Payload Pioneers 2023: Jennifer Horowitz

Mapping the Earth from space provides obvious benefits for defense and navigation, but Jennifer Horowitz, Maxar’s senior technical strategic partnerships lead, believes the technology has much broader implications.

“Jennifer’s approach has introduced space-based geospatial data into novel industries such as video gaming and virtual production,” Kristin Carringer, the director of enterprise comms at Maxar, wrote in her nomination. “Jennifer has been instrumental in helping non-traditional industries understand how they can harness the power of geospatial data.”

How she got here: Horowitz’s fascination with satellite data began in college, when she used imagery collected in space for her undergraduate thesis at Harvard.

“Intrigued by the societal ramifications of Saddam Hussein’s regime on the Southern Iraqi Marshlands, I employed satellite imagery to document the evolving landscape of these historic marshlands, the ancestral homeland of the Ma’dan people,” she said. “It affirmed the broader potential of satellite data when approached with fresh perspectives.”

She went on to get dual master’s degrees in spatial data science from USC and technology and design at Harvard, and wrote her graduate thesis on bridging the gap between the geospatial and gaming industries.

Space for everyone: Horowitz is seeking to spread the word that the space industry is for everyone. “I believe that individuals with diverse backgrounds can make significant contributions to our community through their unique vantage points,” she said. 

She continually strives to challenge and dismantle the notion that space is just for people with a deep background in space or geospatial tech “by building bridges between the space community and sectors yet to realize its untapped potential,” she said. 

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