Melissa Thorpe

Head of Engagement, Spaceport Cornwall

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Find what you love and give your life to it no matter what society might believe.

What do you do?

I am the main liaison between Government, industry, academia and media for the UK's first Spaceport. I head up the business development, outreach, investment raising, lobbying and communications for the project.

Why did you choose this field?

I grew up in very rural Canada where the stars where often the only light at night. Unfortunately when I told a teacher I wanted to go into astronomy they told me there wasn't any options where I lived. My dad fought forest fires from airplanes and I travelled to airbases with him meeting pilots and smokejumpers...and my passion from aerospace began! I also love marketplaces and traveling, so I ended up with a Masters in Economics from LSE and specialised in aerospace and aviation policy, taking me to Cornwall to help develop the industry there. One area was working with the UK Space Agency on developing the airport as a spaceport...the rest is history!

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Not only speaking alongside NASA, Virgin and Space X at conferences, but also challenging them to make space more accessible and tell their story to a wider audience.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love the infinite opportunities there are in STEM to make the world a more sustainable place. Not just the environment, but using technology to look at ethics, gender, economic impact and peace. Satellite and space technology is changing the way we live, and I look forward to supporting this in a positive way every day.

Best advice for next generation?

Find what you love and give your life to it no matter what society might believe. For example, there is absolutely no issue with both being completely 'girly' and having a STEM career. I used to worry I wouldn't be taken seriously in aerospace with the way I dressed or looked, but now I own it and am myself! My daughter wants to be a ballerina astronaut, and why not!?

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other.” - Madeleine Albright

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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