AIAA Announces Global Speakers on Space Safety, Security, and Sustainability: The 2023 ASCEND Diverse Dozen Written 4 August 2023


August 4, 2023 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) today announced the 2023 ASCEND Diverse Dozen (D12) – 12 speakers from nine countries who will address the most important issues surrounding space safety, security, and sustainability at the upcoming ASCEND event, 23–25 October, Caesars Forum, Las Vegas. ASCEND is the world’s premier outcomes-focused, interdisciplinary space event designed to accelerate building our off-world future.

D12 is a partnership between ASCEND and astrodynamicist Moriba Jah, cofounder/chief scientist at Privateer, and associate professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Texas. As a space environmentalist who is advancing our ability to understand how human objects in space create both services and risks of collisions, Jah said, “D12 is centered on the belief that we’re more similar than we are different, and action is best when born from compassion.”

The 2023 ASCEND Diverse Dozen include:

  • Mustapha Agbadi, Partner, Policy and Legal Compliance, Bismerk Solicitors, United Kingdom
  • Sahil Bhatia, Student, University of Bremen, India
  • Pablo Carlos Budassi, Designer and CEO, Awe Infographics, Argentina
  • Allen Herbert, Space Agrifood Advocate, United Arab Emirates
  • Malkia Kelelue, Space Science and Astronomy Officer, Kenya Space Agency, Kenya
  • Michelle Lucas, Founder and CEO, Higher Orbits, United States
  • Yumna Majeed, Founder, Exploration—Cosmos to Classrooms, Pakistan
  • Claire Nelson, OASEAS, Space Futures Forum, United States
  • Chau Nguyen, Chief Technology Officer, NYSA LLC, United States
  • Grecia Olano O'Brien, Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec, Canada
  • Kristen Price, Chief Counsel/Senior Director—Legal and Compliance, Blue Origin, United States
  • Alejandro J. Roman Molinas, General Director of Aerospace Development, Paraguayan Space Agency, Paraguay

The group will deliver a thought leadership presentation of their visions for space during a dedicated 2023 ASCEND session on Tuesday, 24 October, 1130-1230 hrs PT. In addition, their Op-Eds will be published during 2023 ASCEND.

Influential thinkers and emerging leaders from around the globe have been featured in D12 during ASCEND since it launched three years ago. The D12 Op-Eds from the previous 35 participants are available online:

Registration for the 2023 ASCEND event is open now. Journalists from around the world are invited to cover 2023 ASCEND; press passes are available for credentialed media by request.

Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray,, 804-397-5270 cell

Powered by AIAA, ASCEND, which stands for Accelerating Space Commerce, Exploration, and New Discovery, is the world’s premier collaborative, outcomes-driven, interdisciplinary community designed to accelerate the building of our off-world future. For more information, visit, or follow ASCEND on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

About AIAA
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.