Indian-American Bhavya Lal appointed acting chief of staff of NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Monday named Indian-American Bhavya Lal as acting chief of staff for the agency. 

As the senior White House appointee at NASA, Lal served as a member of the Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for the agency and oversaw the agency’s transition under the Joe Biden-led administration.

In a statement, NASA said, “Lal brings extensive experience in engineering and space technology, serving as a member of the research staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) from 2005 to 2020. There, she 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 organizations, including NASA, the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community.”

Lal 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 (NAS) committees. She served two consecutive terms on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Federal Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) and was an External Council member of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program and the Technology, Innovation and Engineering Advisory Committee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC), according to the statement.

Before joining STPI, 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, it said.

She 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-organizes a seminar series on space history and policy with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. For her many contributions to the space sector, she was nominated and selected to be a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics, it added.