An Indian-American aerospace industry expert has been appointed as NASA’s new chief technologist to serve as principal advisor to Administrator Bill Nelson on technology policy and programs at the space agency’s headquarters.
Indian-American aerospace expert AC Charania has been appointed as NASA’s new chief technologist to serve as principal advisor to Administrator Bill Nelson on technology policy and programs. He replaced fellow Indian-American Bhavya Lal, who was acting chief technologist until January 3.
According to a NASA statement, Charania will work across six directorates to align the organization’s technology investments with mission needs. He will also oversee technology collaboration with other federal agencies, the private sector and external stakeholders. The position works within NASA’s Office of Technology, Policy and Strategy.
“Charania is an experienced leader in managing large, rapidly changing technology portfolios. I look forward to applying his knowledge and enthusiasm to NASA,” said Lal.
The Indian American holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University.
Prior to joining NASA, Charania served as vice president of product strategy at Reliable Robotics — a firm working to bring certified autonomous vehicles to commercial aviation. He was also involved with Blue Origin, working to mature its lunar sustainability strategy, the Blue Moon lunar lander program, and several technology initiatives with NASA.
Charania has also worked in strategy and business development for the Virgin Galactic (now Virgin Orbit) LauncherOne Small Satellite Launch Vehicle program. He led the formation of the FastForward industry group focused on high-speed point-to-point transportation, was a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Fellow, and served on the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group Commercial Advisory Board, according to the release.
(with inputs from agencies)