Students And Young Professionals Program


The International Committee on Technical Interchange for Space Mission Operations and Ground Data Systems (also referred to as the SpaceOps Organization) has held fifteen biennial conferences hosted by various countries around the world.  The SpaceOps 2021 Virtual Edition (the 16th International Conference on Space Operations) will be hosted by the South African Space Agency (SANSA). The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), working closely with SANSA and SpaceOps, executes the Students and Young Professionals (SYP) program during this SpaceOps 2021. As noted, the activities of SYP are always a big success at SpaceOps. This year will not be an exception, either.  Special thanks to SANSA and SpaceOps for making this conference free for SYP participants, an exceptional number of participants have expressed joining our SYP program. The received applications came from over 25 countries, with an increased women participants. As anticipated, three events are organized for the SYP program: a Workshop, the Speed Mentoring and, in exchange of a technical tour, a Space Quiz and will be executed.

For the first time in SpaceOps Conferences, the three events will be occurred all in the same day, which can enhance the possibility of networking activities for the students and young professionals. The goal of the SYP is not only to learn from experts of the space sector, but also to strengthen the network of the next generation of Space Operations Leaders. 

As Workshop will focus on the CubeSat topic, two professors from Cape Town, South Africa, Dr Lourens Visagie from Stellenbosch University and Mr. Francois Visser from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), will share their projects. At the end of the session, the students have the possibility to ask direct questions to the two Speakers.

The Speed Mentoring is always the biggest success among the SYP activities. Seven experts from several space agencies will become the Mentors of the event, while the students and young professionals will be the mentee who will have the opportunity to share mentors’ experience and advice on what they are care about. For the 2021 edition, the mentors are confirmed to come from the following space agencies: SANSA (hosting organization), CSA, ESA, EUMETSAT, KARI, NASA, and UAE.

In addition, the SpaceOps Technical Program Committee  had planned to award a "Best Student Paper" for the conference. To be eligible, the manuscript must be the primary work of a student, as indicated by being the lead author and the presentation must be made by the student during an oral session.

Best Students Papers SpaceOps 2018

The selected best student papers will be: Included as chapters of the SpaceOps 2021 Post Conference Book (will include selected 31 best conference papers along with 2 best student papers) that will be published in Spring of 2022 by Springer Publisher (TBC)

Flagged as Best Papers in the IAF archives for SpaceOps 2021 collection of papers

The organizing committee of the SYP activities at SpaceOps 2021 is comprise of three women: Gladys Magagula from SANSA, Young Lee from SpaceOps Technical Program Committee (NASA/JPL) and Chiara Cocchiara from EUMETSAT and SGAC.

While preparing for the SpaceOps 2021 conference, the SYP Program organizing committee has successfully established the working relationship with the UAE Space Agency, SpaceOps 2023 host organization, to start working to set up the SYP activities for SpaceOps 2023 at Dubai. Hopefully, the next SpaceOps Conference will be COVID-free and it will be possible to be held in person.