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FAA Adds New Members To Space Advisory Panel

New Members Have Significant Experience In All Aspects Of Commercial Space Transportation

The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation has added eight new members to its Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) to provide recommendations about the agency’s oversight and regulation of the commercial space transportation industry. In addition to the new appointments, FAA has also announced that Michael N. Gold will serve as the new chairperson of COMSTAC.  Gold is currently Bigelow Aerospace's director of D.C. Operations and Business Growth.

The new members have significant experience in all aspects of commercial space transportation, including launch site services, space vehicle manufacturing, aerospace law, and the growing new field of commercial human spaceflight.

  • Christine Anderson is executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, which was the first state authority to build and obtain a license for the sole purpose of operating a commercial space launch facility known as a “spaceport.”
  • Patricia Cooper is president of the Satellite Industry Association, and brings more than 17 years of experience in the satellite industry and government.
  • Peter Farenthold is corporate director of risk management and assistant treasurer of the Northrup Grumman Corp, one of the largest space systems manufacturers in the world.
  • Oscar Garcia is the founding partner, chairman and CEO of InterFlight Global Corp., an international space, aerospace and aviation consulting firm.
  • Steven Isakowitz is executive vice president and chief technology officer of Virgin Galactic, a company that is hoping to become one of the leading providers of space tourism services.
  • A former astronaut for NASA, Michael E. Lopez-Alegria is president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, whose mission is to advocate for the commercial human spaceflight industry.  Lopez-Alegria will now serve as vice chairman of COMSTAC.
  • As senior counsel for Boeing Network and Space Systems, Russ McMurry provides legal counsel for Boeing on all matters related to the company’s Space Exploration Division, which provides human space flight products and services.
  • Dr. Mark Sundahl is the associate dean for administration at Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

COMSTAC was established in 1984 to bring together the economic, technical and institutional expertise to ensure safety during commercial launch operations and to help craft policies that support the industry’s international competitiveness.  The committee meets twice a year and is composed of senior executives from the commercial space transportation industry, satellite industry manufacturers and users; financial investment and legal service providers for commercial space activities; and academia, space advocacy organizations, and  industry associations.

FMI; www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/advisory_committee/membership/

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