Who is Bhavya Lal, the Indian-American Acting NASA Chief of Staff?

As the senior White House appointee at NASA, Lal served on the Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team.

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Bhavya Lal.
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On Monday, 1 February, Indian-American engineer Bhavya Lal was appointed as NASA's chief of staff.

Previously, 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 administration of United States President Joe Biden.

A member of both nuclear engineering and public policy honour societies, Lal earned 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 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. For her many contributions to the space sector, she was nominated and selected to be a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics, says NASA's website of the highly qualified engineer.

Lal has applied her expertise in engineering systems and innovation theory and practice to topics in space, with recent projects on commercial activities in low-Earth orbit and deep space, in-orbit servicing assembly and manufacturing, small satellites, human exploration, space nuclear power, space exploration, and space science. She has published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings.

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).

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