We are a nonprofit, independent and global foundation headquartered in Berlin, Germany.
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Each year, the Karman Project gathers curated members representing diverse nationalities and sectors for a variety of activities designed to facilitate personal engagement, trust-building, inspiration and most importantly, impact. The foundation's backbone is our Fellowship Programme, which supports 15 carefully selected Karman Fellows in strengthening their mutual relations, meeting with global leaders and shaping common agendas to positively impact space.
Karman Project participation(s) are intuitu personae invitation(s). The Chatham House Rules apply to all discussions.
FOSTER TRUST, COOPERATION AND INDEPENDENT DIALOGUE BETWEEN GLOBAL SPACE LEADERS.
The Fellowship Programme is a one-year programme designed to bring together 15 selected Karman Fellows who are below the age of 45 and have achieved outstanding accomplishments in space. Over the course of the Programme, Fellows strengthen personal relations, meet with global leaders and take personal commitments to further advance space-related agendas.
The Fellowship Programme concludes with a Gala Dinner in which Fellows are invited to present their commitments and visions for the next 5-10 years to key decision-makers. As a culmination of the year’s activities, the Gala Dinner celebrates stimulating discussion; a principle complemented by the presentation of 'Space^10' - an artistic and science-fiction inspired documentary co-created with invited artists that explores space scenarios in ten years’ time.
Hélène is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, which aims to democratize space exploration. Before launching The Exploration Company, Hélène served for a number of years as VP Orion European Service Module at Airbus Defence and Space. Previously within Airbus, Helene held the position of Head of Innovation where she grew a portfolio of 20+ new profitable businesses.
Privately, Hélène invests in tech startups and serves as a Senior Adviser of Red River West VC and as a Board Member of startups in the US, China and the EU. She co-founded the Microbiome Foundation and is an Anchor Partner at Yunus Social Business.
Jean-Jacques Dordain was Director General of the European Space Agency between 2003 and 2015. He has honorary functions as Vice President of the International Astronautical Federation and Chancellor of the International Space University.
Within Europe, Jean-Jacques has nurtured ESA’s relationship with the European Union and its institutions. Within the ESA/EU framework agreement established in 2004, ESA and the European Commission drew up a European Space Policy as a common political framework for space activities in Europe.
William H. Gerstenmaier served as Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations between 2005 and July 2019 at NASA’s headquarters in Washington, and as a special advisor to NASA's deputy administrator between July and December 2019.
Prior to being Associate Administrator, William served as the International Space Station Office Program Manager at Johnson Space Center, a position he began in June 2002. In February of 2020 William joined SpaceX as Senior Principle Flight Reliability Engineer Consultant, supporting Dragon Commercial Crew flights to the ISS, together with Falcon 9 launches, Starlink and Starship activities.
Karen Hitschke is the Chief Operating Officer at the WHO Foundation, an independent grant-making organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland that identifies and funds catalytic initiatives to improve world health. She was previously the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Funds at Yunus Social Business (YSB) Global Initiatives, where she still serves as a Board Member.
Karen has extensive expertise and experience in fund structuring, early stage investing, and fundraising. She started her business career as a consultant at McKinsey & Co in Munich, Germany. Academically, Karen holds an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau (France), and a M.Sc. in Biology from the University of Constance, Germany.
Artur is the COO of The Exploration Company, and previously served as the Propulsion Subsystem Lead of the Orion European Service Module at Airbus Defence and Space. Artur has held several thermal and propulsion engineering positions throughout his career.
Artur was a visiting researcher for bioengineering at NASA Ames. He also worked as a development engineer at the Institute of Astronautics in the Technical University of Munich and holds a MSc. in Aerospace Engineering.
Fu Kun, born in Shanghai, is the Managing Director of CAS (Chinese Academy of Science) Capital Management Co. Ltd. Formerly, Mr Fu was Associate of Pierson Capital Asia (2005-2006), Chief of Section of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (2006-2017), Deputy Chief of Section of the Office of Overseas Talents of the Ministry of Organization (2008-2011), Senior Executive of Huaxia Bank's Financial Institute Department (2017-2018) and Partner of Beijing Rivertown Growth Fund (2018-2019).
Mr Fu holds the Engineering degree of Ecole Centrale de France, Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Arts of the English Language of Tsinghua University.
Noor Sweid is the founder of Global Ventures, a Dubai-based, growth-stage venture capital firm focusing on investing in emerging markets. Previously, Noor was the Chief Investment Officer at The Dubai Future Foundation, and a Managing Partner at Leap Ventures, a growth-stage venture capital firm based out of Dubai and Beirut. Noor moved back to Dubai in 2005 and joined her family business, Depa.
Implementing best-practice corporate governance and enabling the scaling of the business tenfold in three years to reach US$600 million in revenues, Noor then led the IPO for the company in 2008, on the NASDAQ Dubai and the London Stock Exchange.
In her role at the Karman Project, Hannah works to build trusted relationships among a highly diverse cohort of global space leaders. Additionally, Hannah leads the community development and strategic partnerships for The Exploration Company. Hannah spent five years working in Berlin within the European startup and innovation ecosystems, most notably overseeing the Product and Innovation Department at Factory Berlin, Germany’s leading innovation community.
She graduated in Law (Honours) and Journalism, and practised as a lawyer in her home country of Australia before transitioning to the innovation and space sectors. Hannah is set to undertake further space studies at the International Space University in 2022.
Ke oversees the operational and funding activities of the Karman Project, whilst managing various relationships with trusted partners. Alongside this, Ke is the CEO of Disrupt Space, a platform which provides business cooperation opportunities for commercial space companies globally. Ke also works as Co-Founder and COO of the Great Wall Festival which promotes cultural exchange between China and other countries.
Ke graduated in international law and practiced in trade remedies and WTO dispute settlements in Beijing. She also holds a MA in Business Management from ESCP-Europe and is an alumna of the International Space University's Space Studies Program.