Azercosmos Leader Natavan Hasanova Champions Gender Equality in Space Sector

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Azercosmos, Azerbaijan’s national space agency, is a space agency embracing gender equality and investing in female leadership within the traditionally male-dominated space sector. Leading this is Natavan Hasanova, who shared insights recently in a Euronews report on the importance of representation and how it can inspire the next generation.

Established in 2010, Azercosmos operates the nation’s first telecommunications satellite Azerspace-1 and an Earth observation satellite Azersky. The agency provides satellite services to over 40 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. In addition to its commercial operations, Azercosmos plays a key role in developing Azerbaijan’s space ecosystem through educational programs, competitions, and international events like the International Astronautical Congress hosted in Baku in 2022.

Hasanova’s aspiration to contribute to socioeconomic development led her to join Azercosmos, where she found female role models “leading heavily technical departments and teams.”

“Seeing representation really makes it achievable,” she said. “I can do it as well.”

Now heading a gender-balanced team herself, Hasanova believes that it’s a good mixture of different perspectives that really gives a good result.” She takes pride in the space industry’s unique ability to “benefit humanity” through services like environmental monitoring to inform policy decisions.

Dedicated to nurturing future space leaders, Hasanova shared her knowledge as a mentor: “I see it as a process of planting a seed.”

Her mentorship efforts have already born fruit, with one mentee gaining admission to study space science at Harvard.

Hasanova’s vision extends far beyond her own accomplishments.

“I see more and more female leaders across all industries in Azerbaijan,” she said.

Her advice? “If you have vision and the direction you want to go, keep working and gradually the roles and ways will lead you to that. Shoot for the moon. If not the moon, you will end up among the stars.”

Through her leadership and passionate advocacy, Hasanova exemplifies how embracing gender diversity can propel innovation and inspire generations in the space industry and beyond.

Featured image: Credit: Euronews

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