Melanie Stricklan

Melanie Stricklan

Executive Director
Space Workforce 2030

Melanie Stricklan is the inaugural Executive Director of Space Workforce 2030 (SW2030), a pioneering alliance that unites the world’s top space companies with the shared goal of inspiring, preparing, and employing a more dynamic and vibrant space workforce to drive humanity into the next era.

As a recognized leader in both government and commercial space sectors, Stricklan is renowned for her mission-driven technical and business leadership. With a background as an entrepreneur and former U.S. Air Force leader, she is a compelling thought leader known for her forward-thinking approach to shaping the future of space technologies and workforce development.

Prior to her role at SWF2030, Stricklan co-founded Slingshot Aerospace, a global space technology company that revolutionizes satellite tracking, space traffic coordination, and space modeling for private and government entities worldwide. Serving as the company’s CEO and visionary, she trailblazed the invention and launch of their platform providing products for commercial, civil, and defense applications. This includes Slingshot Beacon, the industry’s first space collision avoidance coordination platform to optimize spaceflight safety and orbital operations.

Before her tenure at Slingshot, Stricklan served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years, accumulating over 1,500 flight hours onboard a ground surveillance aircraft, commanding more than 200 experimental spacecraft missions, and leading the development of future space technologies for the Department of Defense.

Stricklan serves on various advisory boards. In recognition of her leadership in the space industry and passionate advocacy of space workforce development, she was appointed by Vice President Kamala Harris to serve as a member of the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg named her to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee.

Stricklan is a prominent speaker on space sustainability, entrepreneurship, and STEM, known for inspiring and engaging audiences in these vital areas.

Among her latest accolades, Stricklan was honored with the 2022 Executive of the Year award from Via Satellite, the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award from Women in Aerospace, and was named CEO of the Year for 2023 by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a master’s degree in space operations management with an emphasis in space systems engineering from Webster University.

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Space Workforce 2030: A partnership to grow the space talent pipeline

Originally aired: April 9, 2024