On April 23, 2021, the Future Space Leaders Foundation hosted the 3rd Space Lift-Off event. This event featured Future Space Leaders Fellows interviewing:

  • Chairman of the House Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee, Representative Don Beyer (Virginia’s 8th District)
  • Chairman of the Senate Space & Science Subcommittee, Senator John Hickenlooper (Colorado)
  • NASA’s Acting Chief of Staff Dr. Bhavya Lal
  • Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Science and Research, Dr. Ellen Stofan
Distinguished Guests
Congressman Don Beyer

Congressman Don Beyer is serving his fourth term as the U.S. Representative from Virginia’s 8th District, representing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and parts of Fairfax County. He serves the Chairman of Congress' Joint Economic Committee, and also serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, and on the House Committee on Science Space and Technology, where he chairs the Space Subcommittee. He is a Co-Chair of the New Democrat Coalition's Climate Change Task Force.

Senator John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper has spent the last twenty years finding solutions to challenges facing Coloradans. He is excited to continue and expand those efforts in the US Senate. As Colorado’s U.S. Senator, John will continue working to bring people together to address Colorado’s toughest problems — whether rebuilding a stronger, more resilient economy after Covid, lowering the costs of health care and prescription drugs, or combatting climate change and protecting our public lands. He is honored to work for the people of Colorado.

Dr. Bhavya Lal

Bhavya Lal is acting chief of staff for NASA. As the senior White House appointee at NASA, Lal served as a member of the Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for the agency and oversaw the agency’s transition under the administration of President Joe Biden. Lal brings extensive experience in engineering and space technology, serving as a member of the research staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) from 2005 to 2020.

Dr. Ellen Stofan

Dr. Ellen Stofan is the Under Secretary for Science and Research at the Smithsonian Institution. She oversees the science museums and science research centers as well as the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, Office of International Relations, Smithsonian Scholarly Press and Scientific Diving Program. Her focus is on the Smithsonian’s collective scientific initiatives and commitment to research, especially in addressing current issues such as biodiversity, climate change, global health, and the search for life in our solar system and beyond.

Future Space Leaders Fellows
Conor Duggan

Conor Duggan is the Manager of Government Relations at First Mode, an engineering services company revolutionizing the design, engineering, and production of technology for industries on and off the planet. He has policy and economic development experience at the local, state, and federal levels, and enjoys working at the intersection of business, government, and technology. Conor earned a B.S. in Political Science from Santa Clara University, where he became passion

Dr. Tanya Harrison

Dr. Tanya Harrison is the Director of Science Strategy for the federal arm of Planet Labs. She is a geoscientist whose career has spanned academia and the NewSpace industry in both Earth observation and Mars mission operations. She is also an advocate for the advancement of women and people with disabilities in STEM.

Dr. Kavya Manyapu

Dr. Kavya K. Manyapu is a Space Scientist at NASA working in Flight Operations and Training for Exploration EVA (spacewalks and spacesuits!) on the Artemis Program. Prior to NASA, Dr. Manyapu worked for over a decade on building the next generation human rated spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner, at the Boeing Company where she served several roles including Starliner Spacesuit Lead and a Flight Test Director for Starliner’s Flight Tests. She also served as a Mission Evaluation Room (MER) Manager for the International Space Station (ISS). She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Dakota (UND) in the School of Aerospace Sciences.

Steven Ramm

Steven Ramm is a Systems Engineer in Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Space. Based in Colorado, Steven has spent the past 4 years shaping and executing Human Space Exploration studies for NASA’s Gateway, Commercial Lunar Payload Services, and Human Landing Systems. He is currently focused on developing crew interface technologies for future deep space missions. Steven also has experience in space policy, recently completing a 6 month rotation in Washington DC shadowing the Vice President of Government Affairs.