Sierra Nevada names former astronaut to lead space programs

Friday September 20, 2019 0 comments Tags: Louisville, Sierra Nevada Corp. Space Systems, Janet Kavandi, Eren Ozmen

SPARKS, Nev. -- Sierra Nevada Corporation announced Janet Kavandi, former NASA astronaut and Glenn Research Center director, will join SNC as senior VP for the company’s Space Systems business area located in Louisville.Sierra_Nevada_logo

After 25 years with NASA, Kavandi retired this month as director at Glenn, having led the center’s Moon to Mars work. She joins SNC in a period of growth for the company’s space initiatives and two years before the first of six missions for SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft to service the International Space Station under contract with NASA.

“Janet has been recognized as representing the best of America’s astronauts,” said Eren Ozmen, SNC’s owner and president.

“She is also a true leader toward the goal of making space more accessible and affordable to all. We are beyond excited to welcome Janet to SNC so that alongside NASA we can ensure continued U.S. leadership in shaping a coordinated strategy, and critical infrastructure, for our new space economy.

“Our Dream Chaser spacecraft’s first launch in September of 2021 will in itself transform the way the world goes to space.”

Kavandi was tapped for NASA’s astronaut corps in 1994 and went on to fly three space shuttle missions from 1998 to 2001, logging more than 33 days and 13.1 million miles in space. 

She was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in April 2019.

Most recently, as director at Glenn, Kavandi oversaw one of the largest increases in workload and budget in the center’s history. She played a pivotal role in the expansion of the Artemis Program, including the management of the power and propulsion element for NASA’s moon-orbiting Gateway as well as the mission-critical testing of the Orion spacecraft.

Kavandi earned a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Washington.

“I am very excited to be joining Sierra Nevada Corporation at such an exciting and pivotal time in the company’s history,” said Kavandi.  

“I look forward to working collaboratively with the SNC team and our partners to achieve revolutionary goals in commercial spaceflight.”

At SNC, Kavandi will oversee three units within its Space Systems business area, including Space Technologies & Spacecraft, Space Exploration Systems and Propulsion & Environmental Systems.