Industry networking

Presents industry networking

National Launch Opportunities & Capabilities in Australia

Griffith University South Bank Campus – Queensland College of Art
QCA Lecture Theatre and Gallery Building, Gallery Foyer (S05_2.04 & 2.03)

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Panel Session

Ben Tett

General Manager Operations and Launch – Equatorial Launch Australia

Ben has 15+ years of experience as an executive and engineer spanning areas such as Aerospace Engineering, Project and Program Management, PMO and Portfolio Management, Innovation, Strategy Development and Business Transformation.

Over the last 10 years, Ben has worked in commercial aviation at Virgin Australia where he established a strong brand and reputation for being a people-focused leader and for delivering complex programs. Ben has a Bachelor of Mechanical and Space Engineering from the University of Queensland.

Recently Ben was a finalist in the 2022 Australian Space Awards as a “Rising Star” Executive of the year.

Dr. Sandy Tirtey

Director of Global Commercial Launch Services & Launch Director – Rocket Lab

Prior to Joining Rocket Lab, Dr. Tirtey did his PhD thesis in Hypersonics at the von Karman Institute (Belgium) and a Post-Doc in the group for Hypersonics at The University of Queensland (UQ) where he led the technical development of the SCRAMSPACE scramjet flight experiment from 2009 to 2013.

Dr. Tirtey joined Rocket Lab in 2013 as Vehicle Team Lead, where he supervised the development and construction of the Electron launch vehicle. In 2015, Dr. Tirtey took on the role of Vice President of Vehicle Systems, before becoming Rocket Lab’s Launch Conductor in 2016. In this role, Dr. Tirtey led mission operators through the successful launches of ‘It’s A Test’ and ‘Still Testing’ in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Today, Dr. Tirtey is the Director of Global Commercial Launch Services and is based in Brisbane, Australia. In this role he supports small satellite operators globally to access orbit through frequent and reliable launch opportunities on the Electron launch vehicle. In February 2023, Dr Sandy Tirtey became Director of the newly created Rocket Lab Australia subsidiary.

Peter Williams

General Manager of Sales – Southern Launch

Peter has over 30 years’ experience in the space and satellite industry. As General Manager of Sales at Southern Launch, Peter works closely with launch vehicle providers and space return customers to manage all aspects of their space mission.

Prior to joining Southern Launch Peter was an experienced and successful satellite executive and has developed an exceptional understanding of the satellite and space sectors. Peter has developed deep and strong business relationships, understanding both the commercial and technical drivers of customer’s requirements.

In a previous life, Peter was Chief Engineer of a short-wave radio station in the Seychelles.

Dr Joni Sytsma

Chief Technology Officer – iLAuNCH Trailblazer

Dr Joni Sytsma is an aerospace engineer hailing from the USA who, as a recent citizen of Australia, is committed to building innovative technologies within our country. Dr Sytsma has over 16 years’ experience in the research, development and commercialisation of extremely complex aerospace systems where combined interactions of hardware, software and physics are the defining value-add.

As the Chief Technology Officer (iLAuNCH), Dr Sytsma leads the program’s research portfolio in space, satellites, rockets, hypersonics and advanced manufacturing and materials. Joni was most recently Chief Technology Officer at Department 13 in the counter unmanned aerial systems field. Joni began her career with a decade of developing cutting edge aerospace systems at the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). In her time at AFRL, Dr Sytsma led research and development teams to design and optimise aerospace technologies and develop academic concepts into fully tested systems.

Dr Sytsma moved to Australia to join the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experiment (HIFiRE) program with Defence Science and Technology (DST) group. She then joined Gilmour Space Technologies as Head of GNC to work on software stack development, performance simulations and design optimisations.

More panellists to be announced soon!

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