WASHINGTON — Former White House space policy official Audrey Schaffer has joined Slingshot Aerospace, a space data analytics and tracking firm focused on spaceflight safety. 

Schaffer was named vice president of strategy and policy, Slingshot announced Sept. 11.

Founded in 2017, Slingshot is based in El Segundo, California; and Austin, Texas. The company operates a global network of ground-based telescopes to track space objects, and provides space traffic control software used by satellite operators to coordinate satellite maneuvers and communicate with other operators to avert collisions.  

Audrey Schaffer

Schaffer previously worked as director of space policy at the White House National Security Council. She helped guide the U.S. initiative to establish an international ban on destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile testing that Vice President Kamala Harris announced in April 2022

Prior to joining the White House, Schaffer was a Defense Department official, and led DoD efforts to establish in law the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. Schaffer also led a government-industry team that represented the United States in negotiating United Nations guidelines for space sustainability. 

At Slingshot, Schaffer will “advance policy that supports safe space operations and continues to drive the industry forward,” said Leslie Hildebrand, the company’s senior vice president of government business development and strategy.

“Her extensive experience in national security space and space policy uniquely qualifies her to advance Slingshot’s vision of accelerating space sustainability,” said Hildebrand. 

In a statement, Schaffer said the growing number of objects in space and the “increasing complexity of space operations is creating a more unpredictable orbital operating environment for the satellites we rely on for our national security, economic prosperity, and daily lives.”

“I joined Slingshot because I want to help ensure that space remains safe for future generations,” Schaffer said. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...