Article by Suresh Venkatesh, Laura González Llamazares, and Saeed Al Mansoori
Rapid innovations in space technology require smart and immediate adaptation. This can be achieved by harnessing and grooming the young talents of today who will be the stakeholders of tomorrow. Young Professionals (YP) in Space, is a technical program conceived in the year 2016 with a dream of achieving this exact goal. This article highlights and recaps some of the success stories of this program, including the recently held YP event in Dubai, UAE, during November 2019.
Traditionally, satellites and related space technologies mainly found their application in remote sensing, security, and direct-to-home broadcast services. With the burgeoning quest for high-speed data access, high-tech conglomerates have started to look up to the skies. The main players in space technology like SpaceX, Amazon, and OneWeb are investing heavily on space internet infrastructure and megaconstellations consisting of both Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites . This potential trillion dollar market invariably requires innovations from varied aspects of science and engineering fields namely: chemical sciences for efficient rocket fuels, electrical engineering for modern communication systems, mechanical/aerospace engineering for novel propulsion systems, and so on. To understand and meet these challenges, YP in space was conceived by Dr. Tushar Sharma in 2016 (shown in Fig.1). The main motto of this program is to bring the world renowned experts from different fields of space technology and young professionals from all over the world under one umbrella . These experts share their experiences and train the young professionals. YP in Space has completed three successful events in Bangalore (India 2017), Barcelona (Spain 2018), and Dubai (UAE 2019) so far. Until few years back, the space sector was perceived to be extremely closely knit and dominated by a few countries. However, some of the innovations and breakthroughs are currently being led by young professionals from different nationalities including from developing countries. This is evident in the kind of startups that are spawning in this area. This in turn has led to the opening up and democratization of the space sector.
Fig. 1. Tushar Sharma (right), the founder and chair of YP in Space being felicitated by Eng. Saeed Al Mansoori (left) from Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre at the Dubai 2019 YP event.
Fig.2. Dubai, UAE-2019 event