IDL Francis A. Cucinotta SA, Radiobiology, Radiation and Why They Matter for Space Research and Exploration AEDT 07:15 - 08:00 and AEDT 18:15 – 19:00
BLOCK 1 Virtual Scientific Sessions AEDT 08:00 - 11:00 and BLOCK 2 AEDT 19:00 – 22:00
IDL Francis A. Cucinotta SA, Radiobiology, Radiation and Why They Matter for Space Research and Exploration AEDT 07:15 - 08:00 and AEDT 18:15 – 19:00
BLOCK 1 Virtual Scientific Sessions AEDT 08:00 - 11:00 and BLOCK 2 AEDT 19:00 – 22:00

Local Organising Committee

Professor Russell Boyce

Chair for Space Engineering at UNSW Canberra and Chair COSPAR 2020

Professor Russell Boyce holds the position of Chair for Space Engineering at UNSW Canberra, where he leads the UNSW Canberra Space Research effort. He brings to this role a research approach developed throughout 25 years in the field of hypersonics, coupling computational and experimental research with flight testing, most recently via the SCRAMSPACE scramjet flight experiment program which he led as Chair for Hypersonics at the University of Queensland. Read more.

Professor Boyce also chairs the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Space and Radio Science, sits on the Executive Council of the Space Industry Association of Australia and is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Professor Iver Cairns

University of Sydney, COSPAR 2020 International Program Committee Chair

Prof. Cairns received his PhD from the University of Sydney (Australia) in 1987. He worked at the University of Iowa (1986-1998) before taking up a prestigious 5-year Senior Research Fellowship at the University of Sydney, one of only 20 awarded over all research fields. In 2004 he was awarded a similarly competitive Australian Professorial Fellowship and in 2009 was appointed Professor in Space Physics (Teaching & Research) at U. Sydney. Read more.

Prof. Cairns has over 240 refereed papers published or in press in books and journals, a Hirsch index of over 28, given over 3 plenary and 75 invited papers at international conferences and obtained over US$7 M in competitive funding (excluding spacecraft projects) from Australian and US funding agencies. He has great experience leading international and national scientific societies (e.g., AOGS, the International Association for Geomagnetism and Aeronomy [IAGA] and the Australian Institute of Physics's Solar Terrestrial and Space Physics [STSP] Group).

He is Australia's national representative to both the ICSU Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and IAGA. Nationally Prof. Cairns is the past Chair (2005-2011) of the Australian Academy of Science's National Committee for Space Science. As such he led the development of Australia's first Decadal Plan in space science, published by the Academy of Science in 2010. He also played a major role in the joint Academy's Strategic Plan for Earth Observation from Space, released in late 2009.

Prof. Cairns is a clear leader of Australia's space science community, writing submissions to multiple Government reviews and entities in the last several years which together with the Decadal and Strategic Plans have led to Australia's Government making space science a major priority and focus since May 2009. He has also led the development of a professional level annual Australian Space Science Conference from 2007.

Emeritus Professor Fred Menk

Physics, University of Newcastle and Chair, National Committee for Space and Radio Science

Fred Menk is Emeritus Professor of space physics at the University of Newcastle and chair of the Academy of Science National Committee for Space and Radio Science. His research interests focus on the physics of near-Earth space, related instrumentation and improving radiation treatment of cancers. Read more.

He has served in a range of academic and international research leadership roles, authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications in space science and medical physics and mentored over 30 PhD students. He is joint recipient of two Engineers Australia excellence awards and project managed development of the NewMag payload on the FedSat spacecraft. He served as Education Program manager in the Cooperative Research Centre for Satellite Systems and has convened numerous international symposia and national outreach events.

Dr Scott Sleap

Project Leader STEM Industry School Partnerships Program

Dr Scott Sleap is regarded as a visionary educator – in 2018, he was the first Technology teacher to win the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence for Secondary Science Teaching. As an educational leader with over 20 years’ experience he has had various roles related to the primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors as well as industry workforce development. Read more.

In 2020 Dr Sleap was recognised with a prestigious National Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award. In 2019 he was also a finalist as teacher of the year at the Australian Education Awards. He has been inducted as one of only three national patrons of the Australian Design and Technology Teachers Association (DATA) and in 2019 Dr Sleap was appointed as a Cyber Security Ambassador for the NSW Cyber Security Network.

Dr Sleap has a strong interest in Space Industries and is currently part of the advisory committee for the NSW Government's Space Industry Development Strategy. He is also on the organising committee for the 43rd COSPAR Scientific Congress where he is organising one of the world’s most prestigious Space Education conference.

He is currently employed by the NSW Department of Education as the leader of the STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) program which is now a blueprint for hundreds of schools across the state. The SISP program is a highly regarded initiative winning a NSW Secretary’s Award for Excellence in 2019 among other honours.

Formally the Director of an internationally recognised workforce development program, funding by Department of Defence, Dr Sleap has built a reputation as being a leading expert in school – industry partnerships and workforce development. In 2019 he led the development of the STEMship program that has been identified as world’s best-practice by the OECD.

Experienced in the tertiary education sector Dr Sleap is currently a Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Newcastle. He is also a seasonal lecturer for the School of Engineering, delivering postgraduate STEM courses. He has been responsible for the development and implementation of numerous STEM-based secondary, vocational and University courses.

Dr Sleap completed his PhD in Engineering in 2015 after achieving a research scholarship in 2010. He has worked extensively with the Department of Defence and international businesses such as; IBM, Google, Boeing, BAE Systems, BlueScope, and WesTrac. In 2017 Dr Sleap and the BAE System’s team were recognised for their achievements in workforce development with a global BAE Systems Chairman’s Award.

