Katherine is the Chief Executive Officer for the ManSat Group. ManSat is the world’s largest commercial provider of satellite spectrum and offers bespoke consultancy services in spectrum regulatory matters.
Before joining ManSat, Katherine worked with U.S. defense contractors to bring commercial satellite and terrestrial communication technologies to austere environments in support of military, diplomatic, first responder, and commercial initiatives.
Katherine serves on the Board of Directors for Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) and mentors entrepreneurs through Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator. Katherine is a graduate of the International Space University’s Executive Space program and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia.Debra Facktor
Debra Facktor is the Head of U.S. Space Systems for AIRBUS U.S. Space & Defense, Inc., reporting to the Chairman and CEO of Airbus U.S. She joined the company in March 2020 and is responsible for managing the two businesses within U.S. Space Systems: National Security Space and Space Exploration. She also represents Airbus on the board of Airbus OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between Airbus and OneWeb operating a high-volume, high-speed satellite production facility in Florida, leveraging Airbus’ long standing heritage in satellite manufacturing.
Prior to joining Airbus U.S., Debra was Vice President and General Manager of Strategic Operations for Ball Aerospace, leading the company’s Washington DC operations, strategic development, and marketing and communications. Her extensive business experience includes serving as President and Owner of AirLaunch LLC, a small business that won funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and as Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Planning for Kistler Aerospace Corporation, a company that was developing a privately-funded reusable launch vehicle for the telecommunications satellite and International Space Station commercial resupply markets. Earlier in her career, Debra was Chief of Moscow Operations for ANSER’s Center for International Aerospace Cooperation.
Debra is actively engaged as a board member, advisor and mentor in the aerospace community, with organizations such as the Intelligence and National Security Association (INSA), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Future Space Leaders Foundation, Brooke Owens Fellowship Program, Women in Aerospace and the International Women’s Forum. She serves on the Industrial Advisory Board of the University of Michigan aerospace engineering department and as an adjunct faculty member of the Johns Hopkins University systems engineering department. She is a fellow of AIAA and the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and an academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).
Debra received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, and is an alumna of the International Space University summer session program in Strasbourg, France.Mike Nichols
Mike Nichols is the Deputy Director, Commercial Satellite Communications Office (CSCO), Space Systems Command (SSC), United States Space Force (USSF). Located at Fort Meade, Maryland, Mike manages a portfolio of commercial satellite services and capabilities with a lifecycle value of $6B (USD). His responsibilities include facilitating the delivery of operationally responsive, customer-focused, cost-effective commercial satellite communications solutions meeting DoD, Federal Agency, and International Partner requirements. Mike has accomplished this through the implementation of focused program strategies in acquisition, engineering, cybersecurity, operations, and service deleivery across a multitude of mission platforms.
Mike has managed Information Technology programs as a Department of Defense Civilian for 38 years, implementing enterprise solutions leveraging space, terrestrial, and cloud domain services, network operations, cyber defense, and transformative business strategies.
During the span of his career, Mike has deployed and resided abroad managing communication services for the United States Navy (Naples, Italy); enterprise architecture programs for the Defense Information Systems Agency (Stuttgart, Germany); Telecommunication programs in Southwest Asia for DISA Headquarters (National Capital Region); and has deployed as a Senior Telecommunications Advisor to the Afghan Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (Kabul, Afghanistan).
Prior to his current position, Mr. Nichols was the Program Manager, Commercial Satellite Solutions Program, United States Space Force, Fort Meade, Maryland, implementing a number of transformative strategies across service delivery and business operation disciplines and platforms.
A U.S. Navy Veteran, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (University of Maryland), Mike is proud to serve the Department of Defense; providing critical enterprise telecommunication solutions enabling Military, Government, and Coalition Partner capabilities.Chris Shank
Chris Shank is a Vice President Defense & Space at Maxar Technologies. Chris previously held various leadership roles in the military, U.S. government and commercial industry for over 25 years. Before joining Maxar, Chris was the Director of the Strategic Capabilities Office at the U.S. Department of Defense. In this role, he led the development of new and innovative ways to shape and counter emerging threats across all domains, bringing unexpected and game-changing capabilities to the Joint Force.
Chris has also held leadership roles at Van Scoyoc Associates, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Honeywell Aerospace, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA. He served as an Officer in the U.S. Air Force for 11 years with assignments at Space Command, National Reconnaissance Office, and Pentagon. Chris holds a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame.