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Karman Fellow 2022

Joseph Abakunda

Rwanda Space Agency

Joseph is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of the Rwanda Space Agency where he oversees the strategic direction of the agency and develops partnerships across industry, academia and government.

He is a Space Systems engineer and coordinated the drafting of Rwanda’s national space policy & strategy and brings over 10 years’ experience across both the upstream and downstream of the space value chain and the utilization of space applications. He was also a member of the COVID-19 national task force as a technology project manager utilizing space technology in the planning & mitigation of the spread of the COVID- 19 pandemic in Rwanda as well as aiding contact tracing efforts. Before his current role, he was the National Coordinator for the Rwanda Space Program and Project Manager for RWASAT-1 – Rwanda’s first satellite – a CubeSat developed in partnership with the University of Tokyo. He also led efforts on behalf of the Government of Rwanda to become a member of the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Joseph currently serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for Digital Earth Africa and is also part of the XPRIZE Space Brain Trust. In addition to being a licensed pilot, he holds a MSc in Space Systems & Business Engineering from the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria as well as a BSc in Systems Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA).

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