NSS Space Forum: Early Aerospace Career Professionals

NSS Space Forum

You are Invited to the National Space Society Space Forum Thursday, May 6, 2021, 9:00 to 10:15 PM EDT

The Changing Face of Aerospace: Perspectives from a Panel of Early Career Professionals

Register today to reserve your seat and to submit your questions. Register no later than May 6 at 8 pm EDT.

Register for the Space Forum 

Aerospace careers

Fifty plus years ago, a young technical workforce both at NASA and from industry pushed the boundaries of technology to put American astronauts on the Moon. Technology since then has advanced tremendously and today as we celebrate a helicopter on Mars, a fleet of reusable rockets, and human spaceflight launches from the US, we also look forward to a return to the Moon and many other aerospace technological innovations. Today’s aerospace workforce is just as talented as the Apollo Generation, but it looks a lot different, reflecting and embracing the diversity of our nation.

Join NSS Board of Directors Member, Chantelle Baier, as she hosts a panel of these early-career aerospace professionals. The panelists, Athena Brensberger, Lindani Johnson, Kaela Martin, Hannah Rens, and Betsy Soukup will share their stories. You will hear about what got them interested in aerospace, the challenges they overcame, their current projects, and how they are working to inspire the next generation. Don’t miss this informative and inspirational session. And invite your kids so they can learn about opportunities in aerospace.


Chantelle Baier currently serves as a member of the NSS Board of Directors and is also the Director of Creative Services. Chantelle is a dynamic new leader in space development and she is bringing new ideas and innovative concepts to foster the NSS mission. For Chantelle, the key is dramatically changing the definition and view of public-private partnerships in all aspects of space ecosystems. As a result, Chantelle has been involved with innovating new STEAM based educational programs for our next generation, creating economic dialogue between space travelers and entrepreneurs. This led to the creation of the Space to be Me event in partnership with Proctor and Gamble and GE Aviation. In fostering these types of partnerships, Chantelle is furthering the NSS mission of creating a spacefaring civilization.

Athena Brensberger advocates for space exploration through her platform Astroathens. People can find DIY space demos, rocket launch coverage, and going behind the scenes at events around the world! She’s worked with NASA, Seeker, Futurism, ArianeGroup, and Dexter as a correspondent on all things astronomy and rocket science. With a background in astrophysics and fashion, Athena’s mission is to show that space is within all of us, no matter what industry you are in. Her research includes work on Proto-planetary disks and low mass stars. After giving her first talk on stage, she fell in love with presenting science rather than only conducting it.

Lindani Johnson is the sitting Chief Engineer of the Aerospace Special Interest Group of the NSBE. She specializes in defense and commercial aerospace system safety and reliability engineering. Currently, Lindani serves as the Aircraft Segment System Safety Team Lead at Wisk Aero, a start-up in the Bay Area. Lindani has worked with teams at Northrop Grumman, United Airlines, NASA and more. Lindani received a B.A. from Oberlin College and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology.

Kaela Martin began her academic journey at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, after receiving her PhD from Purdue University in Aerospace Engineering. Besides her work in astrodynamics, she is passionate about implementing new pedagogical techniques in her classes including flipped learning, team-based learning, inquiry learning, and experiential learning. She is perpetually improving her teaching and enthusiastically shares what she has learned with others. In her spare time, Kaela enjoys spending time outside whether it’s biking, hiking, or rock climbing.

Hannah Rens is an aerospace engineer and space settlement advocate. Hannah is currently serving as the Region 3 Representative for the NSS Board of Directors and is a member of the Space Settlement Advocacy Committee, where she has authored a literature review analyzing the scientific feasibility of space settlement. The impacts of the literature published to date is discussed, and future research opportunities are outlined.

Hannah is currently working as a project engineer within Boeing Defense, Space, and Security. Additionally, she has worked on an Economic Research for Space Development grant from NASA’s Emerging Space Office and the AIAA Space Systems Design Competition. Hannah graduated with a BS in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in May of 2020. Since 2012, she has been a part of the International Space Settlement Design Competition family of events as a student and volunteer. She has been directly involved with the NSS since 2018, when she presented in the Space Settlement and Space Minerals track at ISDC.

Betsy Soukup is an engineer who learned how to drive competitive robots before she learned how to drive a car. Her love of all things technical started in high school, where she joined her school’s F.I.R.S.T. robotics team, ultimately leading them to a state championship her senior year. From there she studied mechanical engineering at MIT, and after getting her bachelor’s degree, moved to Stanford to get her masters in mechatronics. Although her interests did not initially include aerospace, that all changed when a SpaceX recruiter reached out to her on LinkedIn and offered to give her a tour of the Hawthorne factory.

Since that fateful interview, Betsy has held various positions at SpaceX including manufacturing engineering, reuse engineering, and structural engineering. In the last five years she has had the opportunity to design flight hardware, perform inspections inside of fuel tanks, present analysis to NASA leadership, direct interns through testing projects, and even watch a launch and landing from just a few miles away. Her favorite thing about her job is getting to work with smart, passionate people who are willing to work hard. Outside of her rocket scientist job, she enjoys going on hikes with her dog, video games, and playing new sports.

Register today to reserve your seat and to submit your questions. Register no later than May 6 at 8 pm EDT.

Register for the Space Forum 

If you have difficulty registering, send an email to [email protected]


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