The JSRI Analog Team is dedicated to organizing the first ever analog space mission in Jordan. 

Leadership Team

Mission Director

Sahba El-Shawa

Sahba El-Shawa is a Jordanian-Canadian interdisciplinary researcher and social entrepreneur originally from Palestine. She founded the Jordan Space Research Initiative (JSRI) and is actively involved in the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and the Moon Village Association (MVA). In SGAC, Sahba Co-leads the Ethics and Human Rights project group as well as the Space for Climate Action policy division. She is also the Implementation Support Officer for the MVA's Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities (GEGSLA). Sahba holds a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia and an MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University. Currently pursuing her PhD in Sustainable Development and Climate Change, her research centers on the neuropsychological basis of the Overview Effect and how it can drive sustainable behavior on Earth using Virtual Reality. During her studies, she collaborated with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) on robotics research and completed a traineeship at the European Space Agency’s Clean Space initiative, focusing on the environmental impacts of space activities. Sahba is a vocal advocate for decoupling defense and space, and promoting a more equitable, ethical, and sustainable future in space.

Research Co-lead

Lucie Ráčková

Lucie Ráčková is a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Physiology and a member of the Rectors’ work group for space research and astronautics at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. Her specialization is stress reactions in natural isolation experiments. She conducted research in the Czech summer Antarctic expedition, in CHILL-ICE II space analogue mission by ICEE.Space. She also became analogue astronaut in the Venus mission at Ares station during her internship at the Neuropsychology and Experimental Psychology Laboratory at the University of Cádiz. Currently, she is involved in several space analogue mission research projects as a principal investigator, advisor, or research coordinator in collaboration with Asclepios, Lunares, ICEE.Space, Österreichisches Weltraum Forum, Human design Group, MEDES CNES, TU Delft. She is also involved in Entrant Ltd. company and National Point of Contact for ICEE.Space. 

Research Co-lead

Tommaso Tonina 

Tommaso Tonina is an Italian-born space entrepreneur who currently resides in San Francisco, California. He holds a degree in Astronautics and Space Engineering MSc from Cranfield University (UK) and completed the Space Studies Program at the International Space University. Tommaso is the co-founder and Chief of Frontier Space Technologies, a UK-based space hardware startup that specializes in two innovative products, a drag sail that deorbits space debris, and a miniaturized shoe-box sized lab for biomedical research in space. With almost a decade of experience in mentoring university students and young professionals, Tommaso is passionate about space exploration, and his research experience includes leading a team in designing a revolutionary spacecraft with a continuously accelerating engine and leading a team within the United Nations SGAC that studies the design of a long-term lunar rover for water ISRU. Tommaso is also the co-founder and President of Space Pioneers, a non-profit association that encourages young people to pursue their dreams.

Operations Co-lead

Jehan Shalabi

Jehan Shalabi is a first-generation Arab American of Palestinian descent, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Purdue University. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Jehan's passion for space ignited during her internship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center at the age of 17, where she contributed to the development of a critical database used in spacecraft design. She continued her research endeavors as a McNair Scholar and a 2021 research intern at MIT, where she worked with the Robust Robotics Group. Jehan was also a part of the NASA L’SPACE Mission Concept Academy, where she completed a preliminary design review of a concept mission aimed at efficiently extracting minerals underground and on the surface of Mars. Currently, Jehan works in the Electrodynamics Group at the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University, focusing on electromagnetic fields and optics with the goal of advancing thermal sensors and devices for space applications. Her ultimate career goal is to become an astronaut researcher and inspire the next generation to aim for the stars.

Operations Co-lead

Zaina Abu Sha'ar

Zaina Abu Sha'ar holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology. Her career has included an internship at NASA Ames Research Center, where she worked as a part of the Mission Design Center. During her time at NASA, Zaina focused on designing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of conducting remote sensing surveys of geomagnetic fields while testing a payload in the CubeSat form factor. Zaina was also a member in  the Mechanical and Structural Subsystem team of the Crown Prince Foundation's MASAR, the initiative responsible for designing and building Jordan's first CubeSat. She has also gained valuable experience in project management, having worked as the Head of the Projects Department at iPARK, the leading business incubator in Jordan. Currently, Zaina is a core team member at the Jordan Space Research Initiative (JSRI) and is pursuing a Master's degree in Space Engineering Systems at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology. Her research focuses on space mission design and systems engineering.

