Keynote Speakers

VisentinGianfranco Visentin has been with the ESA for the last 22 years. Previously worked as control  engineer on aircraft flight software and active car body attitude control. Since his beginning at ESA he  has been with the Automation and Robotics (A&R) section working in support of ESA robotics projects  and in Research and Development (R&D).  In supporting ESA projects he has participated to the development of the European Robot Arm (ERA),  the  Columbus  Microgravity  Facilities,  the  EUROBOT  system (of  which  he  was  the  initiator)  and  the  ExoMars  project.  His  R&D  efforts  have  covered  the whole spectrum  of  technologies  needed  for  space  A&R  including:  conventional  robotics  platforms  (rovers, robot  arms),  alternative  robotic  platforms  (moles,  aerobots,  walking  robots),  robot  autonomy, teleoperation  and  remote  control  (robot  programming  stations,  exoskeletons),  perception  (computer vision) and  subsystems  (robot  joints,  controllers).
He  is  the  inventor  of  some  original  space  concepts  such  as  3D  digital  camcorders  (2  flown  in  the International  Space  Station),  arm  exoskeletons  for  space  use,  capture  of  space  debris  by  means  of throw nets.  Since 2002 he leads the A&R section. In his current post, Mr. Visentin is ESA’s responsible  of the technology domain for Automation and Robotics, role that entails the preparation of ESA’s R&D  strategy for the field and coordination with other European research organizations.

LDon M. Cornwell, Optical Communications Division, Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.
NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program at NASA HQ is pursuing a vibrant and wide-ranging optical communications program for future planetary and near-Earth missions following the spectacular success of NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) from the LADEE spacecraft orbiting the Moon in 2013 and 2014.  NASA’s program includes upcoming flight demonstrations with opportunities for international collaboration and cross-support as demonstrated during the LLCD mission with the European Space Agency (ESA) Optical Ground Station (OGS) in Tenerife, Spain.
Don Cornwell started his career in laser communications and laser remote sensing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  He left NASA in 1998 for a telecommunications startup company where he was awarded eight patents for his work in Raman amplifier technology and was instrumental in the development and deployment of two nationwide fiber optic networks. From 2006 to 2011, Don supported NASA and commercial customers as the Vice President of Instrument Systems at Sigma Space Corporation in Lanham, MD. Don returned to NASA Goddard in 2011 to become the Mission Manager for LLCD and is now at NASA Headquarters as the Director of the Technology and Optical Communications (TOC) Division within SCaN. Don has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park.