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Karman Fellow 2020 & Selection Board Member

Katherine Bennell

Australian Space Agency

As Director of Space Technology at the Australian Space Agency, Katherine leads a team within the Chief Technology Office to accelerate the transformation and growth of Australia's space sector, by streamlining responsible access to space for Australian industry and researchers across all space priority areas. She will also undertake basic astronaut training at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre (EAC) near Cologne, Germany, alongside ESA's newly selected career astronauts from April 2023.

Katherine is responsible for 'Access to Space' and 'Applied Space Medicine and Life Sciences' (including developing these important roadmaps), and ensuring access to spaceflight infrastructure across the sector. The immediate focus is on delivering the programs of the Fast-Tracking Access to Space initiative: Spaceflights and Spaceports - and exploring options for an Australian astronaut program. Katherine is an experienced space systems engineer, business developer and project manager. She has recently returned home following more than a decade abroad across six countries developing spacecraft, mission architectures and technologies. Through various roles at Airbus, she contributed to Lisa Pathfinder as a thermal architect, advanced ISRU technologies and an associated novel Martian vehicle design, developed an InSAR mission concept to measure ocean surface currents, led a team to design Orion mission concepts and associated add-on kits, and ran multiple innovation projects. Katherine holds a BEng Aeronautical (Space) (Hons) and BSc (Adv) Physics both from Sydney University, an MSc Space Technology from Lulea Technical University and an MSc Astronautics and Space Engineering from Cranfield University. In the course of her studies she also attended ISU SSP09. Katherine is passionate about space utilisation and exploration as a vehicle to advance society, human knowledge and quality of life. Her hobbies include scuba diving, hiking, basketball, tennis, and looking at the sky through a hobby telescope in her backyard with her husband and two young daughters.

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