Imogen Rea

Past President Australian Youth Aerospace Association Inc and COSPAR 2021 STEM Chair

Imogen is currently an Assistant Manager within the Cyber Security Reform and Critical Technologies Team at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. Previously, she worked on the landmark Satellite Based Augmentation System as an Engineer at Geoscience Australia, and as a project coordinator on a test-bed of the system at FrontierSI. Read more.

Imogen has a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering, is currently undertaking a Master of Systems Engineering (Space Systems) and was President of the Australian Youth Aerospace Association (AYAA) in 2016-17. Alongside her work she is a passionate advocate for women in STEM, having been awarded for contributions at Geoscience Australia and Monash University. She is also an Expert Working Group member for the Decadal Plan for Australian Space Science.

Christopher Capon

Research Fellow, UNSW CANBERRA 2021 STEM

Having helped develop UNSW Canberra Space from 4 to 50+ people and been involved in the design, planning and operation of multiple on-orbit next-gen capability demonstrators, Chris has expert insights into future space capabilities. Chris combines these insights with strong communication and leadership skills to align research and technology development to meet the needs of real people. Chris is an enthusiastic STEM advocate, with experience organizing, managing and running STEM outreach activities for a range of groups (e.g. AYAA, YMCA, YoWIE) and providing input to activities and exhibits for groups such as Questacon. Chris’s underlying motivation being to help build a vibrant Australian space industry. Read more.

Current Projects:

  • High-fidelity GPU-accelerated modelling of complex space systems
  • Ionospheric Aerodynamics for Active Satellite Control
  • Synthetic augmentation of data-limited systems to enhance learning-assisted inference/anomaly detection capabilities.
  • Reinforcement-learning optimized satellite constellations/swarms.
  • Development of flight hardware integrated digital twin systems for microsatellite platforms

Upcoming Projects:

  • Satellite Guided Herbicide Biodiscovery

Available Codes:

  • pdFOAM – A PIC-DSMC code for modelling near-Earth space environment interactions.

Codes Under Development:

  • rayMAN – A GPU-accelerated tool for modelling complex space systems (aerodynamics, solar radiation pressure, power availability, optical sensors, thermal transfer, laser links).
  • Cynthia – GPU-accelerated orbit propagator for rapid modelling of complex scenarios.

For more information on how to get involved with these projects, contact Chris at

Mary Snitch

Senior Staff, Global S&T Organizations, Enterprise Transformation, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Her 30-year professional career includes ten years at the U.S. Department of State and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. She joined the private aerospace sector In 1983 with TRW and in 1985 joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA as Manager, Legislative and International Affairs. Mary returned to Washington in 1990 to join Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Mary Snitch Is an impactful contributor to the aerospace and STEM education community. She actively serves on Committees of the Board for the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the University of Maryland Aerospace Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. Read more.

She is an elected Full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and a Corporate Member of the International Astronautical Federation. Mary serves on the Board of Future Space Leaders and represents Lockheed Martin on the Local Organizing Committees for IAC 2017, IAC 2019 and the COSPAR Scientific Assembly 2018.

Mary received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from George Mason University and her Masters of Business Administration in Business, Economics and Public Policy from George Washington University. She completed LMC Executive Leadership Training at Claremont College in Claremont, CA and at Emory University, Atlanta, GA. She and her husband, Dr. Thomas Snitch, an international consultant, live in Bethesda, Maryland.

David Ball

Regional Director Australia New Zealand Lockheed Martin Space

Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, David was the Chief Executive Officer of the Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) and has held leadership roles in the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) for more than a decade, culminating in his current tenure as Chair, SIAA.

With over 25 years of experience in the space, communications and defence sectors David has spent a significant portion of his career specialising in satellite communications. Holding senior positions with several commercial satellite communications operators, including Intelsat and PanAmSat, David’s previous roles encompassed sales management, business development, customer service engineering, space systems design and spacecraft and launch vehicle acquisition. Read more.

David has also had significant involvement in satellite frequency coordination activities, spacecraft insurance placement and capital raise processes and has led communications projects for the Australian Department of Defence (through Envista Pty Ltd).

Earlier in his career David was an electronics engineering officer in the Royal Australian Air Force and was responsible for the engineering management of Defence communications systems with his final posting focused on military satellite communications systems.

David holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree (Communications Engineering) and a Graduate Diploma in Business Management and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Mark Cheung

Astro- and Heliophysicist, Lockheed Martin Space

Dr. Mark Cheung is a Senior Staff Physicist at Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California. His scientific investigations take place at the intersection of research themes connecting the Sun with Earth, magnetic fields with plasmas and machine learning with space physics. He is the Principal Investigator for the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly ( on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (, which has been monitoring the Sun since 2010. Read more.

Mark is an advisor for Frontier Development Lab, where machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques are applied to accelerate space science discovery and exploration. Previously, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University and a Visiting Associate Professor at National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. Originally from Hong Kong, Mark grew up in Australia, studied physics at the University of Adelaide and carried out graduate research at the University of Göttingen and Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany.

Official COSPAR 2021 Merchandise

You will want to grab the official t-shirt of the first ever Virtual Assembly in the history of COSPAR.

Space Agency Leaders’ Round Table

Missed the Space Agency Leaders’ Round Table live? You can now download and view the recording.

COSPAR 2021 Assembly Week

See the whole weeks’ program at a glance. Commencing Friday 28th January 2021.

COSPAR 2020 Awards Extended Interviews

View the extended interview videos of all Awardees here.

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