Comstac Adds 8 Members, Names Mike Gold Chairman

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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, or Comstac, added eight new members and installed Mike Gold, director of Washington operations for Bigelow Aerospace, as its new chairman.

FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation announced the changes in a Nov. 20 post on its website. There are now 27 Comstac members.

Gold succeeds Wilbur Trafton, the former senior NASA official who once ran Boeing’s space launch business.

Comstac membership and leadership positions are set by George Nield, FAA’s associate administrator for commercial space transportation.

The eight new Comstac members are:

  • Christine Anderson, executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, Las Cruces, N.M.
  • Patricia Cooper, president of the Satellite Industry Association, Washington.
  • Peter Farenthold, corporate director of risk management and assistant treasurer of Northrop Grumman Corp., Falls Church, Va.
  • Oscar Garcia, chairman and chief executive of the consulting firm InterFlight Global Corp., Miami.
  • Steven Isakowitz, executive vice president and chief technology officer of New Mexico-based Virgin Galactic.
  • Michael Lopez-Alegria, former astronaut and president of the Washington-based Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Lopez-Alegria will be vice chairman of Comstac.
  • Russ McMurry, senior counsel for Boeing Network and Space Systems, St. Louis.
  • Mark Sundahl, associate dean for administration at Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Comstac was created in 1984. The industry-led group includes representatives from the launch, insurance and legal communities. The full group meets twice a year to craft policy suggestions for the U.S. commercial space regulators. FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation licenses launch and re-entry of commercially operated spacecraft from the United States, and determines how much insurance launch operators must purchase for each launch.