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Space Workforce 2030: Inspiring, Preparing and Employing the Next Generation

TechCrunch was proud to host The Aerospace Corporation at TC Sessions: Space 2022 in Los Angeles

Partner Session: In Review

The dawning space age offers enormous opportunities to explore new frontiers, grow the economy on orbit and strengthen our security. Making the most of this momentous time calls for an innovative workforce that can leverage diverse experiences and perspectives to solve the hard problems we’ll encounter. 

The Space Workforce 2030 pledge is a first-of-its-kind effort launched earlier this year that is bringing together more than 30 of the country’s leading space companies to work collaboratively to increase diversity across our industry to build a vibrant workforce for the future. 

In this session, space leaders spoke about the work they’re doing to inspire, prepare and employ the next generation of scientists and engineers and how you can play a part in supporting this vital mission.


Michael Patrick Edmonds | SVP, Strategy, Marketing and Sales, Blue Origin

Michael Edmonds is the SVP, Strategy, Marketing, and Sales at Blue Origin, a private space company working to radically lower the cost of access to space, utilize in-space resources, and inspire future generations for the benefit of Earth. In this role, Michael leads the Government Relations, Communications, Sales, Strategy, Astronaut Experience, and Corporate Development functions. Michael is also the President of Blue Origin’s nonprofit, Club for the Future, whose mission is to engage and inspire students to pursue STEAM careers. Michael joined Blue Origin in 2018 after working at Honeywell for 18 years, where he most recently served as President of the Aerospace Services & Connectivity Business. At Honeywell, Michael held roles across multiple functions in the United States and abroad, including General Management, Supply Chain, Operations, Finance, Marketing, Customer Experience, and Business Development. Michael has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Illinois State University and earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois.

Steve Isakowitz | Presidentand & CEO, The Aerospace Corporation

Steve Isakowitz is a recognized leader across the government, commercial, space and technology sectors, who has worked tirelessly throughout his career on behalf of the public good in space. He currently serves as President and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, a leading architect for the nation’s space programs, where he heads up efforts to outpace threats to the country’s national security while nurturing innovative technologies to further a new era of space commercialization and exploration. With his guidance, Aerospace’s national workforce of more than 4,600 employees provides objective technical expertise and thought leadership to solve the hardest problems in space and assure mission success for space systems and space vehicles. Over the course of his more than 30-year career, Isakowitz has made impactful contributions across a number of prominent roles, including at Virgin Galactic, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Amy R. Pritchett | Professor and Head of Aerospace Engineering, Pennsylvania State University

Amy R. Pritchett is a professor and head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. Previously, Dr. Pritchett was on the faculty at Georgia Tech, and she also served via an IPA as the Director of NASA’s Aviation Safety Program. Her research focuses on the intersection of technology, expert human performance and aerospace operations, with a particular focus on designing to support safety. She has received the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award, the RTCA William Jackson Award and, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, the 2008 Collier Trophy. She earned her Sc.D., S.M. and S.B. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is currently chairing the National Academies committee on emerging trends in aviation safety. She also serves as a technical consultant on aircraft accident litigation.

Melanie Stricklan | CEO and Co-founder, Slingshot Aerospace

Melanie Stricklan combined her military experience and indomitable spirit to co-found Slingshot Aerospace in 2017, a company that is empowering organizations with decision intelligence technologies for space. Today, she is the company’s Chief Executive Officer where she leads the strategic vision, product development, and growth strategy. Having proudly served in the United States Air Force for 21 years, Melanie possesses a unique blend of leadership and technical expertise that enables her to create and execute winning business and product strategies. Melanie holds a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Science in Space Operations Management from Webster University. She was named the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year for El Segundo, California, and one of Inc. Magazines 2019 Top 100 Female Founders in the United States. She is a champion for STEM initiatives and enjoys inspiring youth to challenge themselves and pursue their dreams.