In Brief

VP Mike Pence Announces Candidates for National Space Council Advisory Group

Tory Bruno, president and CEO of the United Launch Alliance (ULA) — and one of 29 candidates selected for the National Space Council's Users Advisory Group — leads Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence on a tour of ULA's Horizontal Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Feb. 20, 2018. NASA's acting administrator Robert Lightfoot (right) tagged along, too. (Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflet)

Vice President Mike Pence has selected 29 candidates to serve on an advisory group for President Trump's newly reinstated National Space Council.

Pence, chairman of the council, released his list of candidates in a statement issued by the White House Tuesday evening (Feb. 20), on the eve of the council's second formal meeting at Kennedy Space Center in Florida today.

At the direction of Trump and Pence, NASA established the Users' Advisory Group (UAG) to “foster close coordination, cooperation, and technology and information exchange" across the nation's space enterprise, White House officials said in the release. [In Photos: President Donald Trump and NASA]

The selected candidates — who must still be officially approved by NASA's administrator — include high-ranking officials from private spaceflight companies like SpaceX and Boeing, as well as several scholars and government officials. Five former astronauts made the list, including Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. While speaking at the National Space Council's meeting today (Feb. 21), Pence called the candidates "some of the brightest minds in the country."

Here is the full list of members of the National Space Council's Users Advisory Group as listed on this statement from the White House:

  • Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut
  • Tory Bruno, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance
  • Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman
  • Dean Cheng, scholar at The Heritage Foundation
  • Eileen Collins, four-time shuttle astronaut, first female shuttle commander
  • Steve Crisafulli, former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
  • Mary Lynne Dittmar, president and CEO of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration 
  • Jim Ellis, retired four-star admiral, former head of STRATCOM and member of the Space Foundation board of directors
  • Tim Ellis, CEO of Relativity Space
  • Newt Gingrich, author, former speaker of the House
  • Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin
  • Homer Hickam, author of the book "Rocket Boys" and former NASA Marshall Space Flight Center engineer
  • Kay Ivey, governor of Alabama
  • Fred Klipsch, founder and chairman of Hoosiers for Quality Education
  • Les Lyles, retired four-star Air Force general and member of the NASA Advisory Council
  • Pam Melroy, three-time shuttle astronaut and former deputy director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing
  • Fatih Ozmen, CEO of Sierra Nevada Corp.
  • G.P. "Bud" Peterson, president of the Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jack Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former senator
  • Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX
  • Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin
  • Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • David Thompson, founder and CEO of Orbital ATK
  • Pamela Vaughan, board-certified science teacher
  • Mandy Vaughn, president of VOX Space
  • Stu Witt, founder of Mojave Air and Space Port, former Navy pilot, former chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • David Wolf, four-time shuttle astronaut and physician
  • Pete Worden, former Air Force general and NASA Ames Research Center director

Email Hanneke Weitering at or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.