Katherine Courtney

Steering Board Chair, Global Network On Sustainability In SpaceGlobal

Roles: Associate, Investigator

Stream: Space

Katherine Courtney engages widely across industry, academia and government to make the case for keeping the unique space environment safe, secure and sustainable. She is an advocate for collaborative research and innovation to deepen our understanding of the space environment and “space weather” impacts and the development of space traffic control solutions to tackle the risks of space becoming more congested and contested. She chairs the Steering Board for the Global Network on Sustainability in Space.

Katherine is also the founder of PrimarySpace – a charity that leverages the wonders of space science and technology to engage primary school teachers and children with STEM careers. She helps organizations create clear strategies, manage risks and multiply returns on innovation investment, brings government, researchers and businesses together to apply innovation to key policy aims, and supports start-ups to scale up. With non-executive and executive experience spanning international regulated industry, central government, and tech startups – she brings board-level expertise in working with government and regulators, tech-enabled transformation and forging strategic partnerships.

Katherine is a motivational speaker using space-themed talks to help teams and individuals identify their personal missions, understand how that aligns with their organization’s mission, and unleash their innovation capabilities. She is available for conferences, corporate away days, board strategy workshops, etc.

Her early career was spent developing new products and services in the global telecoms industry as an executive with major multinational corporations and a series of start-up companies. Katherine moved to the public sector in 2003 to lead the UK Government’s National Identity Scheme Programme and then went on to lead a number of other flagship programmes including Universal Credit, Growth Vouchers, Business Growth Service and UK Small Business Commissioner – steering five cross-cutting pieces of legislation through Parliament.

Katherine’s last public sector role was as Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency – where she opened the UK market to satellite launch, spaceflight and spaceport operators (creating new economic opportunities for the UK), established UK leadership of the European Space Agency’s Telecoms, Navigation and Earth Observation programmes, and inspired a future generation of scientists and engineers through Major Tim Peake’s highly successful Principia Mission.