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The Space Generation Advisory Council is a global non-governmental, non-profit (US 501(c)3) organisation and network which aims to represent university students and young space professionals to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia.



28 February, 2017

One of the main missions of SGAC is to facilitate access to space conferences and workshops for students and young professionals. SGAC, in cooperation with the ISS Crew Fund, organised the 2017 ISS Crew Fund Scholarship that enabled five outstanding SGAC members to attend the 2nd European Space Generation Workshop in Paris, France.

Meet the winners below!


Marc Rovira (Spain)

From the moment he saw the Space Shuttle lift-off while living in Miami, Marc Rovira knew his life was going to revolve around space. He studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bath, UK, where he also got his Master’s degree. He then got a full-tuition scholarship from the European Institute of Technology to study a Master’s in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from ESADE, one of the world’s top business schools. He has two major passions: Space and startups. He has worked in two innovation consultancies, helped several startups in business design and value creation, and is now the business developer and communications manager at Zero 2 Infinity, a Spanish space company developing space tourism as well as a dedicated nano satellite launcher.


“Receiving the ISS Crew Fund Scholarship is an honor. Knowing that the ISS Crew Fund is founded on the international cooperation for the peaceful exploration of Space between formerly competing nations makes it even more special. Thank you.”


Daria Stepanova (Russia)

Daria is a young professional working in German Orbital Systems Company in Berlin. Currently she works on Cubesat systems development. Previously she earned a master’s degrees at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Space Systems Management and at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in Mathematical Modelling. During her studies, Daria also worked on developing satellites and satellite kits. She has dedicated her life to space engineering, and her biggest research interest belongs to laser communications between small satellites and, more specifically, on pointing and tracking issues. Besides her research and academic activities, Daria is participating in Stanford US-Russia Forum where her team is investigating the potential collaborations in between universities; and participating in the OpenSpaceware initiative, which develops an open source approach for nano satellites design. She is also a beach volleyball player and really enjoy traveling and meeting new people.


“That is a true honour to hold the ISS crew scholarship. It gives me the confidence that my view and my ideas about human space flight go in the right direction. I appreciate the support deeply and I will proudly display it with honor.”


Ian Benecken (Germany)

Ian attended the launch of Alexander Gerst, Reid Wiseman, Maxim Suraev in person in Baikonur, completed an internship at EAC with the EUROCOM flight control team, is very active on social media as a spacetweep to support the human spaceflight program while studying aerospace engineering at FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences where he is a project member, flight controller and responsible for outreach of the COMPASS 2 DragSail team that plans to launch a cubesat satellite into space to research new ways of minimizing space debris. He hopes to join the European flight controllers that support human spaceflight once he finished his studies. He dreams about being part of the team that will bring humans back to the moon.


“After following International Space Station operations with great passion now for over 10 years winning this ISS crew fund scholarship is a huge honor for me.”


Yuri Shimane (Japan)

Yuri Shimane is Japanese student currently studying Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London. He has been passionate about aeroplanes and space since he was young, and decided on pursuing this as a profession during one of his first mechanics classes in high school. Recently at university, he has been working on designing a two-stage model rocket and a longer-term CubeSat project. During his childhood, Yuri lived mostly in Paris, but also in Tokyo and Tel Aviv, growing up speaking French, Japanese, and English. He use to play a lot of tennis, and is passionate about music, both classical and jazz/rock. Yuri enjoy playing the piano and the guitar.


“I see this as an opportunity as well as a challenge, to make myself most useful for everyone at the workshop but also to push myself in taking more initiative than I would normally do.”


Zoe Townsend (United Kingdom)

Zoe Townsend is studying Aerospace Engineering on the Design specialist route at the University of West England, Bristol. She is in her final year of MEng, specialising in structural analysis for composites. She is part of UWE’s UKSED’s branch. The society has been involved in a variety of competitions, such as, the UKURC (Rover Challenge) and UKSEDS rocket competition. She has organised composite manufacturing workshops for SES which will help towards the development of a hybrid rocket. She attended the first SGAC European Student Workshop in Padua, Italy in 2015; where she also assisted with the delegate team. Zoe has been involved in a variety of projects whilst at university, most notably a collaboration with Airbus Filton creating a Human Powered Aircraft.


“Winning the scholarship is a wonderful achievement and I am very grateful to have been selected for the scholarship. I look forward to attending the 2nd Space Generation Workshop in Paris, France and meeting everyone.”


ISS Crew Fund

 In 2014 the Westphalian Peace Price had been awarded to the crews of the International Space Station (ISS) to honour their international cooperation for the peaceful exploration of Space. In awarding the prize, special notion had been given to the fact that formerly competing nations have found a way to join their forces and build and operate the largest technical project in Space - the ISS. The prize ceremony took place in the German town of Muenster, North-Rhine Westpahalia, where in the presence of Federal Secretary of State, Mr. Steinmeier, and other local, state, and federal politicians the former ISS crew members Thomas Reiter, ESA/Europe, Michael Lopez-Allegria, NASA/USA, and Pawel Vinogradov, RoscosmosEnergia/Russia were presented with the symbol of the prize, a sculpture representing the heraldic horse of Westphalia. The associated prize money and other such ISS prizes now form the ISS Crew Fund and are kept in an escrow account under the custody of the Association of Space Explorers - Europe. The money is intended to be used to provide opportunities of international cooperation also for the next generations of young space professionals and foster international cooperation for peaceful research and exploration of Space. Decisions are taken by a board composed of astronauts.

SGAC would like to thank to ISS Crew Fund for their support!


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