Women Driving Innovation in Space

March 17, 2022 12:30 PM EST to 2:00 PM EST

Join NBSE and AIAA for a dynamic discussion on Women Driving Innovation in Space.

Opening Remarks for Women's History Month

In celebration of Women’s History Month, join NSBE Aerospace Special Interest Group in collaboration with AIAA for this special webinar featuring Women in Driving Innovation in the Space industry. The panel will offer a deep dive into their perspective and approach to propelling the industry into the next frontier while sharing insight into how industry innovations are disrupting the status quo of space policy and business. The opening remarks for Women's History Month will be presented by Enanga Daisy Fale, NSBE Aerospace SIG Director.

Enanga Daisy Fale

NSBE Aerospace SIG

Women Driving Innovation in Space Panel

Julie Van Kleeck


Julie Van Kleeck is the Space Domain Lead and the ASCEND Executive Producer at AIAA. In 2019, she retired from Aerojet Rocketdyne as the vice president of the Space and Launch Propulsion Business Unit.  

Julie joined Aerojet Rocketdyne in 1981 as a systems engineer. She specialized in system design and system architectures and was the Chief Systems Engineer on several first-generation missile defense systems such as the Advanced Liquid Axial Stage (ALAS) and Brilliant Pebbles. Many of the technologies pioneered on those systems are still in use in today’s missile defense systems. She was recognized at Aerojet, GenCorp, and the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) office for her contributions to first-generation missile defense systems. 

Later, in the company’s Space business area, she played pivotal strategy, capture, and program management roles prior to moving into executive management. She worked on many satellite, spacecraft and launch vehicle propulsion programs, always working to advance the state of the art of propulsion technology while maintaining focus on mission success. Some of her key accomplishments include managing the Atlas V solid rocket motor program that developed and qualified the solid rockets that powered the Pluto New Horizons Mission; leading the Electric Propulsion Development Organization responsible for developing Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) electric propulsion that revolutionized satellite propulsion; and delivery of the nation’s next-generation human space propulsion systems such as the Orion and RS25 for SLS.    

Throughout her career she worked with DoD, NASA, and commercial customers on efforts to advance launch and in-space propulsion and materials and manufacturing technologies. She is widely known in the aerospace community and has held leadership roles in numerous industry organizations, including AIAA, the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (CDSE), Powerhouse Science Center, and the SLS/Orion industry coalition. She also has been a champion throughout her career for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Women in Aerospace (WIA), being a leader—both internally through Women in Network (WIN) and externally—through numerous industry groups such as WIA and the California Assembly task force on STEM, as well as working with local junior high and high schools. She is an AIAA Fellow.

Patricia Bouknight-Hamilton  

Northrop Grumman Corporation

Patricia Bouknight-Hamilton currently serves as the Space, Strategic, and Targets Market Segment Manager for Northrop Grumman Corporation.

In this role, she has top-level responsibility for program execution of various solid rocket motors and ancillary hardware utilized for space, strategic, and missile targets applications. Patricia leads a team of program managers that assure customer requirements, business needs, schedule, profit, and loss targets are met. She provides leadership and direction for a portfolio of 40+ programs that range from new design and development efforts to long-term follow-on production contracts. Her team provides innovative systems, products, and solutions that support NASA, the US Armed Forces, and our allies.

Simultaneously serving as Program Excellence leader for NGC Weapons Systems Division. Patricia partners with leaders across the company to support Program Managers by fostering a learning environment and elevating technical excellence while identifying methods for improving program execution and business impact.

Shelli Brunswick

Space Foundation 

Shelli Brunswick, COO of Space Foundation, brings a broad perspective and deep vision of the global space ecosystem — from a distinguished career as a space acquisition and program management leader and congressional liaison for the U.S. Air Force to her current role overseeing Space Foundation's three primary divisions: Center for Innovation and Education, Symposium 365, and Global Alliance.

Advocating for space technology innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion, Shelli collaborates with organizations around the world to connect commercial, government and educational sectors. Shelli was named the 2021 Global Technology Leader and the 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Role Model of the Year Award by WomenTech Network.

Shelli plays an active leadership role with United Nations Space4Women, WomenTech Network, Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) Global Women Leaders Committee (GWLC), G100 Global Chair for Space Technology, New York University, Global Policy Insights – Global Policy, Diplomacy and Sustainability (GPODS) Fellowship program, Global Policy Insights -- Quad Forum, Space Tourism Society Africa, Tod'Aérs, Lifeboat Foundation, America’s Future Series, Women’s Global Gathering, Manufacturer’s Edge, and Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC.

Michelle Hanlon 

The University of Mississippi

National Space Society

For All Moonkind,Inc

Michelle is a Co-Director of the Center for Air and Space Law and an instructor of aviation and space law. Michelle received her B.A. in Political Science from Yale College and her J.D. magna cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center. She earned her LL.M in Air and Space Law from McGill University where the focus of her research was commercial space and the intersection of commerce and public law.

Prior to focusing on aviation — including uncrewed aircraft — and space law, Michelle was engaged in a private business law practice. Her legal career commenced with the restructuring of sovereign debt for a number of South and Latin American countries and evolved into the negotiation and implementation of cross-border technology mergers and acquisitions. Her subsequent solo practice advised entrepreneurs across four continents on all aspects of bringing their innovative ideas to market: from basic corporate formation to financings and buyouts.

Michelle is a Co-Founder and the President of For All Moonkind, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that is the only organization in the world focused on protecting human cultural heritage in outer space. For All Moonkind has been recognized by the United Nations as a Permanent Observer to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Michelle is the President of the National Space Society and is on the Advisory Board of several start-ups involved in commercial space activities including orbital debris removal, remote sensing and the support of lunar resource extraction.  Michelle is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Space Law and the Faculty Advisor for the Journal of Drone Law and Policy.

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