WIA-Europe Symposium in Bremen

"The future of space activities in Europe: Business and Research on the ISS" was the theme of this year's Women in Aerospace Europe (WIA-E) Symposium recently hosted by Airbus Defence and Space at its Bremen site and organized by WIA-Europe board members Claudia Kessler of HE Space Operations and Lesley Jane Smith of the Leuphana University Lüneburg Law School.

On April 30th, around 80 aerospace professionals gathered to discuss about the challenges which the future holds for the space business. Guest of honour, Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary State Secretary from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and Coordinator for Aerospace of the Federal Government of Germany, stressed that there have to be equal opportunities for both men and women. Airbus DS Bremen Head of Site, Bart Reijnen, stated that "Airbus DS has already seen an increasing number of women in management positions, but we still have a long way to go. At recruitment on entry level, we are on track, but at management level, we still have to do our homework and increase the number of women in senior management positions."

Participants of the first panel were also Jana Rosenmann, SVP, Head of Strategy & Marketing Airbus Defence and Space and Dr. Fritz Merkle, Management Board Member of OHB System AG. The panellists discussed the need for a new mind-set in the currently conservative space business, supporting start-ups and encouraging disruptive innovation.

After the lunch break, a second panel gathered to talk about research on the International Space Station. Moderated by Dr. Andrea Böse of the DLR, the participants offered a detailed insight into the experiments conducted on board the ISS and their benefit for mankind. Dr Anna Maria Liphardt, formerly with the German Sports Academy (Sporthochschule Köln), now University of Erlangen, together with Dr Thu Jennifer Ngo-Angh, Head of Human Research Unit, Directorate of Human Spaceflight Operations, ESA, talked about the effects of space flight on the human body and how research on the ISS can considerably advance developments in modern medicine.

Helmut Luttmann, VP Head of Operations and Missions Airbus DS, gave an insight into space station operations and the building of the experiments. All agreed in confirming that the space station must be kept beyond 2024, particularly to continue ground breaking research and to use the experience of the space station to build new orbital outposts in space.

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Vision: A European aerospace sector with a balanced representation of women on all levels.