International law firm Bird & Bird has had two of its people recognised in the 2017 New Year honours list: Joanne Wheeler, a partner in the London office has been awarded an MBE for her services to the UK space industry, while trainee Georgie Twigg received an MBE as part of the women's GB hockey team which won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Joanne is the founder and co-chair of the Satellite Finance Network, and is one of the leading practitioners in the satellites field, having worked at both the European Space Agency and Ofcom.
Joanne is an active contributor to promoting the UK space industry – and sits on the Council of the UK industry body UKspace.
Joanne said of the accolade:
"This is a huge honour. This is an exciting time for the UK space industry – a recent report from the UK Space Agency shows how the sector has continued to demonstrate strong growth and is now worth £13.7 billion to the UK economy. I look forward to continuing my work in this field."
Joanne Wheeler has previously been awarded the Financial Times Legal Innovator of the Year award in 2014 and was named in The Lawyer magazine's 'Hot 100 Lawyers'.
An elected fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Joanne has also been elected to the International Institute of Space Law and is the Deputy Chair of the International Law Association, British Branch's Space Law Committee. Until last month, Joanne was also Chair of the IBA Space Law Committee.
Georgie Twigg joined Bird & Bird as a trainee in September after winning Olympic gold as part of the women's GB hockey team at Rio. She said:
"I am deeply honoured to receive an MBE alongside my teammates. 2016 was a very special year for me, but I am enjoying the new challenges of my training contract at Bird & Bird just as much."