An Indian-American Bhavya Lal was appointed as the Acting Chief of Staff of the US space agency, NASA on Monday. She has served as a member of Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for the agency and has oversaw the agency’s transition under the Biden administration.
“Ms Lal brings extensive experience in engineering and space technology, serving as a member of the research staff at the Institute for Defence Analyses Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) from 2005 to 2020,” NASA said in a statement.
Ms Lal has also led analysis of space technology, strategy, and policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Space Council, as well as federal space-oriented organisations, including NASA, the Department of Defence, and the intelligence community. She is an active member of the space technology and policy community, having chaired, co-chaired, or served on five high-impact National Academy of Science committees.
She has also served two consecutive terms on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Federal Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing and was an External Council member of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program and the Technology, Innovation and Engineering Advisory Committee of the NASA Advisory Council.
Prior joining the STPI, Ms Lal was president of C-STPS LLC, a science and technology policy research and consulting firm. Prior to that, she was the director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies at Abt Associates, a global policy research consultancy based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The newly appointed Acting Chief of Staff has co-founded and is co-chair of the policy track of the American Nuclear Society’s annual conference on Nuclear and Emerging Technologies in Space (NETS) and co-organises a seminar series on space history and policy with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
She has also been nominated and selected to be a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics for her contributions in the space sector.
In academics Ms Lal has many qualifications as Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in nuclear engineering, as well as a Master of Science degree in technology and policy, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and holds a doctorate in public policy and public administration from George Washington University.
She is also the member of both public policy honor societies and nuclear engineering.