Merel Vergaaij – 2019 Winner
Merel Vergaaij is a PhD student in Space and Exploration Technologies at the University of Glasgow.
She holds a BSc (Aerospace Engineering) and MSc (Space Exploration) from Delft University of Technology. Her PhD focuses on the integration of economic modelling and trajectory optimization to assess the profitability of Near-Earth Asteroid mining. During her MSc, she became passionate about solar sailing, and she has used part of the WIA-E grant to present her work on the comparison of high-thrust and solar-sail propulsion for Near-Earth Asteroid mining at the 5th International Symposium on Solar Sailing. In addition, she presented her work on the influence of the payload capacity and cost of launch vehicles on the profitability of asteroid mining at the 18th Reinventing Space Conference.