A Closer Look at National Space Council User’s Advisory Group Nominees

So, I finally had a chance to go through folks that Vice President Mike Pence nominated to serve on the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group.

Below is my attempt to break down the 29 nominees by category. It’s far from perfect because several of them could easily be listed under multiple categories. But, here’s my best shot at it.

National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group Nominees

Corporate Executives

  • Tory Bruno, President and CEO of United Launch Alliance
  • Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman
  • Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • David Thompson, Founder and CEO of Orbital ATK
  • Dennis Muilenberg, CEO of the Boeing Company
  • Faith Ozmen, CEO of the Sierra Nevada Corporation
  • Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX
  • Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin
  • Mandy Vaughn, President of VOX Launch Company
  • Tim Ellis, CEO of Relativity Space

Industry Associations

  • Mary Lynne Dittmar, President and CEO of The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration
  • Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Industry Professionals

  • Stu Witt, Founder of Mojave Air and Spaceport, former Navy pilot, former Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Former NASA Astronauts & Employees

  • Jack Schmitt, Apollo 17 Astronaut and former Senator
  • Eileen Collins, 4-time Shuttle astronaut, first female shuttle commander
  • David Wolf, 4-time Shuttle astronaut and physician
  • Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut
  • Pam Melroy, 3-time Shuttle astronaut and former Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Pete Worden, Former Air Force General and NASA Ames Center Director
  • Homer Hickam, Author of the book “Rocket Boys” and former NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center engineer


  • Adm. Jim Ellis, Retired 4-star Admiral, former head of STRATCOM, and member of the Space Foundation Board of Directors
  • Les Lyles, Retired 4-star Air Force General and member of the NASA Advisory Council


  • Governor Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama
  • Newt Gingrich, Author, former Speaker of the House
  • Steve Crisafulli, Former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives

Think Tanks & Political Action Committees

  • Dean Cheng, Scholar at the Heritage Foundation
  • Fred Klipsch, Founder and Chairman of Hoosiers for Quality Education


  • G.P. Bud Peterson, President of the Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Pamela Vaughan, Board Certified Science Teacher

So, we’ve got a heavy representation from industry, NASA and the military. Reflecting the Trump Administration’s disdain for science, the list is notable for its lack of anyone representing a scientific organization.

Ten corporate executives have been nominated. There is a good representation of established companies such as Boeing, ULA and Lockheed Martin. Then you also have NewSpace companies that include SpaceX, VOX Launch and Relativity Space.

There are also two industry associations — CSF and the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration — that represent the interests for their members. Interestingly, there is no representative from the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents both the space and defense sectors.

Stu Witt, a former U.S. Navy pilot who ran the Mojave Air and Space Port, is one of the nominees. He runs a space consulting firm and formerly served as CSF chairman.

There are five former astronauts on the list, including Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jack Schmitt and space shuttle veterans Eileen Collins, David Wolf and Pam Melroy. Former NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden and NASA Marshall engineer Homer Hickam were also nominated.

The military is represented by retired Admiral Jim Ellis, who formerly headed STRATCOM, and retired Gen. Les Lyles, who is a member of the NASA Advisory Council.

The states of Alabama and Florida — which have major government space centers — are represented on the list. There are no politicians from Texas, California or other states with NASA or U.S. Air Force space centers.

The other politician on the list is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a space enthusiast who proposed granting statehood to a future lunar colony during his campaign for president.

Dean Cheng, a scholar at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, is among the nominees. So is Fred Klipsch, an ally of Pence who is founder and chairman of Hoosiers for Quality Education.

G.P. Bud Peterson, president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Pamela Vaughan, a board certified science teacher, were nominated to represent academia.