Space industry recruitment company HE Space will continue its partnership with SBIC Noordwijk as both a community and competition partner for another year.

We talked to Managing Director of the Dutch branch of HE Space, Keith Muirhead, about this partnership.

For those who don’t know the company, what is HE Space all about?  

Keith Muirhead
Keith Muirheid, HE Space

Keith: “HE Space specializes in human resources services for the space sector. We’ve seen growth for about the last 15 years, and are expanding a lot. For large organisations like ESA to small businesses like SMEs or startups, we help with recruitment – also in the short term. We know where and how to find the right people.” 

How would you describe the state of recruitment in this sector right now? 

“There are some obvious challenges now like COVID-19 and Brexit, but on the plus side, the entire industry is growing. It’s tremendously lively, especially when it comes to startups. It makes us thrive as well.” 

How can HE Space support our network? 

“We like to support space startups in the SBIC Noordwijk network. A typical startup consists of a small team, but after a while, we can help when you ask yourself: ‘We need to grow! How do we do that?’ We think of this every day. Not only for large organisations, helping space startups has been part of our work for a while now.

Why did HE Space become both a community & competition partner? 

“We do this for two reasons. First: we already feel part of the community and we want to help. SBIC Noordwijk is a classic place for us where we can provide some positive input. Next: the competitions. It’s a great opportunity for our engineers or even myself to be part of. To participate, to judge, be an advisor: just to get involved. It’s a lot of fun too! I’ve been a jury member several times now, for instance to the Copernicus Hackathon Leiden. It’s stimulating to be around smart people with smart ideas.” 

Keith’s mindset is very clear when talking about his motivation in the industry. As the contact person to our community, we asked him some personal questions as well: 

Keith, what motivates you on a day to day basis? 

“I’ve been in this industry for 40 years now, and still get a kick out of the technology of space. Even after this length of time I still appreciate it. At HE Space we have about 200 people working for us. All really smart, and a lot of fun to talk to. It’s pleasant to get to know what they’re all about. Some of them are working in Human Spaceflight, some in Astrophysics…and they are all super enthusiastic. It’s energizing really. For me it would be hard to imagine myself in any other sector.” 

Having said that, what do you like most about space? 

“John F. Kennedy once said:We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard’. In this sector, there’s no easy stuff. Even when some people have done 20 rocket launches, they are still crossing their fingers. That makes it all exciting. You can only admire the skill of the people that come up with it all.” 

Last question: what do people not know about you? 

“I’m also a rugby coach! Right now I am the Amsterdam University coach, and I have coached in Leiden and Delft before, as well as the national students team. It’s a small sport in The Netherlands, but just like space, they are just a very enthusiastic bunch of people. So next to recruitment, you can ask me anything about rugby!”

Martijn Leinweber, COO SBIC Noordwijk, about the partnership: “We are delighted to continue this partnership with HE Space. They can help our ESA BIC startups in search of qualified personnel, and they are literally close to us on the NL Space Campus. Next to that I personally really enjoy the participation and expertise of Keith in the jury of a hackathon!”


Are you also interested in our partnerships, or just curious about what’s possible? Then have a look at our partner page: