Wilson and Manber
Amela Wilson (left) is the new CEO of Nanoracks, as longtime CEO Jeffrey Manber (right) moves to a new position at Voyager Space Holdings. Credit: Nanoracks

WASHINGTON — Commercial space station company Nanoracks has hired a new chief executive as its co-founder and longtime head moves to a new position at its parent company.

Nanoracks announced Nov. 11 that Jeffrey Manber, a co-founder of the company and its chief executive since 2009, was moving to Voyager Space Holdings, which owns a majority stake in Nanoracks. At Voyager, Manber will be president of international and space stations. He will remain chairman of the board of Nanoracks.

Succeeding Manber as chief executive of Nanoracks is Amela Wilson. She previously held executive positions in aerospace and defense companies, most recently as senior vice president and general manager of Mercury Systems. She previously worked at FLIR Systems and Elbit Systems of America.

The leadership change comes just a few weeks after Nanoracks and Voyager announced a partnership with Lockheed Martin to develop Starlab, a commercial space station. Nanoracks will be the prime contractor with Voyager handling strategy and investment and Lockheed serving as the manufacturer and technical integrator.

“In my new role, I will support both Voyager and Nanoracks in bringing commercially viable space platforms into the LEO ecosystem,” Manber said in the statement, including both the Starlab station and Outpost, autonomous facilities the company has proposed developing by converting upper stages left in orbit.

“In addition, I will be dedicated to enabling new international opportunities and spheres of collaboration across the Voyager portfolio,” he added. “International space collaboration is critical to realizing a true commercial in-space marketplace and a focus area I have been passionate about for decades.”

“Nanoracks has broken barriers and forged the path of commercial space access in a way no other organization has achieved,” Wilson said in the statement. “I’m eager to hit the ground running and elevate the hard work already being done by this accomplished organization.”

Nanoracks is one of several companies in the portfolio of Voyager Space. “Today, we sit on the precipice of the next frontier of space exploration, and I believe Amela’s proven experience and deft organizational leadership is what’s required now to propel Nanoracks to the next level,” said Matthew Kuta, president and chief operating officer of Voyager.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...