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Issue 15
issue pic Pascale Sourisse joined Thales in 2007 as Senior Vice President, member of the Executive Committee.

Since May 1st, 2008, Pascale Sourisse is General Manager of the Land & Joint Systems Division. Located in twenty countries, with 13,000 employees and annual revenues in excess of 3.1 Bn Euros, the Thales Land & Joint Systems Division is a worldwide leader in Defense Communications and Command, Control and Information Systems, Optronics and Solutions for Land Forces.

Pascale Sourisse was previously General Manager of the Thales Space Division and President and Chief Executive Officer of Thales Alenia Space (a JV between Thales -67%- and Finmeccanica -33%-; formerly Alcatel Alenia Space), a global leader in satellites systems.

She was President and CEO of Alcatel Alenia Space from 2005 to April 2007 and of Alcatel Space from 2001 to 2005.

Pascale Sourisse joined Alcatel Space in 1995, as Director, Strategy and Planning. Two years later she was appointed President and CEO of SkyBridge LP, a company incorporated in Delaware, USA, to develop and operate a global satellite-based network.

Prior to joining Alcatel Space, Pascale Sourisse held various management positions at the French Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade, and France Telecom.

From 2002 to 2008, she was President of Eurospace, the Association of European Space Industries, member of the Council of ASD, the European Association for Aerospace and Defense Industries and member of the board of GIFAS, the French Association for Aerospace and Defense Industries.

Pascale Sourisse is also a member of the Board of Directors of Vinci.

Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour and Officier of the National Order of Merit, Pascale Sourisse is a Graduate of Ecole Polytechnique (1981) and of Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (1986).

1) How did you get started in the satellite business?

I have always been very interested in high technology, particularly in the Telecommunications and IT sector.

After several years spent with France Telecom and the French Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade, I was offered a position as Head of Planning and Strategy at Alcatel Space. Although I had had the opportunity to work on certain matters related to satellite-based communications in my previous years, Alcatel Space offered me my first true in-depth exposure to the satellite business. I was then appointed as President & CEO of SkyBridge Limited Partnership, a JV involving many shareholders in North America, Europe and Asia aimed at deploying a global broadband satellite network for high-speed Internet access.

In 2001, I was appointed CEO of Alcatel Space which then became Alcatel Alenia Space following the merger of the Alcatel and Finmeccanica space activities. The Company is now Thales Alenia Space, a JV between Thales (67 %) and Finmeccanica (33 %). It generated € 2 Bn revenues in 2008.

2) How have you been involved in changes brought about in or by this business (innovations, technologies, services)?

Thales Alenia Space (previously Alcatel Alenia Space and Alcatel Space) has always been very much focused on innovation. In the field of satellite-based communications, huge increases have occurred in satellite transmission capacities as well as flexibility and performance of services offered, making it possible to deliver to both fixed and mobile users high-power broadcast services in a variety of frequency bands, and enhanced point-to-point services.

Thales Alenia Space has been very much involved in developing these new technologies and in investing in various initiatives aimed at providing new services (Internet access, mobile TV, etc.). Beyond the Telecom sector, Thales Alenia Space has also substantially invested in optical and radar observation technologies meteorology and environment monitoring solutions as well as scientific programs such as the Herschel & Planck satellites.

3) What do you think was the greatest event/situation/opportunity you experienced?

Market growth in the field of services has generated a fantastic growth opportunity for the satellite manufacturing business. Combined with a few consolidation steps (Alcatel Space + Aerospatiale satellites in 1998, Alcatel Space + Alenia Spazio in 2005), this has enabled Alcatel Space which was a 400 M€ business 15 years ago, to become Thales Alenia Space with € 2 Bn revenues in 2008. These consolidation steps have also generated very interesting challenges to take up from a cultural standpoint to successfully integrate businesses with teams coming from different backgrounds, countries and corporate cultures.

4) What was the greatest obstacle?

This industry is regularly facing significant downturns. In the last ten years, the biggest one took place following the explosion of the Internet bubble and led to a very low level of orders placed with the manufacturing industry. Under such circumstances, manufacturers have to launch restructuring plans leading to manpower reduction. The challenge then is to maintain critical competencies in order to be able to efficiently seize opportunities when recovery comes. Let's hope that the current economic & financial crisis will not have such serious consequences on industry.

5) What do you see happening in the next five years in this industry?

A new recovery can be expected when the consequences of the current economic and financial crisis are over.

We expect satellite services to continue to grow with a large share for broadcast applications. There will be an increased diversity of applications and services for both fixed and mobile users. Technology evolution with diversified frequency bands and enhanced performances will continue to support the growth of services.

We expect satellite-based communications to play an increased role in a number of countries that are still low users at the moment thus contributing to the important objective of reducing the digital divide.

In the field of earth observation and environment monitoring, we expect satellite solutions to be used by a growing number of countries.

In the field of science, we expect great achievements thanks to satellite technologies.

6) What advice do you have for women interested in entering the industry?

