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  • Satellite Evolution Group

AstroAgency Director wins Coveted Space Award

A UK headquartered company supporting some of the biggest names in the commercial space sector and multiple national governments to communicate the benefits to be derived from accessing space has been recognised for its contribution to the space sector, as well as the rapid growth of its client base, during the annual Sir Arthur Clarke Awards.

Chief Operating Officer Daria Filichkina was rewarded by a judging panel of fifty space and science experts for her role in steering the firm past the fifty-client mark despite the turmoil of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which saw her flee the country and drive across Europe to Scotland with her son and mother to settle temporarily in the UK. Having worked within the country's space industry since 2017, she chose to locate to Edinburgh where she has since helped develop the Ukrainian Businesswomen in Scotland network, raised money for displaced Ukrainians overseas and supported the construction of a bomb shelter for a Ukrainian nursery, whilst also taking on dual mentorship roles to help guide students into the UK space industry.

AstroAgency, which still has team members based in Ukraine, focusses on promoting companies across the global space value chain, from satellite manufacturers, rocket launch companies and spaceports, to satellite data analysts applying information from space to multiple challenges on Earth, such as the early detection of wildfires, identifying illegal fishing and mining, tracking ice shelf changes, and monitoring endangered species.

The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards are organised by the British Interplanetary Society (BIS), this year celebrating its 90th anniversary, to recognise individuals and team projects that have made notable or outstanding achievements in, or contributions to, space activities in the UK. Known as ‘The Arthurs’, the ceremony has been conducted annually since 2005 with previous winners including astronauts such as Tim Peake, Richard Gariott and Michael Foale, renowned communicators such as Dallas Campbell and astronomer Dr. Sir Patrick Moore, and fellow space entrepreneurs that include Planet Labs co-founder Will Marshall and Sir Martin Sweeting, co-founder of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited. The awards are named after British Science fiction writer and space visionary, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, one of the “big three” of the science fiction writing world, who is known for works such as A Fall of Moondust, Rendezvous with Rama and 2001: A Space Odyssey, for which he went on to adapt as a screenplay and earn an Academy Award nomination for the influential movie.

President of BIS, Alistair Scott stated, “The British Interplanetary Society runs the annual Sir Arthur Clarke Awards in conjunction with the Washington-based Arthur C. Clarke Foundation and this year had some 60 nominations for the 2022 awards. I’m pleased to say that, though the competition was extremely tight, the judges were quick to recognise those who had also faced significant difficulties or challenges along the way. Daria Filichkina certainly deserves to be recognised and rewarded for her leadership of AstroAgency and her substantial contribution to the UK Space Sector.”

AstroAgency was established in 2019 by serial space entrepreneur Daniel Smith and supports both commercial and government clients with strategic communication infused with space sector market knowledge. The team includes a technical department to help interpret and shape complex client propositions and works with space companies such as Spire Global, Euroconsult, ClearSpace and Leaf Space. The firm has developed a strong reputation internationally as well as within the UK, supporting government-funded projects with the UK Space Agency, the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre UK, RAL Space, Satellite Applications Catapult and multiple Scottish Government enterprise agencies, as well as the National Space Science Association of Bahrain, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and both Swiss and Australian government bodies. Last year, the company co-authored and promoted the world’s first national space sustainability strategy for industry-led group Space Scotland, in line with one of its core values to help support the global commercial space industry to develop in an environmentally conscious fashion.

AstroAgency Chief Operating Officer Daria Filichkina, who received the Individual Space Achievement award at a Gala Dinner in Liverpool on Friday evening, expressed her pride in being selected for the prestigious honour, stating “I may have been given this incredible honour due to my support of the UK’s fast-growing commercial space sector, but in reality it is the industry that has supported me. When you are forced to leave your home, husband and family due to bombing and violence, your life is completely turned upside down and suddenly your focus is on keeping your family safe and positive. In such a situation, work is the only ‘normal’ thing you have left. This award is dedicated to our hardworking ‘Astro Agents’, the partners that kept faith in us and the friends I have in the space community who reached out and kept me positive.”

The company continues to act as a champion for the environmental, economic and societal benefits that come from accessing space, with Filichkina addressing a sold-out Schools’ Day at New Scientist Live in London one week ago to inspire young people with an interest in space technology to consider a career in the sector. That engagement formed part of the company’s work to support the UK Space Agency’s Active Debris Removal mission, which could see innovative services from space sustainability companies such as ClearSpace and Astroscale remove defunct British satellites from orbit in the coming years. She is due to speak about the importance of communicating innovation outside of the industry to new audiences at upcoming events such as the Indo-Pacific Space & Earth Conference in Perth, Australia, and Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany in the coming weeks, before attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference as part of a Scottish government delegation to help showcase the positive impact of Earth Observation in supporting Net Zero goals and climate issues.

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