Empowering all Women, in Space and on Earth

Interview: Charlotte Mathieu, European Centre for Space Economy and Commerce (ECSECO)

Recently, Women In Aerospace – Europe sat down with Charlotte Mathieu, Head of the Industrial Policy and Space Economy Division at the European Space Agency, to chat about her path within the aerospace sector and to find out more about her work within the European Centre for Space Economy and Commerce (ECSECO). Read on to find out more about her amazing career!

WIA-E: What specific personal experiences, values, or events inspired your deep involvement and commitment to the field of aerospace? Could you highlight some pivotal moments or experiences that shaped your path?

Charlotte Mathieu: As a child I wanted to become a pilot and that is how I entered the aerospace world. I took my first flying lessons with my uncle when I was 13 and got my private pilot licence when I was 18.

During my studies in aerospace engineering, I had the chance to discover the space industry and the passion of the people working in it during an internship with Arianegroup. My professional journey in space started then and for the past 20 years, I only worked in this sector. This first experience also confirmed the importance of interdisciplinarity and led me to study economics and technology policy later on.

In terms of pivotal experience, studying for two years in Sweden was also a very rich and important experience, which led me to seek an international environment in my professional and personal life.

I have now been working at ESA for 15 years in different positions, in which I have used my interdisciplinary background, today as Head of the Industrial Policy and Space Economy Division.

WIA-E: Can you provide a brief overview of the ECSECO’s activities and mission for our members who may not be familiar with it?

CM: Drawing on the successful experience of the European Centre for Space Law, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher established the European Centre for Space Economy and Commerce (ECSECO) in 2022.

The main objective of ECSECO is to provide a European platform for interdisciplinary discussions and research on space economy and commerce and create vibrant community which fosters European collaboration towards the further development of the space sector.

Interdisciplinarity lies at the heart of ECSECO. ECSECO connects individuals from various professional backgrounds, e.g, economists, businesspeople, engineers, scientists and lawyers, from the private sector, public institutions, international organisations and academia.

The main objectives of ECSECO are:

  • To promote the development of space economy and commerce in Europe
  • To encourage interdisciplinary exchanges
  • To encourage research on space economy and commerce
  • To provide for exchange of information and ideas

The activities of ECSECO include:

  • Monthly online networking sessions with high-level speakers
  • Spring School on commercialization and start-ups
  • Annual space economy days
  • Thematic workshops
  • Co-organization of events, such as the Commercial Space Days held in Luzern in September 2023

WIA-E: In your view, what are the most pressing challenges or opportunities facing ECSECO or the aerospace sector?

CM: The aerospace sector is going through a major transformation.

Two of the key challenges of the sector are :

  • the development of flourishing and competitive commercial space activities
  • a better understanding of the space economy and of the socio-economic impacts of space activities

ECSECO intends to address these two challenges in Europe and to bring together the community interested in developing and shaping space economy and commerce in Europe.

WIA-E: Can you highlight any ongoing or upcoming initiatives that our members might find particularly interesting or relevant?

CM: The upcoming events will include:

  • Online Networking Session with Diane Howard on 9 December 2023

Diane Howard, Director of Commercial Space Policy at the National Space Council in the Executive Office of the President of the United States will be joining us from Washington. Ms Howard‚Äôs talk will cover the topic of ‚ÄúMultiple Aspects of Commercial Space in the United States‚ÄĚ.

  • ECSECO General Meeting in Vienna, Austria on 1 December 2023

At the General Meeting, the members examine the orientation of the Centre’s activities and questions related to the future of the Centre and elect the members of the Board. The meeting also offers plenty of opportunity for networking and engagement

  • Annual Space Economy Days, ESA Headquarters, Paris on 16 and 17 January 2024

This event is an exclusive opportunity for members to engage in a reflective exploration of space economy trends and research areas, marking the commencement of an annual tradition to foster learning and discourse within the ECSECO community.

WIA-E: How can individuals or businesses interested in supporting or getting involved with ECSECO do so?

CM: European citizens can join ECSECO and its interdisciplinary network which connects individuals from the private sector, public institutions, international organisations and academia, and fosters European collaboration toward the further development of the space sector.

ECSECO members can:

  • Participate in a variety of exclusive events
  • Collaborate with experts from different backgrounds
  • Contribute to space economy research
  • Influence the development of the sector

Members are of the essence to ECSECO and the key driver that makes the Centre thrive. Members play a key role in the decision-making process and activities of ECSECO.

You are eligible for membership in ECSECO if you are a citizen of one of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

To become a member of ECSECO, there is an annual membership fee.

Professionals – 50 ‚ā¨ / year

Students – 20 ‚ā¨ / year

WIA-E: How do the activities and initiatives of ECSECO align with or contribute to the promotion of gender equity, and in what ways do you see potential opportunities for collaboration or synergy with the goals of Women In Aerospace Europe in this regard?

CM:¬†ECSECO’s mission of fostering a vibrant European platform for interdisciplinary discussions and research on space economy and commerce aligns with Women in Aerospace’s (WIA) commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the aerospace community. The holistic approach of ECSECO complements WIA’s goals, setting the stage for fruitful collaborations and mutual growth.

Potential areas of Collaboration could include:

  • Joint Events: Organizing combined conferences or workshops.
  • Mentoring Initiatives: Tailoring ECSECO’s future mentoring programs to uplift young women in aerospace.
  • Networking Opportunities: Merging WIA’s networking events with ECSECO’s platform, creating a wider and more diverse networking base for members

WIA-E: How can our members stay updated on the latest news and developments from ECSECO, such as events, publications, or social media channels?

CM: 

Visit our website: Home – ECSECO

Follow us on:

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/european-centre-for-space-economy-and-commerce/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@ecsecospace

X (Twitter): https://twitter.com/ECSECOspace

Or contact the secretariat with any questions you may have: ecseco@esa.int

 

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