Space is a fascinating sector. It offers very diversified carrier opportunities with different types of players: satellite operators, service providers, manufacturers, space agencies, research bodies, etc. It offers the opportunity to participate in large strategic projects.

Space activities will continue to play in the future a prominent role in the field of science and research, environment monitoring, Defense, as well as the commercial sector of telecommunications and broadcast.

Choosing the space industry is certainly a very good decision to make and it also offers possibilities for carrier evolution in many other sectors.

One recommendation I would like to make to women with an engineering background is to take very operational jobs on programs. This is exciting and gives a solid experience to take high-level management positions later.


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Issue No. 15:
Women in Space

Spring 2009

General Editor Introduction

From the Guest Editor

Audrey Allison, Dir., Frequency Management Services, Boeing Shared Services Group

Anita Antenucci, Managing Dir. Houlihan Lokey's Aerospace-Defense-Government

Dr. Wanda M. Austin Pres. & CEO, The Aerospace Corporation

Julie Bannerman, Gen.Counsel, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Sharri Berg, Senior V.P., News Operations, Fox News

Leslie Blaker, DataPath, Inc.

Yvonne Brill, Consultant, Satellite Tech. & Space Propulsion Systems

Michelle Bryan, Senior V.P., Human Resources, Intelsat

Dr. Angie Bukley, Ph.D., Electrical Engineering

Catherine Chang, General Counsel & Asst. Company Secretary, AsiaSat

Sabrina Cubbon, Gen. Manager, Marketing, AsiaSat

Yvette Dominguez, Manager, Payload Design Engineering Section, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Chris Ehrenbard, Dir., Broadcast Distribution, CBS

Mary Ann Elliot, Chairman of the Board, Arrowhead Global Solutions, Inc.

Celeste Ford, Founder & CEO, Stellar Solutions, Inc.

Mary Frost, former CEO, GlobeCast America

Eilene Galloway, NASA Pioneer

Carmen González-Sanfeliu, V.P., Latin America & Caribbean, Intelsat

Dawn Harms, V.P., Marketing & Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Ellen Hoff, Pres., W.L. Pritchard & Co., L.C.

Polly Rash Hollis, Satellite Industry Professional

Britt Horncastle, Satellite Consultant

Susan Irwin, Pres., Irwin Communications, Inc.

Barbara Jaffe, Senior V.P., Advanced Technology and Operations, HBO

Christine King, Deputy V.P., Technical Services & Engineering, Lockheed Martin

Betsy Kulick, Newsletter Editor & Corporate Secretary, Mobile Satellite Users Association

Penelope Longbottom, Founder & Pres., Longbottom Communications

Joanne Maguire, Exec. V.P., Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

Andrea Maléter, Technical Dir., Futron Corporation

Joan T. Mancuso, Founder & Executive, Broadband International LLC

Dolores Martos, V.P., Sales for Latin America & Caribbean, SES Americom - SES New Skies

Brig. Gen. Susan K. Mashiko, Vice Commander, Space & Missile Systems Center, L.A. Air Force Base

Eileen McGowan, Corporate Strategy & Planning, Intelsat

Olwen Morgan, Development Engineer

Bridget Neville, V.P. & Gen. Manager, Satellite Engineering & Operations, Sirius XM Radio

Christine Paape, V.P., Space Explorers, Inc.

Rhonda Parson, Manager, Occasional-Use Sales & Traffic Division, EchoStar Satellite Services

Maj. Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Deputy Dir., National Reconnaissance Office

Jane Petro, Kennedy Space Center Deputy Director

Dr. Nongluck Phinainitisart, D.Eng., Pres., Thaicom PLC

Mary Quagliotti, Retired Major General, Army

Radhika Ramachandran, Ph.D., Counsellor (SPACE) & Technical Liaison Officer

Veena Rawat, Pres., Communications Research Centre, Canada

Joslyn Read, V.P., Regulatory Affairs, SES Americom - SES New Skies

Walda Roseman, Founder & CEO, CompassRose International, Inc.

Farah Suhanah Ahmad Sarji, General Counsel, MEASAT

Jacqueline Schenkel, Founder, Schenkel & Associates, LLC

Kay Sears, Pres., Intelsat General

Gwynne Shotwell, Pres., SpaceX

Marcia Smith, Pres., Space Technology Policy Group, LLC

Pascale Sourisse, Gen. Manager, Land & Joint Systems Division, Thales

Andy Steinem, CEO, Dahl-Morrow International

Nicole P. Stott, Astronaut, NASA

Bambi Taskarelli, Voice/Data Engineer, NBCU

Leslie Taylor, Strategic Planning Division Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Synette Tom, Marketing Dir., Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Marjorie Rhodes Townsend, Satellite Communications Consultant

Diane Tryneski, Senior V.P., Broadcast & Studio Operations, HBO

Diane VanBeber, V.P., Investor Relations, Corporate & Marketing Communications, Intelsat

Barbara Warren, Systems Analyst, International Telecommunication Union

Zhang Yan, Gen. Manager, CITICSat and Chief Rep., Asiasat

UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology: Astronomy Blog

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