Vice President – Strategic Communications & Outreach
As Space Foundation Vice President – Strategic Communications & Outreach, Rich Cooper is based at the Space Foundation’s Washington, D.C., office and oversees all strategic communications for the Space Foundation, leading the team that is telling the story of the next human adventure in space. His areas of oversight include Communications, Research & Analysis, Creative Services, Space Certification, and the Space Technology Hall of Fame®.
Most recently, Cooper was the Senior Principal Policy Advisor for Homeland Security and Justice at the SAS Institute. In that role, he provided subject matter expertise, thought leadership, strategic planning, and management for national security and public safety functions, utilizing data, analytics, and related innovative solutions.
Previously, Rich was Vice President for Emerging Issues & Research at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Business Liaison Director for Science & Technology and Emergency Preparedness at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He also served as Senior Policy Analyst, Special Assistant to the NASA Administrator and Chief of Staff at NASA Headquarters. In that role, he shaped the design, operation, and implementation of the Educator Astronaut program. He also directed policy guidance, research, testimony development, and planning for NASA’s transition efforts, daily operations, congressional engagement, STEM education programs, media outreach, and strategic plans for major programs and initiatives, including the Agency’s 9/11 response and the Space Shuttle Columbia accident.
Cooper earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and religion from Mary Washington College, with graduate and executive education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Harvard’s Kennedy School and School of Public Health, and the University of Southern California.