1st IAA Conference on Space Situational Awareness

Nov. 13-15, 2017

Keynote Presenters

Moriba K. Jah 
Director, Space Object Behavioral Sciences
Aerospace Engineer and Astrodynamicist

Moriba Jah, director of the UA Space Object Behavioral Sciences initiative, brings to bear his experience -- navigating for NASA Mars missions and working for the Air Force in situational awareness -- as he steers the UA to being a world center of research and discovery on how objects behave in outer space.

Jah has led research programs in space object behavior assessment and prediction for the Air Force Research Laboratory since 2007. He directed the Air Force’s Advanced Sciences and Technology Research Institute for Astronautics, or ASTRIA, on Maui, Hawaii, for eight years, and for the last two years has headed the space situational awareness program at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

As a spacecraft navigator (a title he shares with few people) for the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 1999 to 2006, Jah charted courses for the Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. He also has participated in missions to the red planet for the European Space Agency, or ESA, and to asteroid Itokawa with the Japanese space agency, JAXA.

Jah, UA associate research scientist of engineering and associate research professor of engineering, received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, in 1999 and his master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2001 and 2005.

He is a fellow in the American Astronautical Society, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Royal Astronomical Society, an associate fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a senior member and journal associate editor with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems.  He has authored or co-authored more than 75 articles in astrodynamics, engineering and other professional peer-reviewed journals and is a popular speaker on the topic of spacecraft debris, which he calls "the unknown iceberg equivalent in space."


John M. Horack
Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy
Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering & John Glenn College of Public Affairs
The Ohio State University

Dr. John Horack is The Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy and holds a joint appointment in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. The Armstrong Chair supports intellectual thought and political leadership in the area of aerospace policy, and pioneers preeminent research and student learning in this field.

Dr. Horack currently serves as a Vice President of the International Astronautical Federation, which is the largest global society of space professionals. During 2012-2015, he served as vice president of Teledyne Brown Engineering’s Space Systems group. At TBE he had responsibility for overseeing all government and commercial space programs, including science, International Space Station payload operations, test support, flight hardware, launch vehicle and component development and Earth imaging. Between 2009-2012, he was vice president for research at the University of Alabama in Huntsvillewhere he had fiscal oversight for the entire University’s research enterprise, including 14 research centers and laboratories and an annual budget of nearly $100 million. From 2005-2009, Dr. Horack had an impressive career at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) having achieved the level of Senior Executive Service. His last position at NASA was as manager of the Science and Mission Systems Office, where he was responsible for advanced, complex science and exploration research and nearly 400 civil service personnel and contractors. He held several titles while at MSFC, including assistant manager of the Science and Mission Systems Office, assistant director of the Space Transportation Programs and Projects Office, assistant director for science communications in the Space Sciences Laboratory, and assistant mission scientist for the Astro-2 payload that flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Dr. Horack earned a B.A. in Physics and Astronomy from Northwestern University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Physics from UA-Huntsville in 1992 and 1993, respectively. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 papers and conference presentations.  He has spoken at numerous universities, research institutes, and industrial organizations. He is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Astronomical Society, the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, and serves as Co-Chair of the International Astronautical Federation’s Space Transportation Congress. In addition, Dr. Horack is an FAA licensed private pilot with instrument and commercial pilot ratings, and an FAA flight instructor.


Dr. George C. Nield
Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, FAA

Dr. George C. Nield serves as the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the FAA. He has over 30 years of aerospace experience with the Air Force, at NASA, and in private industry.  Dr. Nield came to the FAA from the Orbital Sciences Corporation, where he served as Senior Scientist for the Advanced Programs Group. His previous assignments include working as an Astronautical Engineer at the Space and Missile Systems Organization, a Flight Test Engineer at the Air Force Flight Test Center, and an Assistant Professor and Research Director at the USAF Academy.  He was the Manager of the Flight Integration Office for the Space Shuttle Program at the NASA Johnson Space Center, and later worked on both the Shuttle/Mir Program and the International Space Station Program. He is currently a member of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, which provides support and advice to the NASA Administrator.  A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, he holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University, and an MBA from George Washington University.  He is also a Flight Test Engineering graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School.  Dr. Nield is a registered Professional Engineer and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

 Chrisophe Bonnal 

A graduate from the French engineer school Centrale Lille, Christophe Bonnal started his career in 1984 in Airbus before joining the French space agency CNES in 1992.

He has worked on all the European launchers since the beginning, first with technical studies on Ariane 4, then on some future studies as the Automated Transfer Vehicle ATV before being part of the complete development of Ariane 5, in charge of system tests, including maiden flights of the large European launcher. He then headed the future launchers division for 8 years before going back to the technical directorate as chief engineer.

Since 1987, Christophe Bonnal is in charge of the hot topic of space debris. He is French delegate to the IADC (Inter Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee) and to the ISO branch in charge of the subject (International Standardization Organization). He is currently co-chair of the IAA Space Debris Committee (International Academy of Astronautics) and of the IAF Space Debris Symposium (International Astronautical Federation). He is the co-editor of all the IAA Position Papers and Situation Reports prepared for IAA on the subject of orbital debris.

Author or co-author of more than 140 publications and conferences, Bonnal is co-editor of the professional journal Acta Astronautica. Senior member of the French 3AF (Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France) and former head of the 3AF Space Transportation Committee. Founding member and General Secretary of  “EUCASS” (European Conference for Aerospace Sciences), Bonnal chairs the EUCASS “System Integration” symposium.

He teaches astronautics and launcher technologies in a dozen of European Universities and engineer schools. Author of several patents, Bonnal received the Innovation Award from the French Aeroclub in 2005. He also acts as Expert for program evaluation for European Commission, ANR (Agence Nationale pour la Recherche), Canadian NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) and JAXA-ISAS (Japan). 


 Dr. Hogler Krag

Dr. Holger Krag has been a Space Debris Analyst in the Space Debris Office of ESA/ESOC located in Darmstadt, Germany, since 2006. He has worked on the operational conjunction event analysis for various ESA missions, debris risk assessment, mitigation analysis and the Surveillance and Tracking Segment of the European SSA system. Since 2014, he is head of the Space Debris Office. He represents ESA in the IADC (Inter Agency Debris Coordination Committee) and is co-leading the SST segment of ESA’s SSA program. He has also become ESA’s lead engineer for the implementation of the telescope network for the Spanish Surveillance System that will form part of the EU SST system.