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Electric Space Propulsion & new career opportunities in the space sector in Europe



15:00 - 15:15 (CET)
Introduction: Space. Innovation. Career Opportunities for young professionals.
Keynote speaker Dr. Chiara Manfletti
Senior Advisor at ESA and (formerly) the first president of the Portuguese Space Agency.
15:00 - 15:15 (CET)
15:15 - 15:55 (CET)
Work at international project GIESEPP MP with the aim to boost Europe’s competitiveness in the global satellite market
Cyril Dietz, Ariane Group GmbH
15:15 - 15:55 (CET)
15:55 - 16:15 (CET)
Propellantless spacecraft: seriously? The AETHER Project: how advanced propulsion can reshape the space scenario.
Tommaso Andreussi, Director of SITAEL's EP technology development team
15:55 - 16:15 (CET)
16:15 - 16:30 (CET)
“Switch to Space” a tool to give a clear vision of the numerous domains of space
Dominique Tilmans, The Chair of YouSpace and Switch to space
16:15 - 16:30 (CET)
16:30 - 16:55 (CET)
7 advices to my younger self at university
All experts
16:30 - 16:55 (CET)
16:55 - ... (CET)
Everything you always wanted to know about working in a space company but were afraid to ask
16:55 - ... (CET)

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All about this webinar at a glance

What added value does electric propulsion offer to society and the space community?

What career opportunities does the space industry provide young professionals?

How do international consortia work on innovation projects? ​

No previous knowledge and experience in the field of electric propulsion is needed!

This event has already happened. If you want to get information about the future events organised by GIESEPP MP project subscribe for our newsletter.

This event aims at demonstrating career opportunities for students and young professionals interested in electric propulsion and its various applications.

Within this webinar we will focus on two ongoing EU financed research and innovation projects that could bring a new perspective for various types of satellites as well as space exploration missions. Both projects gather Europe´s most prolific stakeholders in the world of electric space propulsion.

The experts from World’s leading companies and institutions will provide you with their insights, valuable advices and state-of-the-art information about both the technologies they are currently working on and on what it means to work therein.

What´s in for me as a
student or young professional?

Behind the scenes of international projects

Students will get behind the scenes of the full range of space companies and institutions, from global players like Airbus Defence and Space and ArianeGroup to national SMEs, high-specialists like Aerospazio tecnologie and the spearhead of academic research with Justus-Liebig-University.

Up to date with the state-of-the-art developments

You will learn about their current state-of-the-art developments and not the least get a hands-on feedback from those working every day operationally on it – without marketing-BS.

Information directly from experts in the field

It will be the opportunity to ask all questions you always wanted to ask about working in the space community but never dared to until now! You will be able to network with confirmed professionals, re-assess and adjust your career roadmap or even spot some shortcuts for your next step from academia into a career.

Organisers & Participants


Horizon 2020 project GIESEPP MP

The aim of Horizon 2020 project GIESEPP MP is to foster Europe’s competitiveness in the global satellite market, the first European Plug and Play Gridded Ion Engine Standardised Electric Propulsion Platform (GIESEPP), operating ArianeGroup ion engines with the option of alternative thrusters, continues to develop within the GIESEPP MP project funded by the Horizon 2020 framework programme of the European Union. The project aims to continue the developments of the previously funded project GIESEPP (Gridded Ion Engine Standardised Electric Propulsion Platform), which sought to build and test a modular propulsion solution to a technical readiness level of TRL5 (Technology validated in relevant environment) in its different configurations for LEO, GEO and space exploration missions. The restructured consortia will demonstrate and pre-qualify a prototype-like system in a relevant environment.

Free space webinar
Free webinar H2020
Webinar Giesepp MP

Horizon 2020 project AETHER

Very Low Earth Orbits (VLEO, from 160 to 250 km from Earth) are extremely interesting for Earth Observation and null-lag telecommunication missions, but impose severe limitations to spacecrafts since at these heights atmospheric drag is so high it has to be continuously compensated with positive thrust. Air-breathing electric propulsion, often shortened as ABEP or ram-EP, is emerging as a viable concept offering a disruptive approach to overcome the challenge posed by VLEO missions. The AETHER project aims at the early design of a ram-EP thruster, from the intake to the ionisation stage, to the acceleration stage which would counteract atmospheric drag and keep the spacecraft in very Low Earth Orbit. The concept will be demonstrated with a ram-EP prototype operated in a relevant environment, with a particle flow generator able to reproduce the residual atmosphere at about 200 km, to test the system capability in producing a net positive thrust against drag. The seven members of the AETHER consortia are SITAEL, the Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, the University of Surrey, Dedalos, TransMIT, RHP Technology and Astos Solutions.

