The Karman Project announces cohort for its 2021 Fellowship Programme.

Posted on
April 24, 2021
Hannah Ashford

The Karman Project is very pleased to announce the selection of 15 Fellows for the second edition of the Karman Fellowship Programme. 

The 15 selected Fellows represent 12 nationalities and six continents, coming from the startup, cultural, venture capital, academic, space agency and industry sectors alike. The Fellows are considered to be change-makers and global leaders who are shaping the future of space, fostering an incredible desire to cooperatively and positively create impact in their respective communities. 

The Fellows were selected from 133 carefully considered candidates from around the world, 50 of whom were presented to the Karman Selection Board for the final decision. The 2021 Selection Board convened virtually on April 10th, 2021 and was curated to consist of 40 highly respected and accomplished professionals, who likewise represent a fine intersection of disciplines, industries and cultures. The Board was chaired by Jean-Jacques Dordain, former Director General of the European Space Agency.

All candidates were asked to make a video submission and were measured in reference to five key criteria, namely:

  1. Exceptional professional achievement and impact in space or a space-related field.
  2. Track record of successful cooperations or projects (ideally cross-border or cross-disciplinary).
  3. Demonstrated strategic thinking in relation to critical global issues that space can contribute to solving and/or challenges that exist within the space sector.
  4. Motivation to join the Karman Fellowship Programme and the Karman Community (including potential future contribution).
  5. Complementary potential in relation to other Fellowship candidates (e.g. diverse representation of nationalities, sectors and disciplines among Fellowship cohort).

‘‘The Selection Board were incredibly impressed by not only the high calibre of candidates before them, but also by the truly international and collaborative mindset that shone through in so many applications,’’ says Helene Huby, Chair of the Karman Project. ‘‘It has been incredibly heartening to connect with so many who possess a shared passion for cooperatively shaping the future of space, and we cannot wait to get to work with this outstanding cohort of Fellows.’’

The Fellows will participate in various leadership and community-building activities throughout the course of the Fellowship, including intimate strategic roundtable discussions, the Karman Mentorship Programme and other activities designed to support the Fellows as they declare personal commitments towards space-related impact agendas. The Karman Project additionally continues to build a strong network of global partners who are equally dedicated to supporting the Karman Fellows and wider community, including the ‘Karman Pioneers’ - those candidates who were shortlisted among the top 50. 

The profiles of the 2021 Karman Fellows and the Selection Board Members are now available here on the Karman Project website. 

About the Karman Fellowship Programme

The Karman Fellowship Programme is a one-year leadership programme designed to foster trust, independent dialogue and cooperation between 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 in technology, science, business, politics and the arts, and take personal commitments to further advance space-related agendas for the betterment of humanity.

About the Karman Project

‍The Karman Project strengthens trust, fosters independent dialogue and encourages cooperation between global leaders in business, technology, politics, science and the arts who want to positively impact space. The Karman Project is a nonprofit and independent foundation headquartered in Germany.


Hannah Ashford

Director, Fellowship & Community




Karman Fellows 2021:

  1. Pierre Bertrand - Director of R&D Center, Loft Orbital (France)
  2. Jingqi Cai - EVP, Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Co Ltd (China) 
  3. Vanessa Clark - CEO, Atomos Space (USA/Australia)
  4. Davis Cook - CEO, Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability & Non-Executive Director, ZASpace (South Africa)
  5. Priyanka D. Rajkakati - Artist & Aerospace Engineer (Ph.D.) (India/France)
  6. Alessandro Golkar - Associate Professor & Technology Development Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Skoltech (Italy)
  7. Jonathan Hofeller - Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales, SpaceX (USA)
  8. Clarisse Iribagiza - CEO, Hehe (Rwanda)
  9. Joe Laurienti - Founder & CEO, Ursa Major (USA)
  10. Jessica Meir - NASA Astronaut, Marine Biologist & Physiologist (USA/Sweden)
  11. Thomas Oehl - Founder & Managing Partner, VSquared Ventures (Germany)
  12. Yuanyuan Peng - Co-Founder & President, Commsat (China)
  13. Nahum Romero - Artist & Founding Director, KOSMICA Institute (Mexico)
  14. Neha Satak - Co-Founder & CEO, Astrome (India/USA)
  15. Dr. Soyeon Yi - Astronaut (Korea)