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Rear Admiral Craig Steidle Named President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Press Release From: Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011

image Washington, D.C., Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce that Rear Admiral Craig E. Steidle (U.S. Navy, Ret.) has been named as President, effective May 15. Admiral Steidle was approved for the position by a unanimous vote of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation's board of directors and will serve full-time in this capacity working from the organization's headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C.

Admiral Steidle has a long and distinguished track record in aerospace as a former senior NASA official, flag officer, program manager, aerospace engineer, Naval aviator and combat veteran, and technology innovator. At NASA, Adm. Steidle served as the first Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems, one of the most senior positions in the agency. In 2004 and 2005, Adm. Steidle built the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate from the ground up into a $3 billion a year organization, personally initiating several innovative programs including efforts to foster commercial space transportation to the International Space Station, the Centennial Challenges prize program, and a far-ranging program of advanced technology development.

During his tenure at the Navy, Admiral Steidle became most well known for serving in the mid 1990's as Director of the Joint Strike Fighter Program - the single largest Department of Defense development program in history. As program manager, he implemented the innovative "fly-off" competition between the X-32 and X-35 prototype aircraft. Under his command, the Joint Strike Fighter Program was awarded the David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award. Adm. Steidle also commanded the Navy's F/A-18 Program, naval aviation's largest production, research and development program, as well as the largest foreign military sales program, and the Secretary of Defense presented Steidle with the Navy's Outstanding Program Manager Award. Earlier in his career, Adm. Steidle flew carrier night combat missions as an attack pilot during the Vietnam War and has served as a test pilot and test pilot instructor. A graduate with merit as an aerospace engineer from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Adm. Steidle also has M.S. degrees in aerospace engineering and aeronautical systems management from Virginia Tech and the University of Southern California, respectively. Adm. Steidle is currently a distinguished visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, and serves as a consultant to the Department of Defense.

Admiral Steidle will succeed Bretton Alexander, who has served as the President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation since December of 2006. Alexander stated, "We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of Admiral Steidle's caliber able to devote his full-time attention to our organization. It's been a delight to serve the Commercial Spaceflight Federation as President these last four years, during what has truly been a time of dramatic change for the space industry. Commercial spaceflight is now the law of the land and will be the primary way NASA gets astronauts to and from the International Space Station. This robust partnership between NASA and U.S. industry will transform human spaceflight, providing the opportunity for all people - not just government astronauts - to one day travel into space. Membership in the Federation has grown from under 10 companies when I joined to over 40 now, providing a strong foundation for our members to work together to open spaceflight to all. Admiral Steidle's vision for commercial spaceflight while at NASA convinced me then that this was truly the space program of the future, and I can think of no better person to lead this effort moving forward."

Eric Anderson, Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and CEO of Space Adventures, Ltd., stated, "We could not have found a more qualified candidate to lead the Commercial Spaceflight Federation than Admiral Steidle. He is a true visionary who knows that commercial spaceflight is the key to unlocking humanity's future in space, and he is a proven manager and engineer who understands what is necessary to make our dream of becoming a true space-faring people a reality." Anderson added, "Bretton Alexander has done an outstanding job leading the organization during a critical period of dramatic industry and policy changes, operating under very limited resources, and we look forward to building on his record of success."

Admiral Steidle stated, "It is an honor to be selected as President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. The commercial space industry truly represents the future of America in space, and I'm excited to be a part of it. This industry is inspiring kids, keeping America economically competitive, creating thousands of jobs, and ensuring our leadership in space. It is a privilege to lead the Federation as we embark on the grandest adventure of the 21st century: opening up space to everyone."

Admiral Steidle added, "The commercial spaceflight industry encapsulates all that is best about American entrepreneurship - the Wright Brothers' can-do attitude, Thomas Edison's penchant for innovation, the job creation fostered by a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, and the youthful excitement of Google and Facebook. America badly needs commercial spaceflight to succeed. What could be more motivating to our nation's youth than a good-news story about job creation, entrepreneurship, inspiration, and old-fashioned can-do spirit?"

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation's member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information please visit www.commercialspaceflight.org or contact Executive Director John Gedmark at john@commercialspaceflight.org or at 202.349.1121.

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