Switch to Space - The initiative by YouSpace Belgium

Switch to Space

Switch to Space is an initiative organised by Its mission is to set up an active network between students, young professionals and space experts through meetings and events. The aims are to facilitate discussion, advice, coaching, and share the same passion and enthusiasm for the space sector. In 2018, the “Switch to Space” was launched for the first time, an event that gathered more than 50 space professionals – key players to give a clear vision of the numerous space domains, the vast opportunities that can be created by active networking, and to boost the careers. More than 500 students and young professionals attended this event. Thanks to its success, “Switch toSpace 2″ was organised in 2020, which gathered more than 1300 participants from more than 30 countries. The next Switch to Space will be organised in October 2022. Meanwhile, various smaller webinars are held with space industrials to explain their paths, their vision of the future of space, their choice of options if they had to go back to university, the job vacancies in their companies…

Switch to Space


Key note speaker

Dr. Chiara Manflett

Keynote Speaker

Chiara Manfletti has a degree in aeronautical engineering from Imperial College London (2001), a master’s degree in “space studies” from “International Space University” (ISU) in Strasbourg (2002), and a PhD from German University of Aachen (2009). She worked at the French company SNECMA, at the German space agency, DLR, having subsequently joined the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2016, where she has in recent years been an advisor to the Director General at the agency’s headquarters in Paris. Chiara Manfletti was the first President of the Portuguese Space Agency and is now Senior Advisor at ESA.

Cyril Dietz

GIESEPP MP Project Coordinator

Product Line Manager for Electric Propulsion at ArianeGroup GmbH

Cyril Dietz is ArianeGroup´s Product Line Manager for Electric Propulsion. He has been working more than twenty years in program and project management and engineering in various technological domains like space, defense, automation, special machinery. Cyril is PMI-certified Project Management Professional (PMP). At last he was in charge for the development of subassemblies for NASA´s manned space exploration spacecraft ORION MPCV.


Pilar Valles

Test Engineer

M.Sc. Aerospace Engineering, University of Stuttgart
Pilar Valles has already been working for more than 3 years at Ariane Group as development and test engineer in the electric propulsion area, in particular, for the qualification campaign of the RIT2X Neutraliser. He has an extensive experience in other test and qualification campaigns such as the Shape Memory Alloy NC valve.

Director of Institute of Experimental Physics I, Professor

Prof. Peter Klar

Director of Institute of Experimental Physics I, Professor, Head of the EP group

Head of both the Electric Propulsion Group and the Micro and Nanostructure Physics Group at JLU, Head of the Institute of Experimental Physics I., previously Coordinator of the RITSAT project (2012-2015). He took over operations of the Electric Propulsion Group, headed then by Prof. Bruno Meyer, in 2012 and formally took responsibility as the group’s leader in 2014. He was a member of the organizing committee of the International Electric Propulsion Conference 2011 in Wiesbaden, Germany and co-chair of the Russian-German Conference on Electric Propulsion 2018 in Giessen. He is also Vice-Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Materials Research ZfM/LaMa of JLU. He (co)authored about 250 publications in the field of solid-state physics and electric propulsion and is expert in material processing topics with an international reputation.

Dr. Kristof Holste Senior Scientist

Dr. Kristof Holste

Senior Scientist, PhD, laboratory management at JLU Gießen

Senior scientist (permanent position), operations manager of the Electric Propulsion Group. He graduated from JLU in 2006 and obtained his PhD in Physics there in 2012. He is an expert in electron and ion-beam diagnostics, development of particle sources and electron spectroscopy. An atomic physicist by training, he joined the electric propulsion project RITSAT in 2012 working on the physics of the plasma plume, developing an ion-beam diagnostic system facilitating emittance measurements for assessing beam quality. He took over operations of the EP Group in 2014. He (co)authored more than 40 publications in the field of electric propulsion and atomic physics and was organizer of the Russian-German Conference on Electric Propulsion 2018 in Giessen.


Marco Bartali

Test Engineer at AEROSPAZIO Tecnologie s.r.l.

Marco Bartali is a 4 years old Test Engineer at Aerospazio Tecnologie. He graduated from University of Siena in 2017 and started working at Aerospazio Tecnologie the same year. He performed several beam diagnostic and thermal tests on plasma thrusters in Aerospazio’s Vacuum Chambers.

Webinar Space

Tommaso Andreussi

Director of SITAEL’s EP technology development team

He is responsible for the design, development, and qualification of electric propulsion systems and he supervises R&D activities on electric propulsion, with a specific focus on high-power Hall thrusters, air-breathing electric propulsion, and plasma diagnostics. He is the PI of several programmes funded by ESA, ASI, and the European Commission.

Dominique Tilmans from YouSpace

Dominique Tilmans

The Chair of YouSpace

After a career of 27 years in politics, marked by active involvement in the Space sector through chairing the ‘Space group Senate’ and leading the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC), I launched YouSpace in 2014 to link students to Belgian Space experts. I am currently the Chair of EURISY, Board Member of Vitrociset Belgium, Member of the Advisory Board of ESPI and VP of the International Aeronautical Federation.

WIT Berry team

Linda Kimeiša

Webinar moderator

Communication manager at WIT Berry and GIESEPP MP

WIT Berry has worked with leading insurance and telecommunication companies in Latvia where its experts were responsible for web content analysis, development of website concept as well as content strategy and copywriting for different markets. For the last few years WIT Berry has been actively involved in different activities, projects and events in the space sector. For example, the company has participated in the Horizon 2020 project HATCH, had ensured all the communication and marketing activities for space event in Belgium called Switch to Space has consulted space companies in Netherlands, Luxembourg and Estonia.

Background information about Electric Propulsion (EP)

Electric propulsion is currently considered by all space actors as a key and revolutionary technology for the next generations of commercial and scientific satellites. This increasing interest is associated with massive mass savings, lower costs, improved efficiency, as well as lower pollution.

Giesepp mp project

Electric propulsion offers major improvements in fuel efficiency, enabling dramatic weight and volume savings which leads to significantly lower launch costs.

Gridded Ion Engine