Gianfranco 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.
Don 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.