Mrs. Simonetta CHELI

European Space Agency (ESA)

Mrs. Simonetta CHELI

Head of ESA Coordination Office

ESA Headquarters


1977-1982: High School “Dante Alighieri” (Florence, Italy)

1982-1983: Undergraduate student at Yale University (CT,USA). Studies in Law and Economics

1983-1987: Political Sciences Degree with focus on International Law – University “Cesare Alfieri” (Florence, Italy); Thesis on International Law “Principles of International Law in the field of Direct Broadcasting Satellites” Vote 110 cum laude

Oct-Dec 1985: Research at United nations (New York) and COMSAT (Washington, U.S.A)

April 1987: Course on Management and marketing at Procter and Gamble (Rome, Italy)

August 1988: CEC/Japan Study Programme for CEC trainees. Drafting of a report on high definition television (HDTV) in Europe and Japan

April 1991: Course on effective presentation techniques in English by Phoenix Training Limited

1994-1996: Diploma of advanced Studies (DEA) – Centre d’Études Diplomatiques et Stratégiques (Paris, France) ; Thesis on Information Society and the role of Europe

Oct. 1996: Course on leaders in the information Age: roles and responsibilities; Aspen Institute (Italy)

June 2002: Selection, Interview Training – ESA

Apr-June 2002: ESA management Development Programme – Oxford Limited (Brussels, Belgium)

Oct 2005: ESA Leadership I Course

April 2006: ESA Leadership II Course – Powerful Self Awareness and Communication

May 2007: Women Leadership Course – ESA


June 2015 – Present

European Space Agency (ESA)


8-10, rue Mario Nikis – 75015 Paris, FRANCE

March 2007 – June 2015

Head of Coordination Office, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes

ESA ESRIN (Frascati, Rome)

  • Relations with European Union and European entities
  • Relations with ESA Member States
  • Relations with Meteorological Organisations ( Eumetsat, ECMWF etc.)
  • International relations for the Earth Observation Directorate including CEOS and GEO
  • Coordinating the Director’s Office (preparation of Council, Ministerial meetings etc.)
  • Coordination of communication activities for the Directorate (launch campaigns, exhibits, VIP visits etc.)
  • Member of the European Commission GMES Advisory Committee and ESA joint undertaking Working Groups on communication on Galileo
  • Member of International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Earth Observations Committee
  • Co-Chair GEOSS Sub committee
  • Participation in numerous TEBS for ESA. Technical expert for some ESA studies (e.g. space contribution to the European Defence and Security Policy study)
  • Member of ESA /Portugal / Greece Task Force
  • Manages ESA participation to high level international conferences (e.g. COP, UN)

June 1999 – March 2007

Head of the Public and Institutional Relations Office

ESA ESRIN (Frascati, Rome)

  • Communication activities and institutional relations with Italy, Spain and Portugal
  • Coordination of corporate communication activities of ESA, in the field of Earth Observation, satellite navigation and telecommunications
  • Communication activities for ESRIN establishment and ESAC (Spain)
  • Media relations, set up of media partnerships, ESA Web page, spokesperson for ESA in Italy, Spain and Portugal
  • Responsible for Exhibits, VIP visits, preparation of relevant PR material
  • Management of satellite launch communication campaigns (Artemis, Envisat, Swarm, Cryosat, GOCE, Giove B etc.)

Oct. 1988 – Oct. 1997

Responsible for International Relations

Director General’s Cabinet – International Relations

ESA Headquarters (Paris, France)

  • Responsible for cooperation with the European Commission in Brussels.
  • Member of various Commission Working Groups (representing ESA in the Commissioner Bangemann Working Group on Satellite communication, satellite navigation WG) and expert in various European Commission studies.
  • Member of ESA / EC Working Group
  • In charge of relations with the European Parliament
  • International cooperation with Japan, South East Africa and Africa in the field of Space Programmes and Applications (telecommunications, remote sensing)
  • Negotiation of agreements in the utilization of space technologies and satellite data with international partners
  • Negotiation with legal affairs on bilateral cooperation agreements with Central and Eastern European Countries
  • Promotion of space related technologies through Cooperative programmes with governmental, regional and International organizations (CEC, Eutelsat, FAO, African development Bank, WEU, United Nations)
  • Coordination, organization and co-financing of training activities in Europe, Asia and Africa. Organization of training programmes at ESA establishments in Europe. Member of various EC expert groups and TEB       committees (on Data Policy)
  • Member of ESA’s delegations in CEOS Plenary and UNISPACE 3
  • Lecturer at ECSL Summer courses
  • Secretary of the Bilateral ESA/Japan Annual Meeting
  • Member of ESA Staff Associations (SAC) for three years
  • Member of ESTEC 2020 Working Group

Jan. 1988 – Sept. 1988

Research Contract with CNR

Research for a comparative study on the Italian Administration and the administrative system of the European Union

Sept. 1987 – Jan. 1988

Commission of the European Communities – Brussels

Remunerated stage at the Commission of European Communities,

Cabinet of Commissioner Ripa di Meana and General Directorate

(Culture, Information, Communication) (Brussels, Belgium)

  • Legal dossiers of the Division
  • Coordination with other European organisations on copyright and Europe Transfrontier Broadcasting directive


2014 Special team recognition award on Sentinel-1 satellite
2013-2012 Certificate of Appreciation by ESA for Contribution to SMOS Satellite
2013-2012 Special Prize for professional contribution to Master Satellite Programme – University of Rome
2012 ESA Team achievement award – ERS-2 16 Years of Operations
2112 ESA Award for Corporate Team Achievement – Envisat Operations and Exploitation Phase
2011 Special team recognition by ESA on the occasion of the launch CRYOSAT satellite
2010 Special team recognition by ESA on the occasion of the launch GOCE satellite
2009 ESA Award for Teamwork on the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’
2006 ESA Team achievement award for professional dedications to the successful ENEIDE Mission
2005 ESA Award for Outstanding performance, for significant contribution at ESA
2005-2004 Selected in the finals of the ROSA Prize. “Special prize for women in difficult careers” in Rome, Italy
2004 World Water Day decennial (1994-2004) award by Provincia of Bari, Italy
2003-2001 Certificate of appreciation for the creation of the new quality management systems of the Earth Observation Application Department of ESA (ISO 9001)
2001 Special team recognition by ESA on the occasion of the launch ENVISAT satellite
1995 Special team recognition by ESA on the occasion of the launch ERS-2 satellite
1991 Special team recognition by ESA on the occasion of the launch ERS-1 satellite

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