Meet some of our team and speakers for our event.

Kieran Arnold

Chief Architect of Future Networks & Systems at Satellite Applications Catapult

Kieran has held various senior technical and executive roles over the past 30 years which include R&D Chief Technical Officer for Orange / France Telecom R&D, Head of payload systems Engineering Airbus Space & Defence. He is currently Chief Architect of Future Networks and Systems at the Satellite Applications Catapult. He has lead two major 5G projects at the Catapult, firstly a project funded by SEMLEP for Milton Keynes Smart City 5G deployment and DCMS funded project for Dorset Council providing rural connectivity using satellite and terrestrial connectivity.

Liam Braeger

Head of Transport & Infrastructure at Satellite Applications Catapult

Liam Braeger is Head of Transport and Infrastructure at the Satellite Applications Catapult, an innovation and technology organisation transforming the way the world uses satellite technology and data, with a particular focus on remote sensing and infrastructure monitoring. Liam has worked extensively in pharmaceutical and FMCG supply chain for over a decade helping to commercialise new SAAS businesses focussed on delivering insightful data to users to help streamline their processes.  

Dr Chris Brunskill

Head of UK Space Programmes at D-Orbit 

Dr Chris Brunskill specialises in small satellite systems and mission design. He obtained a Masters of Engineering degree in electronics and satellite engineering from the University of Surrey and a PhD in space robotics from the Surrey Space Centre. He has been responsible for the development and delivery of a multitude of smallsat missions, focused in the creation of new satellite applications that utilise state of the art flight, ground and launch technologies for demonstration of new mission concepts. He is now responsible for creating missions that enable new capabilities for space logistics and services at D-Orbit UK. Chris is passionate about open, innovative technology development in the space sector.

Mike curtis-rouse

Head of Access to Space at Satellite Applications Catapult

Mike is the Head of Access to Space at the Satellite Applications Catapult. With a background in advanced manufacturing, metallurgy, and robotics, he is an expert and thought leader on disruptive technologies across multiple sectors. Currently, his focus is the development of the UK’s space manufacturing eco-system, covering spaceports, launch vehicles and orbital manufacturing. Mike works extensively with nascent and established rocket companies, as well those organisations exploring manufacturing in LEO, and beyond. He is an advisor to several launch vehicle companies, an NED for Space Store, and CTO for two disruptive technology companies. 

Mick Davidson

Operations Director and Interim CEO of Nexus Nine

Mick Joined the Royal Navy in 1991 as a Marine Engineer with a following career in the Army in Intelligence, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (ISTAR). Having worked in the UAS industry since 2000, across roles that include Payload thru Pilot, Operations, Training and Safety Management. He’s also an engineer with Intelligence Analyst qualifications, VTOL and Fixed Wing experience worth over 4000hrs worldwide. He assisted in the set-up of 3 UK RAE (previously NQE’s) and has trained and assisted in the stand-up of various Armed Forces UAS Squadrons. He helped the set-up of UAS test pilot school courses and is currently Operations Director and Interim CEO of Nexus Nine Ltd.

Richard Ellis

Chief Business Officer at Altitude Angel

Richard Ellis is the Chief Business Officer at Altitude Angel. Richard joined Altitude Angel in early 2020 having previously built a strong background in building successful relationships with ANSPs and key stakeholders within the drone and UTM industry.

Matt Escott

CEO and Co-founder of Protolaunch

Matt Escott is the CoFounder and CEO of Protolaunch. Protolaunch is a space mobility startup, developing chemical propulsion solutions to power the needs of NewSpace. After completing a Masters’s Degree in Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Cambridge and working as a Mechanical Engineer at Cambridge Consultants, Matt went on to found Protolaunch. The company established itself at Westcott Business Incubation Centre in early 2019 and has continued to grow, securing multiple contracts from ESA, UK Space Agency, and commercial customers. More recently, the company established the Protolaunch Propulsion Test Facility, located at E-Site in Westcott Venture Park. By renovating historic rocket test stands at Westcott, this facility is now capable of testing bipropellant rocket engines up to 15kN in thrust and is actively in use progressing Protolaunch’s key propulsion technologies. Alongside his role at Protolaunch, Matt also has an Enterprise Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Engineering and is Chairman of the UK Space Propulsion Working Group.

