Space Foundation Press Releases

Space Workforce 2030 Names New Executive Director in Landmark Partnership

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

Melanie Stricklan to Spearhead Space Talent Initiative

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — March 18, 2024 — Space Foundation and Space Workforce 2030 are proud to announce the appointment of Melanie Stricklan as the inaugural Executive Director of Space Workforce 2030, a first-of-its-kind collaborative effort to build an inclusive workforce to meet the burgeoning demands of the space industry. Recognized for her exceptional technical and business leadership across the space industry, Stricklan brings a wealth of experience and innovation to this groundbreaking initiative.

Stricklan, a co-founder of Slingshot Aerospace and a passionate advocate for space workforce development, will play a pivotal role in the strategic partnership between Space Foundation and The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace), which helped initiate the Space Workforce effort and has provided extensive support since its inception. This partnership, which builds up the initiative’s early success and continued growth, leverages Space Foundation’s mission to accelerate the development of a dynamic and diverse space workforce.

Founded by Aerospace CEO Steve Isakowitz and launched in April 2022, Space Workforce 2030 brings together more than two dozen leading space companies behind the shared goal of increasing diversity and representation across the industry. It reflects a shared commitment to fostering the next generation of space professionals. The initiative’s early successes include:

  • The National Space Intern program has quickly become the nation’s leading resource for companies to connect with a broader technical talent pool, with 332 interns participating in the first year and more than 4,100 undergraduate and graduate students registered for this summer.
  • For Spring of 2024, Space Workforce 2030 is partnering with the White House, NASA, Space Foundation, industry and academia to host its first annual National Space Day, a nationwide event with in-person and streaming components designed to inspire the next generation.
  • All member companies shared workforce data in the first two years, and the aggregated data is shared publicly. This transparency creates a unique view of industry demographics, informing strategies for sustained growth and inclusivity.

“Mel’s track record of leading with insight and innovation is exactly what we need to drive the Space Workforce 2030 initiative forward,” said Aerospace’s Isakowitz. “This unique collaboration between Space Foundation and The Aerospace Corporation, under Melanie’s leadership, is set to make incredible strides in preparing a vibrant and skilled workforce for the future of space exploration and technology.”

Space Foundation CEO, Heather Pringle, (Maj Gen, USAF (Ret.), PhD), said, “Space Workforce 2030 has already been a remarkable success and with our new partnership with Aerospace and leadership by Mel, Space Workforce 2030 promises to accelerate that success. Developing a diverse and skilled talent pool for the space community is the gamechanger we need to secure our future.”

For more information about Space Workforce 2030, please visit

About Space Foundation

Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1983, offering information, education and collaboration for the global space ecosystem. Driven by partnerships, Space Foundation unites the entire spectrum of stakeholders — business, government, education and local communities — through support from corporate members, sponsors, fundraising and grants. Visit Space Foundation at, and follow us on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

About The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation is a national nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center and has more than 4,600 employees. With major locations in El Segundo, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the Washington, D.C. region, Aerospace addresses complex problems across the space enterprise and other areas of national and international significance through agility, innovation, and objective technical leadership. For more information, visit Follow us on X: @AerospaceCorp.

Media Contacts:

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

Dianna Ramirez
The Aerospace Corporation
(310) 341-6222
[email protected]