March 8 is International Women’s Day. The Space Force Association recognizes the accomplishments of women from around the globe have made to space research, innovation, and leadership in commerce, defense, and exploration. We congratulate and recognize Dr. Manjit Pope. Dr. Pope, one of Europe’s leading female rocket scientists & executive leaders in space commercialization, leads the U.K. arm of the Global Space Force Association.
Dr. Pope has an impressive leadership, science, technology, and aerospace background. Dr. Manjit Pope established and led as CEO of U.K. Space, developing innovation and growth strategies. She is a Future Systems Technologist leading major national transformational organizations and their programs spanning Aerospace, Space, Security, and defense to establish more vital collaboration across Government, Industry, financial, and academia. She has led the commercialization of transformations to aerospace, space, and defense sectors internationally, making her mark on organizations such as BAESYSTEMS (one of the world’s largest defense organizations), her work at Aerospace Security and Defense (the aerospace trade body of Europe), with The World Trade Organization in developing the international commercialization of space, and India’s Ministry of Defense Center of Process Excellence.
“From being excluded from astronaut programs in the early days of space travel, to now leading key missions to the International Space Station women have proven their ability to excel in this field.“Dr. Manjit Pope
Dr. Pope has mentored and inspired the next generation of scientists and technologists, particularly women and minorities, to pursue careers in space technology and strategy.
Breaking Gender Barriers in Engineering: Dr. Pope’s Journey to Inspire the Next Generation of Women in STEM
Dr. Pope’s trailblazing work in these areas is worth noting. Below is a partial list of accomplishments:
At British Aerospace, Manjit was the youngest woman to hold a leadership position in a major defense contractor’s research and development division.
She was the first Woman Director to lead the National Aerospace Strategy Trailblazing Collaboration of Knowledge Transfer Networks with government agencies and international partners to advance defense technology and enhance global security.
Dr. Pope was the first woman to lead a significant space government agency, UK SPACE, focused on defense, commercial technology, and international strategy.
Manjit was the first female leader to oversee research and development initiatives to develop cutting-edge technologies for national security applications, including artificial intelligence, robotics, and cybersecurity combining the four domains of defense land, sea, air, and space.
At U.K. Space, her work led the development of a new generation of spacecraft propulsion systems, improving space travel’s speed and efficiency and enabling missions to reach farther destinations.
She developed and implemented innovative international space cooperation and collaboration strategies, resulting in ground-breaking space exploration and discovery advancements. She pioneered the use of nanotechnology and materials science in military applications, including developing advanced body armor and protective equipment that is more lightweight, durable, and effective than traditional materials.
At Future Systems, she led the development of advanced robotics and automation technologies, increasing efficiency and productivity in manufacturing, logistics, and other sectors, while reducing human error and injury.
The Youngest And First Female Scientist On The European Design Team
A key achievement of Dr. Pope’s U.K. Space work was spearheading the development of sustainable energy technologies, including renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and advancing energy storage solutions such as batteries and fuel cells and the role of space technology.
She was the youngest program manager at British Aerospace, working on the flexible infrastructure program. Her work became the manufacturing foundation of pioneering the development of advanced aerospace materials and nanotechnology solutions that have the potential to revolutionize various industries, now including healthcare, transportation, and consumer goods.
Dr. Pope spearheaded the design and development of the Eurofighter next-generation fighter aircraft rear fuselage engineering team, becoming the youngest and first female scientist on the European design team.
Working as the first female manufacturing systems engineer at Samlesbury Aerodrome, Dr. Pope led the development of advanced materials and manufacturing processes that enable the creation of lighter, stronger, and more durable carbon fiber composite aircraft and spacecraft.
Dr. Pope was listed by the Sikh Network (a U.K. communication conglomerate) in 2017 as one of the top Sikh Women in the U.K.
Empowering Women in STEM Through the Inspiration of Space Exploration
Dr. Pope highlighted the importance of space exploration and its long-term benefits. “Because space exploration stimulates significant global investment and international partnerships, and because of its extremely challenging nature, it demands the development of cutting-edge technical capabilities and provides unique opportunities to address some of the global challenges facing society today. When nations work together on challenging space missions, this promotes international cooperation beyond the realm of space. No activity on Earth matches the unique challenges of space exploration. The first fifty years of space activity have generated benefits for people around the globe, and renewed investments in space exploration will have similarly positive impacts on future generations.”
Her interest in engineering began when she was a young girl. Manjit was the only girl in high school who opted for craft design and technology. Moreover, she was the only girl representing her high school and college at various university scholarship programs in engineering.
“In high school, I designed an alarm clock for the deaf. This inspired me to combine my passion for engineering and science for the greater good of humanity, a value I still hold dear,”said Dr. Pope
Dr. Pope is married with one son, age 9. She and her husband live in the U.K. Dr. Pope is affiliated with Coventry University, Warwick University, and Harvard University.
“The Space Force Association is honored to have Dr. Manjit Pope lead the Global Space Force Association in the U.K. and help develop additional partnerships with corporations to extend our international outreach,” stated Bill Woolf (Col. USAF, ret.) president and founder of the Space Force Association.
For more information on the International Chapters of the Space Force Association, email firstname.lastname@example.org.