Payload Pioneers 2023: Léa Duthil

Léa Duthil considers herself a professional stargazer.

Only a year out of school, the 24-year-old engineer is already making an impact on keeping the orbital environment safe. As an astronomer, engineer, and head of production at French space situational awareness startup Share My Space, Duthil spends her days tracking satellites and debris to prevent catastrophic collisions in space.

“With space assets facing skyrocketing threats, Léa’s work is essential to guarantee citizens’ access to essential services,” the leadership of Share My Space wrote in her nomination. “Her commitment to space sustainability has already incentivized others to get involved in this critical field.”

Eyes on space: Duthil decided to pursue physics after reading “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking and pursued the subject at school in France and Scotland. Now, her focus on space awareness allows her to flex her creative muscles as well as practice her scientific talents.

“Thanks to the variety of customers and partners I interface with, I am able to communicate daily on previously disregarded issues in the industry: how to make operations safer, more responsible and how to deal with the space junk created by decades of thoughtless space use,” Duthil said.

Space for all: As a young woman working in the space industry, Duthil is working towards a future where everyone’s voices are heard and valued. 

“In a male-dominated industry, it can sometimes be tough to get your point across…I am confident that I am showing others that anyone can be heard if you speak loud enough,” Duthil said. “I hope to participate in the creation of a space community that represents humankind.”

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