Indian-American scientist Bhavya Lal has been appointed as the acting chief of staff for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). Bhavya previously served as a member of the Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team and oversaw NASA’s transition under the administration of the newly elected US President Joe Biden.  

According to a statement by NASA, Lal comes with “extensive experience” in engineering and space technology. She served as a member of the research staff at the Institute of Defense Analyses’ (IDA) Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) for 15 years. In those 15 years, she led space technology analysis, strategy, and policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  

Everything we know about Bhavya Lal, the Indian-American scientist

Before joining the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) Bhavya was the president of the C-STPS, a firm based in Massachusetts that worked in the domain of science and technology policy research. Prior to that, she also served at her Alma Mater as the director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

Lal is also the co-founder of the policy track of the American Nuclear Society’s annual conference of Nuclear and Emerging Technologies in Space (NETS). She also co-organizes seminars on space history at policy at the world-famous Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. For her overarching accomplishments and contributions in the space policy sector, Lal was selected to be the Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics.  

And that’s not all! She’s also an active member in multiple space technology and policy communities. She has served in National Academy of Science (NAS) committees, served two terms on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Senses (ACCRES), and also was a council member of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program and Technology. 

She also has published articles for prestigious publications like The Economist, Space News, National Geographic, etc. In her participation at the UN Committee on Space Research, she developed a comprehensive scientific roadmap for small satellites.  

Dr. Bhavya Lal has written articles for The Economist, National Geographic, Space News, and other prestigious publications. Dr. Bhavya Lal also participated in the UN Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) to develop an international scientific roadmap for small satellites. 

An Indian-American woman, she earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also did her Master of Science degree in Technology and Policy from the same Institute. Additionally, she holds a doctorate in public policy and public administration from George Washington University.