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So you want to build a space business?

The space industry is changing faster than ever, with new technologies and lower launch costs democratizing access to space and driving a new era of innovation. The opportunities to build the next great business are seemingly endless, but space can be a difficult and unforgiving place, especially for those new to the domain. This session will feature practical insights and advice from experienced space leaders for entrepreneurs looking to get their business off the ground.


Natalya Bailey —  Founder & CTO, Accion Systems

Natalya Bailey is the CTO and co-founder of Accion Systems, a company providing in-space propulsion for spacecraft. An Oregon native, Natalya moved to Cambridge to complete her doctorate in space propulsion at MIT with a focus on a novel ion engine technology. Prior to MIT, she researched a new chemical rocket technology during her MS at Duke University. She is a partner at XFactor Ventures, investing in female-founded companies, and is on the board of Youth CITIES, a non-profit that teaches entrepreneurship and STEM skills to diverse youth cohorts. In her free time she enjoys traveling with her husband and three children, and completing Python katas on Codewars.

Steve Isakowitz — President & CEO, The Aerospace Corporation

Steve Isakowitz is President and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, where he leads a team of about 4,000 employees committed to solving the hardest problems in space. Aerospace is a national nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center addressing complex problems across the space enterprise focused on agility, innovation, and objective technical leadership. Over the course of his more than 30-year career, Isakowitz has served in prominent roles across the government, private, space, and technology sectors, including at NASA, U.S. Department of Energy, and the White House Office of Management and Budget. Prior to joining Aerospace, he was President of Virgin Galactic, where his responsibilities included the development of privately-funded launch systems, advanced technologies, and other new space applications.

Robbie Schingler — Chief Strategy Officer, Planet

Robbie Schingler is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Planet. In the eight years since founding Planet with two former NASA alumni, Robbie has led the company’s long term strategy that has included three acquisitions and business growth that currently serves more than 30,000 users and 500 customers, in over 40 countries. Prior to Planet, Robbie spent nine years at NASA, where he helped build the Small Spacecraft Office at NASA Ames and was Capture Manager for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Robbie later served as NASA’s Open Government Representative to the White House and Chief of Staff for the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA He received an MBA from Georgetown University, a masters degree in Space Studies from the International Space University, and a B.S. in Physics from Santa Clara University. Robbie was a 2005 Presidential Management Fellow.