Dr. Debra Emmons Named Aerospace's New Chief Technology Officer

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Oct. 7, 2021 – To deliver innovative space technologies and collaboration for the space enterprise of the future, The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace) has selected Dr. Debra Emmons as vice president and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), succeeding Dr. Dave Miller, who will be transitioning back to academia in January 2022 after serving his planned three-year term as CTO.

Emmons will partner to deliver corporate technical strategies and investments that anticipate the needs of our customers in a time of great change.

As CTO, Emmons will oversee Aerospace’s Experiments Lab (xLab) and Aerospace’s innovation Laboratory (iLab), as well as the company’s Engineering, Science & Technology Hubs, and the Aerospace Technical Fellows program.

“Debra’s extensive technical knowledge and deep familiarity with our customers and the broader space community give her a unique perspective to shape Aerospace’s technology strategy during this dynamic time in space,” said Steve Isakowitz, Aerospace president and CEO. “In this role, she will ensure Aerospace’s innovation efforts are well-aligned to deliver high-impact technologies with velocity to meet the needs of the nation’s space enterprise.”

Emmons currently serves as general manager of the Communication Technologies and Engineering Division in the Engineering and Technology Group, which is responsible for delivering communications studies, analyses, and testing products. She also leads the corporation’s optical communications strategic initiative. Previously, Emmons served as assistant general manager in Aerospace’s Civil Systems Group, where she led a team providing objective technical analyses and assessments for national-interest space programs.

Emmons joined The Aerospace Corporation in 2003 as a project engineer and has twice been awarded one of Aerospace’s top honors, the President’s Award. She was honored in 2006 for providing crucial analysis of alternatives for the Hubble Space Telescope servicing and repair mission, and again in 2010 for providing technical studies critical to the Augustine Commission’s recommendations for future U.S. human spaceflight. Emmons was also selected as a recipient of the corporation’s Woman of the Year award in 2007. Emmons served on the Board of Directors of the National Space Club from 2010 to 2016.

Emmons earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University, an MBA from the Imperial College of London, and a doctorate in systems engineering from The George Washington University.

Emmons will become vice president of Special Studies effective Nov. 6 and assume the role of CTO on Jan. 15 following Dr. Dave Miller’s departure and return to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Aerospace, Miller was director of the Space Systems Laboratory and the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. 

In additional officer news, senior vice president Ed Swallow will become Chief Financial Officer, succeeding Dave Radzanowski who is departing Aerospace to pursue other opportunities. Swallow was previously senior vice president for Civil Systems Group. With Swallow’s new role, Jim Myers, vice president Civil Systems Operations, will become senior vice president of Civil Systems Group. These changes also take effect Nov. 6.

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 4,100 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 www.aerospace.org. Follow us on Twitter: @AerospaceCorp.


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