Harris Announces Advisory Group Members

Harris Announces Advisory Group Members

Vice President Kamala Harris has announced the members of the external advisory group for the White House National Space Council. The 30-person list is heavy on industry representation — both traditional and novel space companies — as well as individuals from the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) fields and from the climate community.

Gen. Lester Lyles (Ret.). Photo Credit: NASA

Gen. Lester Lyles (Ret.) will chair the Users’ Advisory Group or UAG. He was a member of the UAG under then-Vice President Mike Pence and also chairs the NASA Advisory Council. He succeeds Adm. Jim Ellis, who chaired the UAG under Pence.

Harris announced that Lyles would chair the group in September at the second Space Council meeting, but it has taken three months to name the rest. All in all, the membership has been a year-and-a-half in the making, since May 2021 when the Administration announced it would retain the National Space Council with Harris as chair.

The membership of the Space Council itself is set by Executive Order, but the UAG is an advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). It’s administered by NASA so although Harris picked the members, they still must be officially appointed by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Here is the full list of 30. Those marked with asterisks individually served on Pence’s UAG or the company or organization was represented by a prior official.

  • *General (Ret.) Lester Lyles, UAG Chair
  • Mr. Rajeev Badyal, VP of Technology, Amazon Project Kuiper
  • Mr. Charles Bolden, Former NASA Administrator and Former Astronaut
  • *Mr. Salvatore (Tory) T. Bruno, CEO, United Launch Alliance
  • Dr. Lance Bush, President & CEO, Challenger Center
  • Ms. Bridget Chatman, Chairwoman, Women in Aerospace
  • *Mr. Theodore “Ted” Colbert, CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security
  • Ms. Nancy Colleton, President, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
  • *Ms. Karina Drees, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • Mr. Eric Fanning, President and CEO, Aerospace Industries Association
  • Dr. Daniel Hastings, Head, Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ms. Dawne Hickton, Subject Matter Expert
  • Mr. Daniel Jablonsky, President & CEO, Maxar Technologies
  • Dr. Dave Kaufman, President, Ball Aerospace
  • Mr. Patrick Lin, Director of the Ethics & Emerging Sciences Program, California Polytechnic State University
  • Mr. Ron Lopez, President & Managing Director, Astroscale US
  • Dr. Harold Lee Martin, Chancellor of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
  • Dr. Kate Marvel, Climate Scientist at Project Drawdown
  • Major General (Ret.) Roosevelt “Ted” Mercer, CEO & Director, Virginia Space
  • Dr. Marla Perez-Davis, Former Director, NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Dr. Sian Proctor, Geoscience Professor, South Mountain Community College
  • *Ms. Gwynne Shotwell, President & COO, SpaceX
  • *Dr. Robert Smith, CEO, Blue Origin
  • *Mr. James Taiclet, President & CEO, Lockheed Martin
  • *Dr. Mandy Vaughn, Subject Matter Expert
  • *Ms. Kathy Warden, Chairwoman & CEO, Northrop Grumman Corp
  • Mr. Robbie Schingler, Jr., Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Planet Labs
  • Ms. Melanie Stricklan, Co-Founder & CEO, Slingshot Aerospace
  • Dr. Jeremy Williams, Head, Climate Corporation & Digital Farming, Bayer Crop Science
  • Ms. Katrina Harden Williams, Middle School Teacher, Ames Middle School, Iowa

A few other members of Pence’s UAG also have transitioned onto Harris’s group, mostly from industry, but overall it’s a different set. Pence’s last group of UAG members, appointed in May 2020, had political figures like former Congressman John Culberson and Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, and several former astronauts — Buzz Aldrin, Eileen Collins, Pam Melroy (now NASA Deputy Administrator), Harrison Schmitt, and David Wolf.

No career politicians are on Harris’s list and only two astronauts, Charlie Bolden, not just a former astronaut but NASA Administrator during the Obama Administration, and Sian Proctor, a member of the Inspiration4 crew, the first commercial orbital spaceflight. The four private astronauts, led by Jared Isaacman, spent three days in orbit in September 2021.

Sian Proctor. Photo credit: Proctor’s website.

Proctor is a geoscientist, science communicator and artist and just one of several new members representing Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) fields, one of Harris’s strong interests. Others are Dan Hastings from MIT, Lance Bush from the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Patrick Lin from California Polytechnic State University, Harold Lee Martin from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, and Katrina Harden Williams, a middle school teacher at Ames (Iowa) Middle School.

The “Big 3” aerospace companies — Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman — are still represented along with Blue Origin, SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance. Aerojet Rocketdyne, Relativity Space, Klipsch Audio Technologies, and Sierra Nevada no longer are on the list, while Amazon Project Kuiper, Astroscale, Ball Aerospace, Bayer Crop Science, Maxar (which just announced it will be acquired by Advent International), Planet Labs, and Slingshot Aerospace are new.  The trend seems to be more “novel” space companies and those engaged in climate science and monitoring.

Rounding out the 30-member group are representatives from industry groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals like Bolden who are there because of their personal experience and expertise. Two are “subject matter experts.” Dawne Hickton is Chair and CEO of Cumberland Additive in Pittsburgh, a 3-D printing company serving the space, defense and aerospace markets and was formerly President of the Critical Mission Solutions business at Jacobs. Mandy Vaughn served on Pence’s UAG when she was with VOX Space. She’s now CEO and founder of GXO, Inc. and a member of the Defense Science Board.

Others from the national security space sector include Lyles, a retired Air Force General and a former Commander of Air Force Material Command; Bolden, a retired Marine Major General; Eric Fanning, former Secretary of the Army and now President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association; and Ted Mercer, a retired Air Force Major General who is CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority that operates the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

The Users’ Advisory Group (UAG) was created by Congress to provide outside advice to the Space Council in the FY1991 NASA Authorization Act (P.L. 101-611).

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