Dr. Marco C. Bernasconi

Born in Bellinzona (Ticino), Switzerland in 1950.

Marco C. Bernasconi is an expert in lightweight structures, astronautical systems, and astronautics and society assessments. During his career he gained extensive experience in the development of ultralight structure technologies and application designs. He has repeatedly served as a consultant to the European Space Agency (ESA) for futures assessment (1995-97, 2001-2003), and contributed to a number of study groups within the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), of which he’s been a full member since 1995. Dr. Bernasconi has collaborated with various artists in their development of space-oriented, advanced-technology projects. A well-appreciated speaker, he has lectured on large space structures at the International Space University (ISU), and on basic fluid mechanics at the ETH.

At Contraves he originated the effort on chemically-rigidized, inflatable space structures (ISRS) that in the 1980s brought to the Division international recognition in the field of large space structures. Between 1979 and 1986, that effort grew out of a 150-kAU study, via a 1-MAU technology bridge, into a set of development contracts exceeding 4.65 MAU placed by ESTEC.

Dr. Bernasconi speaks Italian, English, French, and German, and has published or co-authored more than fifty papers, primarily on large space structures, planetary surface locomotion, and the relation of Astronautics to society. He has lectured on large space structures at the International Space University. For the IAA’s Symposia on Space Activities & Society, he organized and chaired sessions between 1994-1999.

2003 – presentFree-lance researcher, consultant & proprietor, MCB Consultants
2002-2003Head, Astronautics Division & partner, Andromeda srl
1998-2000Scientific Director for Technologies of the Frontier
1990-1998Vice-President, The OURS Foundation (Basle/ Embrach)
1989-2002Principal Engineer for mechanical systems studies (e.g.: PSDE antenna studies, Huygens mechanisms, Biolab studies, MIDD development, solar sailing studies, technology assessments); R&D Dept, Contraves Space AG
1987-1988Senior scientist, ISRS technology (QUASAT Phase A consultant to ESA, space interferometry study); Contraves, Space Department;
1986-1989Advisor to the Orbiting Unification Ring Satellite (OURS) Project
1982-1986System engineer & study leader, for inflatable, space-rigidized structures (ISRS) technology development contracts (e.g. telecom& QUASAT reflectors, FIRST shield); Contraves, Space Department
1978-1982Project engineer, Large space structures study, Contraves AG
1974-1978Teaching Assistant, Institute for Aerodynamics, ETHZ
1972Industrial internship, Contraves AG, Zurich (FEM program development)

Selected further professional activities

  • Reviewer for Cosmic Studies of the IAA, for Elsevier’s Acta Astronautica, and for AIAA Gossamer Spacecraft Fora.
  • Expert Evaluator for the EC FP7.
  • Member, Technical Advisory Panel, ECCOMAS/ IACM International Conference on Textile Composites & Inflatable Structures – Structural Membranes – VI (2013), V (2011), IV (2009), III (2007), II (2005); Organizer and Chairman, for a number of Sessions.
  • Committee Member, IAA/ ESA/ CASI 2nd Space and Society Conference — Space Options for the 21st Century ESTEC (The Netherlands), February 27 – March 1, 2007.
  • Chairman, Session on “Inflatable/ Deployable Structures — Inflatable Structures”, European Conference on Spacecraft Structures, Materials & Mechanical Testing, ESTEC (The Netherlands), May 10-12, 2005.
  • Member, Technical Committee for the 2nd European Workshop on Inflatable Space Structures (EWISS2), Tivoli (Italy), June 21-23, 2004
  • Member, AIAA Gossamer Spacecraft Program Committee (GSPC), 2003-2005
  • ESA-Invited speaker, future technologies, ASI 1st Futuristic Workshop, Trieste (Italy), May 5-7, 2002.
  • Member IAA Commission 3, 2001-2003
  • Member, IAA Committee on Economics of Space Operation, 2001-2003.
  • Member of the ESTEC Innovation Working Group & of the Committee for the “Innovation for Competitiveness” Workshop, 1996-1997.
  • Invited participant, IAA Committee on Small Satellite Missions’ Workshop on Small satellites for European Countries Emerging in Space Technology, Maynooth (Ireland), May 1996.
  • Invited Participant, ESA Space 2020 Round Table (June), then Member, “Space 2020” Working Group, 1995.
  • Founding Chairman, Working Group on a Comprehensive Rationale for Astronautics (CORASPA) under the IAA Committee on Space Activities and Society, 1993-1997
  • Member, IAA Committee on Space Activities and Society, 1993-1997.
  • Special witness on the Space Option Concept before the ESA European Long-Term Space Policy Planning Committee, January 1995.
  • Invited participant, International Lunar Workshop, Beatenberg (Switzerland), May-June 1994.
  • Secretary and Proceedings Editor, The First European Space Art Workshop, Montreux (Switzerland), 21-27 March 1992.
  • Chairman, Cost Models Working Party of the Eurospace Small Satellites Group.
  • Organizing Co-chairman, Session 1 of the yearly International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Symposium on Space Activities and Society (1994-1998).
  • Contributor, Swiss Consultative Commission on Space Affairs’ “Spaceflight & Switzerland” report on future space policy, 1984.
  • Member, Eurospace Future Prospects Group, 1982-1984.
  • Delegate to the Swiss Consultative Commission on Space Affairs’ study on the European Remote Sensing Satellite, 1981.
  • Contributor, Eurospace’s Paper on the Future Structure of European Space Activities, 1979.

List of Publications:

Contact: Rüternstrasse 10, CH-8953 Dietikon, Switzerland