Indian-origin space industry expert Aarti Holla-Maini has been named the new Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Vienna by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Aarti Holla-Maini will take over from Simonetta Di Pippo of Italy.
The main focus of UNOOSA is to encourage international cooperation in the peaceful utilisation and exploration of space, while also promoting the practical use of space science and technology to attain sustainable economic and social development.
She remarked, “Our assets in space deliver benefits that are instrumental for sustainable development and addressing global challenges. Preserving the space environment for continued innovation and exploration is therefore akin to bettering life on Earth now and for future generations – an imperative no one can deny.”
Aarti Holla-Maini, with more than 25 years of experience in the space industry, has been appointed as the Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. Prior to assuming this role, she served as the Executive Vice-President of Sustainability, Policy & Impact at NorthStar Earth & Space. Holla-Maini also held the position of Secretary-General at the Global Satellite Operators Association for a remarkable 18 years.
Her expertise extends to various notable positions, including being a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space and the Advisory Group of the Space Sustainability Rating managed by eSpace at the École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) Space Center.
She has also contributed as a member of the Advisory Board of the Satellite Industry Association of India. Additionally, she served as a Senior Space Policy Advisor to Forum Europe and an Expert Advisor on Space Traffic Management for European Union studies from 2021 to 2023.
Notably, Holla-Maini played a vital role in the development of the Crisis Connectivity Charter, established in 2015. This charter aimed to facilitate emergency telecommunications using satellite technology, working closely with the UN World Food Program’s Emergency Telecommunications Cluster.
Aarti Holla-Maini is a highly qualified individual, holding a bachelor’s degree in law with German law from King’s College London in the United Kingdom. She further pursued her education by obtaining a master’s degree in business administration from HEC Paris in France.
Additionally, Holla-Maini is an alumna of the prestigious International Space University, which reflects her commitment to expanding her knowledge and expertise in the field of space. She possesses fluency in multiple languages, including English, French, German, and Punjabi. Furthermore, she possesses a moderate level of proficiency in Dutch.