Networking Friday Special Session on Space Capacity Building

On September 25, 1-3 PM UTC, we held a Thematic Special Session on Space Capacity Building with Stefano Ferretti (ESA), Shubha Sathyendranath (Plymouth Marine Laboratory), and Antonio Martelo (DLR). The session focused on Space Capacity Building to empower the international community towards fully accessing all the economic and societal benefits that space assets and data can offer. New innovation models are increasingly spreading across various sectors and disciplines, including space, which is becoming an integral part of many societal activities (e.g. telecoms, weather, climate change and environmental monitoring, civil protection, infrastructures, transportation and navigation, healthcare and education). The session helped participants to construct their own space capacity building roadmaps, which take into account key stakeholders and also new private actors, NGOs and civil society. Starting from a policy and strategy perspective, the session addressed key aspects of capacity building, including innovation and exploration, global health, climate change and resilient societies. It outlined the available options and summarized the ideal programmatic conditions for their successful implementation. Showcasing reflections from a range of senior space professionals around the world, with their unique perspectives and solutions, the session provided a rich mosaic in which various cultural and policy approaches to space are translated into actionable programs and ideas so that space may truly benefit all of humankind.


  • 1:00 PM UTC – Welcome address and introductions
  • 1:10 PM UTC – Stefano Ferretti
  • 1:40 PM UTC – Shubha Sathyendranath
  • 2:10 PM UTC – Antonio Martelo
  • 2:40 PM UTC – Q&A Session
  • 2:55 PM UTC – Closing remarks


Stefano Ferretti

Space Capacity Building in the XXI Century

Stefano Ferretti co-authored and edited the book “Space Capacity Building in the XXI century” as Resident Fellow of the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in Vienna, Austria, the leading European think tank for space policy, while working as an ESA Space Policy officer seconded from ESA/HQ in Paris, France, from 2015 until 2018. His main research interests are governance, innovation and future space-based services, and at ESPI he has initiated and managed the “Space for Sustainable Development” programme of activities, which included the 10th ESPI Autumn Conference in 2016 and the “Yearbook on Space Policy 2016: Space for Sustainable Development” published by ESPI at Springer Wien New York; the ESPI contributions to the UNISPACE+50, which included the ESPI-UNOOSA-ESA Conference “Space Capacity Building in the XXI century” in 2018; and various high-level Space policy researches, dialogue platforms, seminars and conferences in the European and global context, addressing sectors such as health, telecommunications and transport, which included the ESPI-EU-ESA Conference “Space and SATCOM for 5G: European Transport and Connected Mobility” in Bruxelles in 2017 and the participation to the UN COPUOS Expert Focus Group for Space and Global Health (EFG-SGH) based on the UNISPACE-III Recommendation 6.

Previously, he covered various positions at the European Space Agency, working as energy manager and infrastructure technical officer at ESA/ESRIN, and as International Space Station payloads project manager at ESA/ESTEC, coordinating the development of scientific experiments in microgravity, with international space agencies (NASA, JAXA and ROSCOSMOS), research institutions and industries. Before joining the Agency, he worked at Thales Alenia Space, where he managed development activities of the International Space Station Node3 module, covering the various engineering and manufacturing phases of the flight hardware. For this work he received an award from the NASA International Space Station vehicle office in 2006. Prior to that, he carried out academic and industrial research activities at NASA, and during ESA parabolic flight campaigns, for which he received the International Astronautical Federation Napolitano Award in 2002. He holds a PhD, with a dissertation on Innovative Technologies for Space Habitats, a Master in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bologna and a Master of Space Studies from the International Space University. He attended executive programmes in Space policy and law, innovation and entrepreneurship and leadership, at George Washington University and MIT. He has authored several articles, reports and papers in the fields of space policy and law as well as science, engineering and technology. He is a member of the Professional Engineers Association (Ordine degli Ingegneri) of Italy since 2005, of the International Astronautical Federation Committee on Space Applications and he represented ESPI for three years at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS).

Shubha Sathyendranath

Building capacity and resilience against diseases transmitted via water under climate perturbations and extreme weather stress

It is now generally accepted that climate variability and change; occurrences of extreme weather events; urbanisation and human pressures on the environment; and high mobility of human populations; all contribute to the spread of pathogens and to outbreaks of water-borne and vector-borne diseases such as cholera and malaria. The threats are heightened by natural disasters such as floods, droughts, earthquakes that disrupt sanitation facilities. Aligned against these risks are the laudable Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations dealing with health, climate, life below water, and reduced inequalities. Rising to the challenges posed by these goals requires an integrated approach bringing together various scientific disciplines that deal with parts of the problem, and also the various stakeholders including the populations at risk, local governing bodies, health workers, medical professionals, international organisations, charities, and non-governmental organisations. Satellite-based instruments capable of monitoring various properties of the aquatic ecosystems and the environs have important contributions to make in this context. In this talk, we present some examples to illustrate some of the benefits that remote sensing can bring to address the problem of global of health, and use these examples to identify the capacity building that is essential to maximise the exploitation of the remote sensing potential in this context.

Shubha Sathyendranath is an oceanographer from India (Cochin University of Science and Technology), with a doctorate from France (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris), who has worked in India, France and Canada before moving to the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK. Her main interests are marine optics; remote sensing; marine primary production; biological-physical interactions in the ocean; climate variability; and climate change. She is currently the science lead of the Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative of the European Space Agency. She worked for many years as the Executive Director of the Partnership of Observation of the Global Oceans, devoting her time there to improving international coordination and collaboration, as well as capacity building for ocean observations. Most of her research work has had an open-ocean focus. Her interest in issues of ecosystem health in coastal and inland water bodies was stimulated by learning about the degradation of the water quality of Vembanad Lake in Kerala, India, and its implications for human health.

Antonio Martelo

Innovative Space Systems Design—Methods and Tools

Antonio Martelo is the head of the Concurrent Engineering Facility (CEF) and a space systems engineer in the German Aerospace Center (DLR), since 2014. His present work focuses on Concurrent Engineering-study operation as team leader, Concurrent Engineering process development, the responsibility for the CEF, and the acquisition and execution of projects and studies, as well as the dissemination of results and external communication. He holds degrees in Telecommunications Engineering from the European University of Madrid (Spain), Space Systems Engineering from ISAE-Supaero (France), and in Radio-astronomy and Space Science from Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden).