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Australian Space Agency executive

Meet the members of the Australian Space Agency’s executive team.

Enrico Palermo

Title: Head

Mr Palermo is the second Head of the Australian Space Agency, starting in January 2021 at the Agency’s Adelaide headquarters. As Head of Agency, he is responsible for overall governance and performance, management, policy leadership and strategic direction. Mr Palermo spent the previous 14 years in various roles at Virgin Galactic, including managing a team of over 700 engineers, technicians and professionals responsible for the build and testing of a fleet of Mach 3, crewed commercial spaceships. He went from being the first employee of The Spaceship Company, a Virgin Galactic subsidiary dedicated to the high-tech manufacturing function, to becoming Chief Operating Officer of the New York Stock Exchange listed public company Virgin Galactic Holdings.

A Perth native, Mr Palermo graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Physics and Applied Mathematics.  Mr Palermo also studied at the International Space University in Strasbourg. Mr Palermo has worked and studied in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Netherlands. His experience goes beyond the space industry having also worked in Australian chemical processing, management consulting, onshore and offshore oil and gas, and mining industries. Returning home to Australia with his wife Nadia and two boys, Mr Palermo brings his deep technical background, international network, and business scaling experience to help further develop Australia’s expanding ecosystem of space companies and startups.

Anthony Murfett

Title: Deputy Head

Anthony Murfett is Deputy Head of the Australian Space Agency. Anthony has oversight of strategy, policy and day-to-day operations and supports the Agency Head in monitoring the performance of the Agency. He ensures the Agency delivers on its purpose to transform and grow a globally respected Australian space industry that contributes to the economy.

Anthony has worked as Minister Counsellor, Industry, Science and Education at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC. He has also been General Manager of the Growth Centres Branch in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in Canberra.

Anthony brings an entrepreneurial spirit to the Agency, valuing partnerships while drawing strength from diversity and pushing the boundaries of our knowledge.

Aude Vignelles

Title: Chief Technology Officer

Aude Vignelles is the Chief Technology Officer of the Australian Space Agency. As part of the senior executive team, Aude leads and is responsible for writing the civil space strategy technical roadmaps, scoping and managing the Agency’s space programs and delivering on domestic and international activities. She provides an in-depth understanding of the national and international space industry, program management expertise and a breadth of space science and systems engineering skills. Prior to this role, Aude was the Executive Manager, Satellite & Fixed Wireless Operations at nbn.

Aude is a space and aeronautics engineer (graduating from ENSICA, Toulouse) who started her career at the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Netherlands. She became a source of expertise for the test campaign of all scientific programmes run by ESA from their early phase, such as Rosetta. She was appointed Test Manager for the X-ray Multi Mirror mission (XMM), then the largest scientific space program ever carried out by ESA. She then moved to London where she started a career in the broadcast industry and successfully integrated the first digital terrestrial broadcast centre in the world (ONdigital). She continued this career in broadcast and media here in Australia with Foxtel and Austar. She later was appointed Vice President of Technicolor covering all programs in the APAC region.

Aude has been living in Australia for the past 20 years and has contributed to the Australian space community through White Papers, events at conferences with the growing start up community in Australia, and promotion for Women in Space and Engineering at universities.

Christopher De Luis

Title: General Manager, Office of the Space Regulator

Christopher has oversight of the Agency’s regulatory and international obligations responsibilities, which includes overseeing the Agency’s responsibilities under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 (the Act). Christopher has oversight of engagement with industry to assure compliance with the requirements of the Act, coordinates civil space regulatory activities across government, and has oversight of safety and risk of space access activities, with the aim to develop and sustain safe launch operations in Australia.

Christopher has previously held Senior Executive management and engineering roles at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Department of Defence.

Christopher is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and has a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace), Master of Business Administration and a Master of Government and Commercial Law.

Chris Hewett

Title: General Manager, Strategy and Industry Growth

Chris is responsible for the Agency’s policy development and coordination, industry growth facilitation, and the teams supporting the operations of the Agency. Chris leads the development of advice to achieve the vision in the Australian Civil Space Strategy, including how to grow Australian industry through investment and workforce development. Chris and his team engage across government and international counterparts on space matters and development opportunities.

Chris has previously held Senior Executive Service roles at the Department of Defence and the Department of Finance. Chris’ career in government began in national security, where he built and lead teams that designed, delivered and used space technologies for 15 years. Chris enjoys working with partners, both in industry and government, and has extensive international experience from both before and after joining government. His education includes masters degrees in strategic policy and space operations, and an honours degree in ancient history from the University of Sydney.

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Last updated: 24 February 2022

Content ID: 64712