Tahir Merali is CEO of Escape Velocity Services Inc., offering business, project management and technical consulting services across multiple domains including aerospace and energy. Tahir is also a strategic advisor and former Chief Operating Officer of 4pi Lab Inc., a Calgary-based start-up providing early wildfire detection and alert services via satellites for smart, real-time, global coverage.
Over the past decades, Tahir has contributed as Co-Investigator and team member to CSA, NASA & ESA missions including training astronaut crews, delivering experiments for the International Space Station, as well as systems engineering and project management on the Lunar Gateway and Canadarm3 programmes. He is an International Astronautical Federation Workforce Development-Young Professionals Programme Committee member, and in 2018 was globally recognized as a Top 35 Under 35 of the space industry. Tahir is also a parabonaut with 18+ minutes in microgravity. He holds a B.A.Sc in Mechanical Engineering (University of Toronto), a M.Sc in Space Management (International Space University), and is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.Eng), Project Management Professional (PMP) and Advanced Open Water Diver. Tahir was ranked Top 163 in Canada's most recent Astronaut Recruitment Campaign.
Hira Nadeem is currently an M.E.Sc. graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Western University's Institute for Earth and Space Exploration and received her B. Eng. . Hira is a strong believer in making space accessible and interdisciplinary. Through her involvement as the former President of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) Canada, and the Co-Founder of the McMaster Planetary Society, Hira has led teams to create opportunities for Canadian students and young professionals locally and nationally.
Last year, Hira was selected as the first Canadian Brooke Owens Fellow with the opportunity to intern at Planet in San Francisco, CA this past fall. Hira is excited to research solutions to problems both on Earth and in space during her Master's, and looks forward to continuing to support and contribute to the Canadian space industry.
Zaid Rana is a Junior Program Scientist at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) working on mission systems and instrument design. At SGAC, he acts as a National Point of Contact for Canada. He is passionate about space outreach & advocacy through his commitment in bridging the opportunity divide in the Canadian space sector. He joined the leadership team at Zenith Canada Pathways Foundation as Director of External Relations, where he aspires to co-create a community of diverse leaders in Canada’s aerospace industry.
Zaid has previously completed a traineeship at the European Space Agency in space resources & space operations. He also led the development of Space Concordia’s Orbital Dust Imaging Nano-satellite (SC-ODIN) mission. In May 2018, SC-ODIN was selected by the CSA for the Canadian CubeSat Project. The spacecraft is slated for launch in 2022 & will help scientists improve our understanding of past & future climates.
Bryan attended Carleton University for his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering, Space Systems Design. He continued his studies at Western University where he graduated with his Masters of Engineering Science in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department in September 2020. His thesis research successfully developed a method to increase rover safety and mission efficiency using data from a novel instrumented rover wheel combined with machine learning methods. Bryan interned at NASA-JPL in the summer of 2019, where he worked in the Machine Learning and Instrument Autonomy group on the instrumented rover wheel project. Bryan is currently a freelance data scientist. Outside of work, he enjoys gardening in the summer months, is an avid vintage aviation enthusiast, and loves to write historical fiction.
Kelsey is a Space Systems Engineer and Satellite Operator at Planet, operating the world's largest Earth Observation constellation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering, Space Systems Design from Carleton University and a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Western Ontario. Kelsey has previously interned at and continues to research with the Paris Observatory in the fields of space weather and space debris, and interned at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in the Machine Learning and Instrument Autonomy Group, developing machine learning algorithms for future Mars rover missions. She is an incoming PhD student at the University of Oxford, researching how to use machine learning and satellite imagery to forecast climate change impacts on Earth.
Mary Grace "MG" Kalnay is an Aerospace Systems Engineer on the Business Development team at Loft Orbital Solutions in San Francisco. As a systems engineer, MG evaluates a variety of mission concepts to determine their feasibility onboard upcoming Loft missions and communicates directly with customers to implement their unique needs. Prior to joining Loft, MG interned at the Canadian Space Agency supporting Project Management and Systems Engineer efforts. She was also a Project Manager for the CSA's Canadian CubeSat Program from 2018-2020, leading the development of a 3U earth observation mission and managing a team of 70 student members.
Rahul Parmar is a recent Electrical Engineering graduate from the University of Calgary. He has experience working in the utility industry, but also has a deep-rooted interest in the space industry. He hopes to pursue a masters degree in Aerospace or another space-related field in the near future so that he can become part of the evolving industry. As such, he is beyond excited to join Zenith Canada Pathways Foundation to help create Canada's first space fellowship program!
Gavin Tolometti is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Ontario where he his research focus is on understanding how lava flows on Earth, that are similar to lunar and Martian lava flows, are emplaced based off radar observation data. He has a background in geologic field work, geochemistry, mineralogy, remote sensing, and planetary image analysis. He is an active science communicator on social media and spends his free time running his space podcast called “The Diaries of Space Explorers”.
Sean is a lawyer with two current roles - Lawyer with Caravel Law and In House Counsel for the Lunar Water Supply Company - an early stage space startup. He takes pride in his wide ranging and unconventional career so far - he's worked at all levels of government as well as in private practice, and he's touched on areas of law including antitrust, intellectual property, commercial, and litigation. Most of all, Sean has been thrilled to discover the pace at which the space sector is growing and is passionate about making it easier for Canadians to take part.
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