impacts on Earth, Mars and beyond: The moon Dimorphos

Cem Berk Senel, Doctoral candidate at Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB)

Understanding the origin and early evolution of life on Earth, and Mars?

Emmanuelle Javaux, Professeure ordinaire/full professor at the Geology Department Director of Early Life Traces & Evolution-Astrobiology laboratory Director of UR ASTROBIOLOGY at Université de Liège (ULiège) ​

switch to space

Topic 2
Telescopes: Unravelling the mysteries of the Universe
:30 – 16:30 

Chair: Katrien Kolenberg and Carl-Henrik Dahlqvist

Presentations & Speakers

Imaging planetary systems with the Extremely Large Telescope: challenges and promises
Olivier Absil, FNRS senior research associate at STAR Institute ULiège

The James Webb Space Telescope
Bart Vandenbussche, Research manager at the Institute of Astronomy KU Leuven

The Science of the Einstein Telescope

Giacomo Bruno, full professor of physics at the IRMP institute of

Focus on the E-test activities at CSL: A new radiative cooling concept
Cédric Lenaerts, Project manager CSL

A new look on the Universe

Gwenhaël de Wasseige, Franqui assistant Professor of physics at IRMP UCLouvain

space event in Belgium

Topic 3
Space Technologies for Moon & Mars
:30 – 16:30 

Chair: Koen Puimège and Patrick Hendrick

Presentations & Speakers

Nuclear propulsion for the missions on Mars

Vincent Massaut (Nuclear Electro-Mechanical Engineer at SCK.CEN)

Gert Pille  (Nuclear-mechanical engineer at Tractebel)

Liquid rocket propulsion Switch to New Space

Vincent Ledoux (Space Program at Safran Aero Boosters)

The CNES Spaceship: preparing the future of space exploration

Romain Charles (Research Engineer at CNES)

The future of Lunar Communications and Navigation Services

Nicola De Quatro (Head of Engineering and Innovation at Telespazio Belgium)

NOMAD instrument for Mars atmospheric analysis (searching for traces of life)

Stefan Lesschaeve (System engineer space and team leader optical engineering at OIP)

How Radio Wave technology, Boiled Eggs and the Inner Structure of Mars are Related

Mattias Genbrugge (Project Manager at Antwerp Space)

Technical challenges for compact optics in space missions 

Serena Bollis (Optical System Engineer at Lambda-X)

space event

Topic 4
Astronauts 2.0: 21st century Explorers to Mars
:30 – 16:30 

Chair: Sarah Baatout and Anna Fogtman

Presentations & Speakers

Space: the next frontier in tissue engineering

Kevin Tabury (Dr Eng in space radiobiology at SCK.CEN)

Astronaut cardiac function monitoring, an investigator's journey; from fundamental research to medical applications on earth, and the launch of a startup!

Pierre-François Migeotte (Chief Executive Officer at HeartKinetics/ULB)

Space rewires the brains of astronauts

Prof Dr Floris L Wuyts (Head of Lab for Equilibrium Investigations and Aerospace (LEIA), Vertigo expert – European Institute for Otolaryngology HNS, St Augustinus Hospital – Wilrijk - Belgium)

Grip: dexterous manipulation in microgravity

Philippe Lefèvre (Full Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UCL)

Life Support Technology for long term human space missions

Dries Demey (Senior Systems Engineer at QinetiQ )


Topic 5
Using local resources on Planets to live
:30 – 16:30 

Chair: Sabri Mekaoui and Prof. Walter Peeters

Presentations & Speakers

Space Resources Technology Needs and Systems Overview

Diego Urbina (Team Lead, Future Projects and Exploration at SAS)

Using in situ resources for food, water and oxygen production in space and on other planets

Dr. Ir. Natalie Leys (Bioengineer & Radiation biologist & Space researcher at SCK CEN) will be replaced by Felice Mastroleo (Senior Researcher SCK.CEN)

What are the most valuable lunar and planetary resources, and how to harvest them?

Prof Bernard Foing (CEO LUNEX EuroMoonMars Earth Space Innovation, Prof Leiden/EPFL, President Space Renaissance International, Vice-chair COSPAR exploration Panel,  ex-ESA Chief Scientist & SMART1 Lead scientist)

The challenges for space law in view of future missions to Mars

Kevin Madders (c/o King’s College London Dickson Poon School of Law)

A keystone decade in ESA’s human and robotic exploration

Didier Schmitt (Strategy and coordination group leader for robotic and human exploration – ESA)


Topic 6
Protect & Defend our Planets
:30 – 16:30 

Chair: Marta Lebron and Mohammad Iranmanesh

Presentations & Speakers

HERA mission and Juventas cubesat

Mehdi Scoubeau (Systems Engineer at GOMspace)

Aerothermodynamic simulation of atmospheric entry phenomena

Pierre Schrooyen (Senior Research Engineer at CENAero)

Directed-energy: a versatile technology for space applications

André Fuzfa (Professor & Research Fellow at the Centre for Particle Physics and Phenomenology at Unamur)

How smallsats can participate in a responsive planetary defense system

Jean-Emmanuel Roty (Space System Engineer at Aerospacelab)

Sustainability as a keystone in the future of space industry

Olivier De Goeij (Responsable Filière - Programs Manager at ThalesAlenia)

Nicolas Chapuis (Head of Engineering for Power space equipments at ThalesAlenia)

Planetary defense from a software system perspective

Joffrey Coheur (Software System Engineer at Spacebel)


Topic 7
Space humanities / Leaving the cradle of humanity
:30 – 16:30 

Chair: Olivier Chazot & Guerric de Crombrugghe

Presentations & Speakers

Role and Concerns of Space in the ecological transition

Julien Doche (Intern at European Space Agency)

The empty sphere

Stéphanie Roland (Visual artist / Filmmake)

Space resources: humankind put to the test of wisdom?

Jean-François Mayence (Legal Advisor Belgian Federal Office for Science Policy at BELSPO)

Navigating in the dark: can computer simulations teach us something about astrophysical objects?

Marie Gueguen (Multiverse Philosopher)

Moon & Mars

Evening plenary session
16:40 – 18:00

The evolution of Space Exploration - point of view of Astronauts

Frank de Winne, Dirk Frimout, Robert Thirk, Charles Bolden, Anna Fisher and Nicole Stott

Purple And Orange Colorful Online Course Presentation.jpg

18:00 – ...

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