Biography:Natalya Bailey

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Natalya Bailey
Natalya Anna Brikner

Oregon, US
Alma materSan Diego State University
Duke University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forAccion Systems Co-Founder & CEO
Scientific career
FieldsAerospace engineer
InstitutionsAccion Systems, Inc.
ThesisOn the Identification and Mitigation of Life-limiting Mechanisms of Ionic Liquid Ion Sources Envisaged for Propulsion of Microspacecraft (2015)
Academic advisorsPaulo Lozano

Natalya Bailey (born 1987) is an American aerospace engineer and co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the space start-up Accion Systems Inc.


Bailey received her bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering in 2008 from San Diego State University. She then completed her master's degree in mechanical engineering at Duke University in 2011 before attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received her Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics in 2015.[1] At MIT, she conducted her doctoral research in the Space Propulsion Laboratory, directed by Paulo Lozano.[2]

Research & Accion Systems

Bailey's graduate research became the foundation for Accion Systems, which she co-founded in 2014 with fellow MIT graduate Louis Perna.[3][4] During her doctoral work, she helped invent a working prototype for a small engine for small satellites using liquid ion propulsion—or electrospray propulsion—technology.[5][6] The prototype, which is about the same size as a deck of cards, was the first of its kind and will allow small satellites to remain on orbit for longer periods of time.[7] Small satellites are better suited to avoiding collisions with debris and can reach further orbits to more distant planets and asteroids, enabling further space exploration.[7] The technology can also be scaled up to provide propulsion for larger spacecrafts.

Accion is currently working to commercialize the technology, which has the benefit of being more cost effective to manufacture and has significant safety advantages over more traditional engine systems because the engine doesn't require toxic propellants or pressurized tanks to work.[8][9] Since its founding, Accion Systems has been awarded a $3 million Rapid Innovation Fund contract through the United States Department of Defense and has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Shasta Ventures.[10][11] In October 2018, Boeing announced to invest in Accion Systems Inc. The project will lead the development of satellite propulsion for low and medium Earth orbit and deep space.[12][13]

Awards & Honors

  • The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) 2019 Abie Award: Emerging Technologist [14]
  • 35 Innovators Under 35, MIT Technology Review, 2018[15]
  • 30 Under 30, Inc, 2017[16][17]
  • Women to Watch, Boston Business Journal, 2017[18]
  • Forbes 30 Under 30, 2016[19]


  1. "Women to Watch: Natalya Bailey — Founder and CEO of Accion Systems Inc.". 
  2. On the identification and mitigation of life-limiting mechanisms of ionic liquid ion sources envisaged for propulsion of microspacecraft (Thesis). Paulo C. Lozano., Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics., Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2015. hdl:1721.1/97350.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. Brewster, Signe. "How one woman became a rocket scientist, inventor, and CEO before her 30th birthday" (in en). MIT Technology Review. 
  4. Bandits, Space. "How I Went From Doing Research At MIT To Building A Successful Satellite Company" (in en). Space Bandits. 
  5. Method and apparatus for a porous electrospray emitter, 2013-03-15,, retrieved 2018-08-10 
  6. Brikner, Natalya; Lozano, Paulo C. (2012-11-05). "The role of upstream distal electrodes in mitigating electrochemical degradation of ionic liquid ion sources" (in en). Applied Physics Letters 101 (19): 193504. doi:10.1063/1.4766293. ISSN 0003-6951. Bibcode2012ApPhL.101s3504B. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Accion Systems' Natalya Bailey Named To MIT Technology Review's 2018 Innovators Under 35 List" (in en). 
  8. "Natalya Bailey helped create a system to propel tiny satellites via electrical energy." (in en). MIT Technology Review. 
  9. "Ion Engine Startup Wants to Change the Economics of Earth Orbit". 
  10. "Accion Systems Awarded $3 Million DOD Contract - Via Satellite -" (in en-US). Via Satellite. 2015-06-18. 
  11. "Accion Systems raises $7.5 million in Series A to accelerate production of miniature space thrusters" (in en-US). TechCrunch. 
  12. "Boeing investing in satellite propulsion startup -" (in en-US). 2018-10-10. 
  13. "". 
  14. "Announcing the 2019 Abie Award Winner: s". 
  15. "Innovators Under 35 | 2018" (in en). MIT Technology Review. 
  16. "How This Founder's Alien Obsession Launched Her Company--Into Outer Space". 2017-04-25. 
  17. "How a First Date Led to a Prototype, a Startup, and a Marriage". 2017-05-05. 
  18. "Women To Watch | 2018" (in en). Boston Business Journal. 
  19. "Louis Perna, 28, Natalya Brikner, 29". Bailey was the original source. Read more.