Paul Febvre

Chief Technology Officer at Satellite Applications Catapult

Paul is currently Chief Technology Officer at Satellite Applications Catapult and Project Director for the creation of the UK Technology Strategy Board’s Satellite Applications Catapult Centre. This Centre represents an exciting opportunity for the space sector in the UK, increasing the opportunities for collaboration across Europe to exploit and commercialise innovation.

Jeff Feige

Chief Revenue Officer at Radian Aerospace

Jeff Feige is the Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer at Radian Aerospace based in Bellevue, Washington. Previously, Jeff was the Chairman at Space Frontier Foundation, an organisation who has set out to obtain large-scale permanent settlement for humankind in space: access to space.

Alberto Garbayo

UK CEO of AVS Added Value Solutions

As the UK Chief Executive Officer Alberto looks after all the UK activities of the AVS Group. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of URA Thrusters. AVS provides complex engineering solutions to Accelerators, Fusion and Space. And within Space, AVS provides mechatronic, thermal, propulsion and electronic solutions for a wide variety of missions and applications, with a special focus in Mechanisms, In-situ Resources Utilisation (ISRU) and In-orbit Services (IOS) and manufacturing (IOSM).

Avantika GUPTA

UK and Europe Vice President at Type One VC

Avantika is a highly experienced project manager and analyst with a demonstrated history of working with the pharmaceutical industry, with a focus on buy-side partnership evaluation. She is currently working for Type One Ventures as their UK and Europe Vice President.

richard harrington

Chief Executive at Buckinghamshire LEP

Richard has lead responsibility for strategy development and delivery at the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Bucks LEP), which is at the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain.  He is currently leading the implementation of the Buckinghamshire Local Industrial Strategy and the successor Buckinghamshire Economic Recovery Plan, supporting the existing business base, that generates economic output worth over £17 billion per annum.  Richard has steered impressive growth across the strategically important Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone, that includes Silverstone Technology Park, Westcott Venture Park and the partnership promoted Aylesbury Woodlands mixed use development and is further securing funding to invest in incubation and innovation centres, supporting the development and implementation of the skills plan for Buckinghamshire, and supporting Growth Hub activity to grow local business and attract inward investment. A town planner and surveyor by training Richard ensures that the Bucks LEP remains focused on delivery of tangible economic outcomes.

James Macfarlane

Managing Director at Airborne Engineering Ltd.

After working in academia and at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on diverse projects in science and aerospace, James founded Airborne Engineering Limited in 2001 to provide intrumentation for high altitude balloons, including various crew-carrying record attempts. The company gradually moved into the business of rocket engine testing and relocated to Westcott in 2009. After refurbishing two of the cold war era test stands at J-Site, Airborne Engineering now offers rocket engine testing services to a variety of customers as well as carrying out its own R&D programmes in rocket engine development and VTVL rockets.

Nigel Mackenzie

Business Development Manager at Westcott Venture Park

Nigel is a Chartered Surveyor with over 35 years experience in commercial property investment and development specialising in construction of bespoke buildings for occupiers in the industrial and technology sectors . For the past nine years he has acted as a development consultant to the owners of Westcott Venture Park , overseeing a development/investment programme of approximately £ 25 million and offering strategic advice on the repositioning of the Park as a centre of excellence for space propulsion , communications and related engineering research and development. 


Michael Merritt

Strategy and Operations Lead at Skyports

Michael Merritt leads on strategy & operations at Skyports, focusing on developing and scaling the company’s drone services networks across the healthcare, offshore and logistics sectors. Prior to this, Michael worked as a flight operations engineer and pilot, gaining hundreds of hours of flight time experience and operating flights across many of Skyports’ UK projects, including the NHS deliveries trial in Scotland in 2020 and the FedEx delivery project in Shannon, Ireland, through which the company earned its Light Unmanned Certificate. 


Michael studied as an Aerospace Engineer at the University of Bristol and holds General Visual Certificates from the CAA for fixed-wing and rotary drone operation.

Ajay Modha

Business Unit Head at FlyANRA

Ajay began his career as a Technologist at QinetiQ UK contributing to the development of CFD and performance models for rotorcraft (2005 – 2007), was part of the Zephyr solar-powered aircraft team which broke the endurance record in 2008 achieving sustained flight in 2008 and the Sea King helicopter Carson Blade Programme for increased performance of the Mk4 and Mk7. Between 2010 and 2014, Ajay lead the airworthiness and structural integrity activities for the Army and Navy Lynx Wildcat helicopter development programme. At Facebook (2014-2018), Ajay was the Airframe Manager for the Aquila high-altitude aircraft programme aimed at delivering a stratospheric platform capable of delivering connectivity in regions lacking fibre-optic infrastructure. In 2018, Ajay joined the Transport Systems Catapult (now the Connected Places Catapult- CPC) to lead their Unmanned Aviation R&D and industry outreach activities. In this time, he lead the delivery of the UK UAS Traffic Management (UTM) framework and the drone Pathfinder Programme.

