Virginia Space welcomes new board member appointments, leadership

aubrey layne virginiaAubrey Layne, Transportation Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia, was elected as the new chair of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority board of directors.

Layne graduated from the University of Richmond with a BS in Accounting, and earned an MBA in International Finance from Old Dominion University.  In 2011, he completed the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leaders.  Secretary Layne oversees seven agencies with over 10,000 employees and combined budgets of more than $5 billion.  He is a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board since 2009 and prior to his appointment as Transportation Secretary of VA, he served as the President of An Achievable Dream Academy in Newport News, VA, a unique partnership between public schools and the local business community providing at-risk students opportunities to succeed.

Shortly following his selection as Virginia Space Board Chair, Secretary Layne represented Virginia at the euphoric post-launch celebration of OA-5, Orbital ATK’s successful Return to Flight of the new Antares rocket at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.  “Virginia is back in space!” Secretary Layne proudly proclaimed.  “It is a testament to the strength of the partnership between the Commonwealth, NASA, and Orbital ATK that we achieved this monumental accomplishment.”

Citing the investment by the Commonwealth to create world-class facilities at Wallops, Secretary Layne commented, “My objective as Chair of Virginia Space Board of Directors is to capitalize on this successful mission, work with our partners and legislators to promote a business plan of how we’re going to use these magnificent assets, the two launch pads and the UAS Runway, as there is tremendous opportunity for economic growth here and Virginia is going to be a long-term committed partner.”  Secretary Layne specifically referenced the strong message of support sent by Virginia representatives during the 2016 General Assembly session when they passed legislation funding the Spaceport and its operations through 2024, the current end life of the International Space Station (ISS).

In addition, the Virginia Space Board of Directors was restored to a full complement of members with the appointment of three new directors by Governor Terry McAuliffe to replace others who retired off the board.  The new board members are Jeff Bingham, owner of Focused Solutions and Strategies LLC and a retired professional staffer for the United States Senate; Dr. Linda Thomas-Glover, President, Eastern Shore Community College; and Dr. Kathryn Thornton, Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia and NASA Astronaut.  Upon appointment to the Virginia Space Board of Directors, Mr. Bingham was elected to the position of Vice Chair.

“Virginia Space benefits from having a solid board of directors in place with knowledgeable representatives from education, aviation and aerospace” said Dale K. Nash, executive director of Virginia Space.  “We rely on their collective insights, experience and dedication to help advance Virginia Space’s mission and goals.

Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, also known as ‘Virginia Space,’ owns and operates the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), which is located at NASA Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  Virginia Space provides safe, reliable, and responsive Space Access, and is proud to offer full-service launch facilities for commercial, government, scientific and academic users.  Virginia plays a key role in national security and assured access to space as one of only four states in the United States that is licensed by the FAA to launch spacecraft into orbit.  The MARS UAS Runway is a 3000’ x 75’ asphalt airstrip currently under construction on the north end of Wallops Island to be used for testing purposes with access to restricted airspace and a secure location.

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