Space Foundation Press Releases

Space Foundation Announces Recipients of Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. New Generation National Security Scholarship

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

Space Foundation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — March 23, 2022 — Space Foundation, a nonprofit advocate organization founded in 1983 for the global space ecosystem, today announced that Captain Megan Maikell and First Lieutenant Shanna Chen have been selected as the co-recipients of the Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. New Generation National Security Scholarship.

This award provides the recipients full participation in events at Space Foundation’s 37th Space Symposium, including the New Generation program and a seat at the Space Classified session. The scholarship is intended to encourage the participation of New Generation professionals at Space Symposium, acknowledge an exceptional young professional, and provide that individual an opportunity to advance their professional growth and development.

Captain Megan Maikell was nominated by leadership at U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command. She holds a master’s degree in astronautical engineering and has excelled in her role as Chief Engineer for an $870 million satellite communications spacecraft in the final stages of assembly. In addition to this primary role, Captain Maikell assumed responsibility of launch consultant for a $1.8 billion dual-manifest U.S. Space Force mission and has taken on a crucial role with the Payload Operations Center to ensure operational readiness.

First Lieutenant Shanna Chen was also nominated by leadership at U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command. Chen holds an MBA and was handpicked out of 34 officers for her current position as Executive Officer to the Los Angeles Garrison Commander. She supports administrative policy for over 700 personnel across five squadrons and 10 staff agencies. In less than a year, she resolved a dozen crucial disconnects and reduced operating costs by $36 million.

About Admiral James O. Ellis, Jr., USN (Ret.)

Ellis, a retired four-star admiral and former Commander of United States Strategic Command, is currently chairperson of the National Space Council Users’ Advisory Group and is an Annenberg Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Previously, he was president and chief executive officer at the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. Ellis was elected to Space Foundation’s board of directors in January 2010 and served as chairperson from January 2016 through November 2017.

About Space Symposium

Space Symposium is the premier assembly for the global space ecosystem, hosted by Space Foundation since 1984. The live event is widely attended by commercial and government leaders, young professionals, entrepreneurs, and educators in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Last year’s 36th Space Symposium enabled its thousands of global attendees to seamlessly engage and conduct business both in-person and virtually via Symposium 365 Digital Platform. For a complete listing of Space Symposium co-sponsors, please click here. For more information, please visit

About Space Foundation

Space Foundation is a nonprofit advocate organization founded in 1983, offering a gateway to information, education and collaboration for space exploration and space-to-Earth industries that define the global space ecosystem. Driven by a partnership model, Space Foundation operates three divisions that unite the entire spectrum of stakeholders — business, government, education and local communities — through support from corporate membership, sponsorship, fundraising and grants. Symposium 365 is the premier source for media and events, including Space Symposium and The Space Report. Center for Innovation and Education is a lifelong learning platform. Global Alliance facilitates collaboration around the world. Visit Space Foundation at, and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, InstagramTwitter and YouTube.


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Tags: Space Foundation, Space Symposium, 37th Space Symposium, Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., New Generation National Security Scholarship, space industry event, New Generation space leaders, mentoring, networking, scholarship, space ecosystem, space innovation, space exploration

Media Contacts:

Rich Cooper
Vice President, Strategic Communications & Outreach
Space Foundation
(202) 596-0714
[email protected]

Dottie O’Rourke
TECHMarket Communications
(650) 344-1260
[email protected]