Sonia Pietosi

Business Development Lead at Satellite Applications Catapult

Sonia is the Living Lab Business Development Lead at the Satellite Applications Catapult. The Living Labs are a network of innovation centres that combines space and market-relevant expertise to develop connectivity enabled solutions. The network currently includes an Agri Living Lab and Healthy Living Lab in Westcott Space Park. Sonia has a background in research and development of financial services for low-income people in low and middle income countries, with a focus on how digital technologies, data and AI can enable suitable financial products for smallholder farmers.

Talini Pinto Jayawardena

Systems Engineering Lead at Space Forge

Talini is the Systems Engineering Lead at Space Forge Limited. She has over 10 years experience in the space industry spanning GNSS-based CubeSat instrumentation, payload systems engineering and space weather research. Talini attained her PhD from the University of Bath in 2015, where her research was focused on the development of space-borne GPS instrumentation for plasmaspheric imaging. She has a background in electronic engineering, graduating from the University of Bath in 2010 with a degree in Electronics with Space Science & Technology MEng(Hons).

Clem Robertson

Founder of R4DAR

Clem Robertson is a technology veteran with 25 years plus experience in embedded engineering, integrated circuit design, programme management and B2B product delivery across multiple markets including fabless semi, semiconductors, RF & telecoms, automotive, medical & defence. He has a proven track record of creating and leading multi-discipline teams that deliver world-class technologies for object/subject data capture and has held senior roles at Plextek, Nurija and Airvana. He has recently championed and led the development of next-generation imaging radar technologies for multiple markets and applications including Runway Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Detection. He founded R4DAR technologies in April 2019.

Armando Rojas Gomez

Lead Business Development Manager at NanoAvionics UK

Armando has a background in Aerospace Engineering with a specialty in propulsion with previous experience in engineering, R&D evaluation in Spain, and business development at OSS.

Manny Shar

Managing Director at Orbit Fab

Manny recently joined Orbit Fab as its Managing Director in May this year. Manny was previously the Head of Analytics at Bryce Space & Technology, leading and consulting engagements for government and commercial clients. As Bryce’s first international employee, he built up Bryce’s European presence into a successful, revenue-generating business. He has managed and executed numerous space and satellite projects, providing business and technology analytics to a wide variety of clients throughout the space industry.


Martin Smye-Rumsby

Westcott Area Manager at Satellite Applications Catapult

Martin is inspired by space exploration and is passionate about using space technology to improve life down here on planet Earth.  Accordingly, he is a member of the Planetary Society and Vice-Chair of the Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry Society.  With a record of helping to deliver improved capability in both the private and public sectors, Martin has successfully worked with start-ups, aerospace primes, central government, the military and with universities. He understands the specific challenges involved in getting new capability to market and into service using either waterfall or agile methodologies.

Martin Tett

Buckinghamshire Council Leader

Martin has been Leader of Buckinghamshire Council since its inception in April 2020.  Prior to that he was Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council since May 2011, having joined the Council in 2005.  His responsibilities include overall policy direction and strategy, financial strategy, communications, external relations with Government and representative bodies.  He leads on the council’s stance on HS2, Heathrow expansion, the Oxford to Cambridge corridor and economic development.  Prior to becoming Leader, Martin was Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment.  Martin has pursued a policy of making Buckinghamshire “Member Led” and has introduced a “Think Councillor” policy for all officers.

Charlie Young

Joint Managing Director at Plastron

Charlie is a skilled business innovation & industrial research specialist and systems engineer, with 30 years’ experience in upstream unmanned space engineering, digital design & delivery and business transformation in healthcare, healthTech and spaceTech. Leading Plastron’s mission to deliver safety-led transformation to the evolving NewSpace sector, Charlie’s work includes launcher hardware and spacecraft system design, environmental impact Life Cycle Assessment practices for the upstream supply chain as well as leading edge innovation to improve hazardous working environments. Most recently, he secured a placement on the ESA BIC incubation programme at Harwell to develop a digital platform designed to optimise the time and effort taken to bring new flight hardware to market.

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