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SSPI Announces the 2021 “20 Under 35” List of Young Professionals to Watch in the Coming Years

(September 23, 2021 – New York City) – The Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) today announced the fourth annual “20 Under 35” list of outstanding young space and satellite professionals age 35 and under. The honorees will be celebrated at SSPI’s 16th annual Future Leaders Celebration on October 5 during the Satellite Innovation 2021 conference, produced by SatNews publishers.

SSPI’s annual list of the "20 Under 35" features 20 employees and entrepreneurs to keep your eye on in coming years. They were selected from nominations submitted by the membership and evaluated by a panel of judges made up of many of the Mentors supporting SSPI’s student outreach programs.  At the Future Leaders Celebration, the three top-ranked members of the 20 Under 35 will be named as this year’s Promise Award winners.

“This year’s 20 Under 35 cohort is in the best tradition of Space & Satellite Professionals International,” said executive director Robert Bell. “They cross the lines of the many disciplines that go to make up our industry. They come from multiple sectors, companies and nations. And their hard work, ingenuity and developing skills as leaders are making outsized contributions to their companies, their industry and the power of that industry to make a better world.”

The 20 Under 35 of 2021:

  • Daniel Carey, Director of Marketing, ATLAS Space Operations
  • Luke Clancy, Director of Solutions Engineering, Speedcast
  • Kelsey Doerksen, Space Systems Engineer in Satellite Operations, Planet
  • Meg Eckensen, Head of User Experience, Ursa Space Systems
  • Luis Ferreira, Strategy Manager, Airbus Defence and Space
  • Dr. Markus Geiss, Systems Engineer and Project Manager, OHB System AG
  • Sydney Hamilton, Structures Stress Engineering Manager, The Boeing Company
  • David Harary, Acquisition Program Analyst, OBXTek Inc., Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration (SAF/SQ)
  • Mikala Johnson, Ph.D., Principal Systems Engineer – LEO Systems, Kymeta Corporation
  • Mina Konaka, Satellite Systems Engineer, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
  • Dr. Akshata Krishnamurthy, Systems Engineer and Scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Sam Lewis, Senior Software Engineer, ATLAS Space Operations
  • Valentina Luchetti, Operations Manager, Space Generation Advisory Council
  • Brandon Marsella, Guidance, Navigation and Control Engineer, The Boeing Company
  • Raven Moreland, Spacecraft Power Systems Engineer, Ball Aerospace
  • Camilo Andrés Reyes Mantilla, Junior Spacecraft Controller, SES Satellites
  • Courtney Schmitt, Controls Engineer II, Blue Origin
  • Dr. Olga Stelmakh-Drescher, Chief Policy and Government Relations Officer, EXOLAUNCH
  • E. James (Jimmy) Strates II, Lead RF Engineer, NXT Communications Corp.
  • Nathan Welborne, Resilient Space Missions Business Development, Viasat Government Systems

Full profiles of the 20 Under 35 can be found at

About SSPI
Founded in 1983, Space & Satellite Professionals International ( is on a mission to make the space and satellite industry one of the world’s best at attracting and engaging the talent that powers innovation. The space and satellite business has never seen a time of greater experimentation and disruption than we see today. Investment is the fuel for transformation, but people are the engine. SSPI helps the industry attract, develop and retain the talented people it needs to keep the engine turning. People who connect through high-profile events and gain recognition from prestigious awards. People who rely on SSPI for a broader understanding of the industry as much as for individual networking and career mentoring. From young people seeking a career path to industry veterans with wisdom to share, SSPI connects them all.

Talent, investment and opportunity flow to industries that make a difference. SSPI is the only organization that also promotes the enormous value of space and satellite through dramatic stories of our technologies and companies making a better world. Those stories overturn misconceptions about the industry that hold it back. They inspire our people and attract new ones to the industry. They help justify investment and give new customers a reason to care about our services and products. Through the stories we tell and the people we serve, SSPI inspires the growth of the $1 trillion space economy of the future.


For More Information
Victoria Krisman
Communications Manager
Space & Satellite Professionals International

 September 23, 2021