Canada’s Space Future

Event Date: May 26, 2022

Location: Virtual Event

Join AIAC and International Space Leaders for a Special Event about Canada’s Space Future 


Featuring Will Whitehorn, PresidentUKspace

Will Whitehorn has been Chair, Deputy Chair or a Non-Executive Director of several public bodies and companies including The Royal Air Force, Good Energy PLC, Seraphim Space Investment Trust PLC, the Glasgow SEC /SSE Hydro, The Scottish Gallery and AAC Clyde Space AB.

In 2019, Will joined UKspace as President of the trade association which represents the UK space industry. Having learned to fly as a 16 year old RAF cadet and completing an MA Hons at Aberdeen University, he has spent substantially all his working life in the transport and technology industries.

Starting out as a helicopter crewman in the North Sea Oil Industry, he went on to become a graduate trainee with Thomas Cook and eventually joined Virgin in 1986 where he established a career as Sir Richard Branson’s Corporate Affairs Advisor and Brand Development Director for the Group globally. He helped develop Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Trains and Virgin Media as businesses and went onto become the first President of Virgin Galactic taking the business from a dream to reality.

He is a Fellow of The Royal Aeronautical Society and the Marketing Society and Vice President of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport having been President in 2016. He holds the Royal Aeronautical Society’s prestigious Geoffrey Pardoe Space Award for services to the industry.

Key themes to be explored:

  • Positioning Canada in the face of expanding markets to maximize opportunities and ensure a competitive edge;
  • Harnessing the full power and potential of space stakeholders in a coordinated, collaborative and deliberate manner to ensure success;
  • The need for a Canadian space strategy.

Virtual Event – Thursday, May 26, 2022

1 – 3:30 pm EDT


1 pm

Opening Remarks

Mike Mueller, President & CEO, AIAC

1:10 pm

Super Session

Will Whitehorn, President, UKSpace

1:45 pm

Super Session

Mauricio Zelaya, PhD, Partner and National Economics Leader, EY

2:20 pm

Super Session

Mary Gregory, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, ISED

2:45 pm

Executive Panel

Moderator:  Aaron Spaans, Business Development Manager, Space and Defence at ABB


Ewan Reid, President & CEO, Mission Control

Chris Pogue, CEO, Thales Canada

Daniel Schulten, Direct, Business Development for Space, Airbus

Patrick Thera, President, Advanced Technologies, Calian


Aaron Spaans has been a member of the ABB Space & Defence team since 2017, primarily leading defence opportunities for advanced optical engineering solutions.  Prior to working in industry, Aaron served for 24 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Communications & Electronics Engineer.  While serving in the military, he specialized in space operations serving as a Space Surveillance Analyst in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, as well as leading the space group within Defence Research and Development Canada, where he initiated the M3MSat program with the Canadian Space Agency.  Aaron holds a Master’s of Science in Physics from the Royal Military College of Canada.

Mauricio Zelaya, PhD is an accomplished economist with extensive experience in econometrics and statistical modelling for both private and public sector clients. He specializes in the economics of innovation, industrial organization, and more generally, the application of economic theory to real business issues. His work in this area spans across numerous industries, from oil & gas and mining to finance, advanced manufacturing, emerging technology, and pharmaceuticals. He is also an active member in the academic community, concurrently lecturing graduate economic courses at the Schulich School of Business at York University. In addition to providing econometric and statistical modelling services, Dr. Zelaya also performs economic impact assessments, cost-benefit analysis, and program analysis and design.

Mary Gregory has been working in the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development since March 2012. Prior to this position, she held various senior leadership roles in the organization including Director General of the Aerospace, Defence and Marine Branch and Executive Director of the Industrial and Regional Benefits Directorate. Before joining ISED, Mary held executive positions with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Health Canada. Mary studied at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of British Columbia. She has a Ph.D. in Resources Management and Environmental Studies.

Ewan Reid. Prior to founding Mission Control, Ewan worked at a major Canadian space company as a systems designer and project manager. He has been a subsystem design lead on three rover prototypes for the Canadian Space Agency. Ewan was a systems and electrical designer and operations engineer on the Space Shuttle Program and was a mission controller for 10 of the last 12 Space Shuttle missions at NASA JSC. He also conducted numerous testing and verification activities at NASA KSC. Ewan has degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics from Queen’s University and a Master’s degree in Technology Innovation Management at Carleton University.

Chris Pogue was appointed CEO of Thales Canada in August 2021. Before joining Thales in November 2020 as Vice President and Managing Director of Thales Canada’s defence and security business, Chris was President of MDA Government, where he was responsible for the company’s Defence, Earth Observation Systems, Enterprise IT and Government Space Robotics lines of business.

In addition to executive roles with MDA Government, General Dynamics Mission Systems and CAE Defence and Professional Services, Chris spent over 20 years with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and a Master’s of Science in Physics and Oceanography from Royal Roads Military College, as well as executive education at the University of York, University of Liverpool and Harvard Business School.

Daniel Schulten is Airbus’ Business Development Director for Space based in Ottawa, ON. Prior to joining Airbus, Daniel has been responsible for business development of several space programs both at MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) MDA and Space Systems Loral (SSL) in the US. Daniel attended the International Space University Summer Session in Cleveland, Ohio. He has a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

Patrick Thera has been the President of Advanced Technologies for over 10 years. The Advanced Technologies business unit of Calian has grown to cover the broad technical markets of space and satellite communications, terrestrial communications, defence, agriculture, composites, environmental and nuclear. Through acquisitions, research and development, Calian has added a variety of antenna solutions to its growing portfolio of ground systems technologies. Their software and embedded capabilities include satellite communications equipment, custom gateways, network management, satellite resource management as well test and measurement solutions. With offices based in both North America and Europe, Advanced Technologies is capable of serving its clients globally. Calian has been a part of the space ecosystem for over 55 years.