|Patti Grace Smith
Aerospace Consultant, Patti Grace Smith Consulting LLC
Patti Grace Smith served as associate administrator for Commercial Space Transportation for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), US Department of Transportation (DOT), where for 11 years (ending February 2008) she headed the line of business responsible for licensing, regulating, and promoting the US commercial space transportation industry. Patti joined the DOT in 1994. She has over 28 years of experience and knowledge of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the FAA, and the DOT.
In an era of unprecedented private sector progress toward commercial human space flight, Patti worked hard to foster an environment where safety always came first and innovation could flourish. During her career at the FAA and DOT, she was instrumental in the growth and change that the US commercial launch industry experienced, facilitating both technological and infrastructure developments and initiating and fostering greater cooperation and partnerships between aviation and space functions in the agency. During her service at the FAA, key milestones were achieved that include the Mojave Air and Spaceport becoming the first inland Commercial Spaceport licensed by the agency and the launch of the X-Prize-winning, historic SpaceShip One, a launch licensed by the FAA. Patti also oversaw the development of rules for human space flight mandated by congressional passage of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004.
Under Patti's leadership at the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation, the FAA became the recognized global leader in private human space flight. Patti initiated and helped forge partnerships with the Air Force on common launch safety standards and kept safety, regulatory matters, and insurance issues constantly in the public forum. She worked closely with FAA lines of business to draw on aviation expertise where appropriate and to address the impact of space flight on the National Airspace System. Patti was named by Space News as one of the Top 10 people in the US space sector.
Patti also held positions in the private sector at the National Association of Broadcasters, Westinghouse Broadcasting Corp., and Sheridan Radio Network; and in government at the Department of Defense and the FCC and the United States Congress with the Senate Commerce Committee. Patti is currently an aerospace consultant with Patti Grace Smith Consulting LLC, working with a number of aerospace companies. She is on the boards of the Space Foundation (executive committee), the American Astronautical Society (executive committee), X-Prize (advisory committee), Terminal Velocity (advisory), and the Conrad Foundation.
Patti served as a member and later as chair of the Commercial Space Committee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) from 2009 to 2013. On April 26, 2012, President Obama announced Patti's appointment as one of his three selections to serve on the advisory board of the National Air and Space Museum. In January of 2014, Patti was appointed to the position of vice chair of the National Academies' Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. On April 27, 2014, Patti received the Science and Technology Award and was inducted into the Washington, DC, Hall of Fame.
Patti advises clients on regulatory, licensing, strategic planning, business growth strategies, government affairs, and strategic communications. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her accomplishments in communications and commercial space transportation and is a regular speaker at space industry events.