This page belongs to: Australian Space Discovery Centre

People in the space sector

Learn about people working in Australia's space sector, including what they do and how they got there.
Head of the Australian Space Agency
  • Enrico completed a double degree in Applied Mathematics (Physics) and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Western Australia in 2002.
  • He then worked as a mechanical engineer for Woodside Energy for two years.
  • In 2005, Enrico and his wife Nadia quit their jobs and moved to London.
  • For just over a year, Enrico worked as a business analyst for a technology start-up called Intelligent Engineering.
Pilot and Aerospace Engineer, CAE
  • Renee joined the Air Force Cadets at the age of 15 and started learning all about the aviation industry.
  • During her HSC, she completed a Certificate II in Aero Skills (Mechanical).
  • Renee applied to study Aerospace Engineering at the University of New South Wales, but her ATAR wasn’t quite high enough. Instead, she followed an alternative pathway into the degree by first completing a Diploma of Science, Engineering and Technology.
Systems Engineer & Trials Manager, Nova Systems
  • Erin completed a Bachelor of Science (Physics)/Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) double degree at The University of Queensland in 2009.
  • Not yet sure what she wanted to do, and not interested in joining her friends in the mining industry, Erin started a Master of Science Communication in 2010. She completed the qualification four years later.
  • In 2011, Erin joined the Department of Defence as a Graduate Systems Engineer. Later, she became a Weapons Test Engineer.
  • In 2016, Erin started a new role as Systems Engineer and Trial Manager at Nova Systems.
Space Instruments Manager, ANU
  • Kirk completed a Bachelor of Science with honours at the Australian National University in 2002.
  • In 2008, he completed his PhD in experimental physics, looking at gravitational wave detection.
  • After completing his PhD, Kirk moved to California to be a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • He stayed at JPL for 11 years, holding positions as an Optical Engineer and NASA Instrument Manager. He worked on the LISA and GRACE Follow-On missions during that time.
Director of the Australian Space Automation and AI Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC), Fugro
  • Sam completed a Bachelor of Science (Aquatic Resources Management) at Curtin University in 2006.
  • He started working in the oil and gas industry not long after that, and quickly developed an interest in subsea operations.
  • Over the next few years, Sam worked as a robotics operator on boats off the shores of Western Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • He then returned to shore and found a management role with Fugro in Perth.
  • Sam worked in a number of roles at Fugro before becoming the General Manager of Fugro Remote Systems Technology.
Science and Technology Lead, Space Structures, DSTG
  • Crystal completed a double degree in physics and aerospace engineering at the University of Adelaide in 2009.
  • In 2007, she spent a semester abroad at the University of Texas. As part of her studies, she helped design a lunar rover and visited NASA in Houston.
  • Crystal did an internship at DST in 2006 and stayed on part-time while she completed her degrees. In 2010, she joined DST full-time.
  • Crystal has held a number of roles at DST over the past decade. She is now the Science and Technology Lead of Space Structures in the Aerospace Division.
Director, ANU Bushfire Initiative
  • Marta completed a Bachelor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Alcala in Spain in 2003.
  • She then completed a PhD on the use of satellite imagery in bushfire prevention in 2008.
  • For the next few years, Marta worked as a researcher at the University of Alcala.
  • She then moved to Canberra in 2010 to take up a postdoc position with CSIRO.
  • In 2014, Marta joined the ANU as a Senior Scientist to lead a project for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC on Mapping Bushfire Hazards and Impact.
Space Industry Development Lead Asia Pacific, Amazon Web Services
  • Mani started off studying medicine, but fell in love with technology. She transferred to a Bachelor of Science (Physiology) so she could graduate faster. She completed her degree at the University of Auckland in 1999.
  • While working at a travel medicine clinic, Mani discovered she enjoyed working with software. She decided to do postgraduate study in IT, which she finished in 2001.
  • She then went to the UK and spent nearly a decade working across Europe and the US in various business technology roles.
President, Australian Youth Aerospace Association
  • Thien started out studying a double degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering and physics at the University of Adelaide in 2015.
  • In 2017, he attended his first event run by the Australian Youth Aerospace Association (AYAA). He was impressed and decided to get involved.
  • At the end of his third year, Thien decided to drop the double degree and focus on aerospace. This meant that he could study part-time in his penultimate year, giving him time to contribute to the AYAA.
Senior Lecturer at ANU College of Law
  • Cassandra completed a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) at the University of New South Wales.

  • An exchange semester in Amsterdam inspired her to move there and study International Law. She completed degrees in Dutch law and international law at the University of Amsterdam in 2005 as a mature age student.

  • She worked as a lecturer in criminal law at the University of Amsterdam for eight years. She also completed her PhD there in 2014.