ESA Helps Start-ups Reach for the Stars

PARIS (ESA PR) — Four entrepreneurial small companies have won the chance to learn from senior figures at ESA and satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space, following an ESA-backed competition.

ESA is boosting the commercialisation of space by helping entrepreneurs to gain access to large manufacturers and to share expertise.

Representatives from nine start-up companies pitched their space-based ideas to the manufacturer during a recent event. They received one-to-one expert feedback on becoming a partner, supplier or client to Thales Alenia Space.


Géraldine Naja Takes Over as ESA’s Director of Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement

Geraldine Naja (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Géraldine Naja took up duty as Director of Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement (D/CIP), based at ESA Headquarters in Paris, on 1 November 2021.

From France, Ms Naja has 30-year experience in the European space sector in managerial and strategy development positions.

She graduated from the French École Polytechnique with a degree in engineering and then from École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées (ENSTA) with a Masters degree in propulsion and chemistry. She also has a Masters degree in political sciences from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po).

She joined ESA in 1987 as a Payload Operations Engineer in the Space Station Directorate. She then served in various corporate and programmatic functions across the Agency between 1993 and 2015, including Head of Long-term Space Policy Office, Head of Strategic and Institutional Matters in the ESA Director General’s Cabinet, Head of EU Relations Office, and Senior Advisor to the Director of Launchers. She was also seconded from ESA for one year (2003-4) as Advisor for the Cabinet of the French Minister of Research and Higher Education.

Before her latest appointment, Ms Naja was Head of the ESA’s Industrial Policy and Audit Department since 2015. She served as acting Director when the new Directorate of Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement was created in May 2021, in response to the Director General’s Agenda 2025 for the future development of ESA, with commercialisation as one of its strategic priorities. 

She is responsible for elaborating and implementing ESA’s industrial policy, the Agency’s procurement rules and policies, and conducting negotiations and managing procurement for all activities and programmes, as well as enabling and boosting European space commercialisation ambitions through innovative tools.

ESA Names First Director of Commercialization, Fills Earth Observation & Navigation Posts

Europe and the Mediterranean Basin as seen from the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) flown on board ERS-2 , the second European Remote-sensing Satellite of ESA. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As of today, ESA has appointed three new Directors – for Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement, Earth Observation Programmes and Navigation. The new Directors were appointed by ESA Council at its meeting on 21 October; they will support the Director General with responsibility for activities and overall objectives in their respective directorates.


Putting Earth Observation into ‘the Market Perspective’

GOES-16 full disk GeoColor image from October 16, 2019. GeoColor is an RGB that approximates what the human eye would see from space. (Credit: NOAA/CIRA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — With a boom in the global market for Earth observation information and data products, participants at this year’s Φ-week conference have been digging deep into the ‘market perspective’. This important topic includes how to gain a better understanding of what governments, industry, the public and other users of Earth observation products and services need and expect to create value for society and the economy.