Indian American technocrat calls it â€œa great opportunity to help shape the nationâ€™s long-term space policy and strategy goalsâ€
Rajeev Badyal, VP of Technology, Amazon Project Kuiper, is among 30 people selected to serve on the National Space Councilâ€™s revamped Users Advisory Group (UAG).
As Chair of the National Space Council, Vice President Kamala Harris announced the new membership on Dec 16 with changes reflecting a new emphasis on climate change and workforce issues.
Read: Indian American Bhavya Lal leads new NASA technology office (November 17, 2021)
Pending official appointment by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the selected members of the UAG will serve to enable the Biden-Harris Administrationâ€™s effort to maintain a robust and responsible US space enterprise and preserve space for current and future generations, according to a White House announcement.
The candidates, the announcement said â€œrepresent a cross-section of companies and organizations that support the United Statesâ€™ large and highly skilled space workforce; users of space services, including climate scientists and agriculture providers; individuals focused on developing the next generation of space professionals; and leading experts in space.
The UAG will provide the National Space Council advice and recommendations on matters related to space policy and strategy, including but not limited to, government policies, laws, regulations, treaties, international instruments, programs, and practices across the civil, commercial, international, and national security space sectors.
The board will be chaired by Lester Lyles, a retired US Air Force general who also serves as chair of the NASA Advisory Council. Harris announced the selection of Lyles at the most recent National Space Council meeting Sep 8 in Houston. Lyles, who previously served on the UAG, succeeded James Ellis, a retired admiral who is no longer on the UAG.
Of the 27 members who were previously appointed to the UAG during the Trump administration, only seven people, including Lyles, were retained.
The new UAG includes several people with expertise in climate science and the environment, reflecting a priority that Harris set at the first meeting of the council she chaired in December 2021, according to SpaceNews.
The UAG does include executives of several other space companies, including Amazon Project Kuiper, Ball Aerospace, Boeing, Maxar and Planet.
â€œLEO (Low Earth Orbit) constellations like Project Kuiper play an important role in the growing space economy, and this is a great opportunity to help shape the nationâ€™s long-term space policy and strategy goals,â€ said Rajeev Badyal, vice president of technology of Amazon Project Kuiper and a new member of the UAG, said in a statement to SpaceNews.
Amazonâ€™s Project Kuiper, a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network aims to provide fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world.
Read: SpaceX, Blue Origin Executives Tapped as US Space Council Advisers (December 16, 2022)
The earlier UAG included four former astronauts, none of whom are returning: Buzz Aldrin, Eileen Collins, Harrison Schmitt and David Wolf.
The new UAG includes Charlie Bolden, former astronaut and NASA administrator, as well as Sian Proctor, who was pilot of the Inspiration4 private astronaut mission launched by SpaceX in September 2021.