Partnerships Lead

Agnieszka Elwertowska

Agnieszka Elwertowska is an engineer, researcher, and analog astronaut. Since 2017, she has been working hard to become a real astronaut in the future. She has participated in many simulations of space missions, such as the first CHILL-ICE Mission inside an Icelandic lava tube. In 2022, she created the Otherworld Research Team, which organized the first-ever Polish-Brazilian simulation of a Martian Mission in Habitat Marte, Brazil. Additionally, she serves as an Attorney of the Polish Astronaut 2030 Foundation, which aims to prepare and train future Polish astronauts. She has been a Career Astronaut Candidate at AdvancingX company for over 2 years. In 2022, she was named in Forbes 30 under 30. Despite her many successes, she continues to strive for self-improvement. Currently, she is pursuing a Master's degree in Management, having previously graduated in Computer Science.

Communications Lead

Hope Byrd

Hope Byrd is a multidisciplinary professional with experience in photography, space research, and climate science. She is currently a Research Operations and Product Manager for Space 4 All, a startup aiming to democratize space technology's benefits for off- and on-world environmental applications. Concurrently, she works as an Outreach Officer for the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) and as a Photographer for GoDaddy, with a recent history in Emergency Disaster Relief work gaining experience in project and operations management, science outreach, and communication. Hope is completing her second degree in Environmental Studies from Oregon State University, previously earning her Bachelor of Science in Arts Administration with a Marketing and Cultural Studies concentration from the University of New Orleans. She holds certifications in High Altitude Hypoxia Awareness Training, Third-Class Medical Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration, and is pursuing a Geographic Information Science (GIScience) Certificate. In her free time, Hope volunteers as a photographer, artists, culture bearers, small businesses, and space enthusiasts (STEM youth and industry veterans) usually the subject of her lens.

Jordan Representatives

Spacesuit Design

Salam Abualhayjaa

Salam Abualhayjaa is a recent graduate of Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. She specializes in spacesuit design and her senior design project included a spacesuit with a sustainable cooling system made of composite materials to cover and cool the entire body. Salam also won the JSRI Spacesuit Design Competition in 2021 and designed Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) suits for a lunar analog space mission with Asclepios. These suits were designed to be flexible, easy-to-use, and had a cooling system to prevent astronauts from overheating. Salam also designed other spacesuits and components such as an anti-fogging system for the helmet visor, and addressed mobility issues by adding working bearings at the shoulders, elbows, and waist to ensure equal pressure distribution inside the spacesuit. Her passion for space exploration has inspired her to pursue her dream of becoming an astronaut.


Shathar Alobeidat

Shathar Alobeidat is a researcher with a BSc. in Pharmacy and an ongoing pursuit of an MSc. in Nanoscience and Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology. Shathar is interested in aerospace medicine and her scientific pursuit is channeled through the exploration of the intersections of nanotechnology, pharmaceutical science and space health. Shathar is dedicated to promoting advancements in healthcare outcomes, with a particular focus on driving progress in women's health research.


Lana Albalkhi

Lana Albalkhi is a talented student of chemical engineering who has a strong passion for the space industry. Her experience in creating analog spacesuits and conducting research on manufacturing in space and propulsion systems has fueled her vision to inspire human curiosity and serve as a role model for women empowerment, particularly in the MENA region. Her dedication to this cause is driven by her desire to ignite a sense of wonder in people and pave the way for future generations of women to pursue careers in STEM.  


Jenan Bayari

Jenan Bayari is a mechanical engineer who graduated from Jordan University of Science and Technology in 2022. She is presently employed as a global sourcing engineer for a Saudi Arabian company, and has previously worked as a design and research engineer for various automation projects. Jenan's passion lies in space research, with a keen interest in spacecraft design, composite materials, and 3D printing technologies.


Raghad Nedal

Raghad Nedal, a space enthusiast and mechatronics engineering student, understands the immensity of the universe, but also the potential we have to explore it. She has taken an active role in the scientific community as a former leader in IEEE RAS and science mission head in an observatory team. Raghad is also an active member of IEEE AEES, the Analog Astronaut community, and a content writer for Astro jo. Her dedication to exploring the universe and pushing the boundaries of what we know is a reminder that our potential is just as vast as the universe itself.


Dana Madanat

Dana Madanat holds a Masters in Applied Linguistics from Mutah University with research interests in the areas of Phonology, Discourse Analysis, Language Acquisition, and Sociolinguistics. Additionally, she has a Bachelor of Arts in European Languages in French and English. Dana has presented at numerous conferences and published academic articles on Phonology and Language Acquisition. With over 10 years of experience, she is an accredited teacher capable of identifying and supporting the unique needs of students from diverse backgrounds. Recently, she received a Training of Trainers certification from ILM through The Arab International Society for Management and Technology and is now a Qualified Trainer. Dana also collaborates with non-governmental organizations in Jordan as a teacher, trainer, and translator. She is passionate about preserving cultural heritage and contributing to Jordan's first steps in space exploration.