Michael Lopez-Alegria – President
Michael Lopez-Alegria is the President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. He comes from a distinguished background in aerospace which includes positions as a Naval Aviator and test pilot (Capt., U.S. Navy, Ret.), NASA astronaut and International Space Station (ISS) commander.
Lopez-Alegria received his Bachelor of Science degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security and speaks Spanish, French and Russian.
He has over three decades of experience with the U.S. Navy and NASA in a variety of roles including Naval Aviator, Navy engineering test pilot and program manager, NASA astronaut, ISS commander, and assistant director of flight crew operations. Lopez-Alegria has flown on Space Shuttle missions STS-73, STS-92, and STS-113, and served as Commander of ISS Expedition 14 in which he flew to and from the ISS aboard a Soyuz TMA-9. He holds three NASA records: longest spaceflight (215 days); most number of Extravehicular Activities (EVA) (10) and cumulative EVA time (67 hours 40 minutes). Lopez-Alegria has most recently served as the Assistant for ISS to the Director of Flight Crew Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Alex Saltman – Executive Director
Dr. Alexander Saltman serves as Executive Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. A native of Texas, Saltman has a wide range of experience in space policy, government, and scientific research. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University and his doctorate degree in physics from Stanford University.Prior to joining the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Saltman most recently served as the Legislative Director for Congressman Adam Schiff, who represents an area of Southern California that includes NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and who, as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has been a leading figure in space policy and NASA appropriations issues. In that capacity Saltman oversaw a staff of five and led legislative efforts from conception to enactment, while advising the Congressman on science, space, energy, environment, and nonproliferation issues, as well as on relevant appropriations matters.Saltman joined the Congressional office after receiving an American Physical Society Congressional Fellowship, having previously worked as a scientific researcher at the Stanford Linear Accelerator National Laboratory. Saltman has also worked for Wired Magazine and contributed freelance articles to the publication.
Sirisha Bandla – Assistant Director
Sirisha Bandla, who serves as Assistant Director at the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, has a diverse range of experiences in aerospace engineering, leadership, and STEM education. Before joining the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, she worked as an aerospace engineer designing mechanical components for advanced aircraft at L-3 Communications in Texas. While at Purdue University, Sirisha served as Team Leader for the NASA-supported Zero Gravity Flight Program in which she flew onboard the Space Adventures Zero-G aircraft and managed and led a group of ten engineers who designed, fabricated, and flew a microgravity science payload. At Purdue, Sirisha also participated heavily in STEM Education outreach and helped run Purdue Space Day, an outreach event in which children are invited to Purdue to learn about spaceflight. Sirisha also participated in an engineering co-op program in which she spent several semesters working as a mechanical engineer at ATA Engineering.Sirisha has lived in Texas, India, Oklahoma, and Indiana, and has a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Sirisha also has a FAA Private Pilot’s License.