Space Foundation board elects new chairman

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Retired Air Force General William Shelton has been elected to a two-year term as chairman of the board of directors of the Space Foundation.

Shelton retired as commander of Air Force Space Command in Sept. 2014. He is currently an independent consultant and sits on the board of trustees for the Aerospace Corporation, headquartered in California, as well as the board of directors for Airbus Defense and Space, Inc.

He most recently served as vice-chairman of the Space Foundation’s board of directors.

“The Space Foundation team is very pleased to have William Shelton as our new Board of Directors Chairman,” Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor said in an email. “His list of accomplishments in operational space and industry, broad leadership experience and long service with the Space Foundation, will ensure that we continue to grow and evolve to serve our members and the global space industry.”

Shelton was a space shuttle controller for the first 18 missions, commander of GPS operations during the initial deployment of the constellation, and commander of the largest ballistic missile wing. He commanded all Department of Defense space operations during a number of internationally significant events and served as chief information officer of the Air Force and director of Air Force headquarters staff.

Shelton is a graduate of the Air Force Academy, where he studied astronautical engineering, and the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he earned his masters in the same field. He earned his second masters in national security studies at the National War College.  

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“I am honored to have been selected for this position, and will continue to work closely with our outstanding Space Foundation team,” Shelton said in an email. “I continue to be committed to collectively exploring how we can build on the successes this prestigious organization has achieved over the last 30-plus years.”

Shelton was elected at the Nov. 29 meeting of the Space Foundation Board of Directors, replacing the previous chairman, retired Navy Admiral James Ellis.

According to a news release issued by the Space Foundation, Ellis was elected Director Emeritus at the same meeting, and a new Space Foundation scholarship was created in his honor.

The annual Admiral James O. Ellis, Jr., New Generation National Security Scholarship give a young professional in the United States Armed Forces full participation in Space Classified programs at the Space Symposium.

University of Virginia professor and former NASA astronaut Kathryn Thornton was elected to a two-year term as vice-chairman, and author and political satirist P.J. O’Rourke was elected secretary, according to the release. Hoyt Davidson, managing partner at Near Earth LLC, was re-elected as treasurer.

Elected as Life Directors were Richard Ambrose, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company; John Elbon, The Boeing Company – Space Exploration; and Kay Sears, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.

Newly-elected members of the Space Foundation board include Christopher Browne, National Air and Space Museum; Lisa Callahan, Lockheed Martin Space Systems; James Chilton, Boeing Defense, Space & Security; William Gattle, Harris Corporation Space and Intelligence Systems; Peter Trainer, Science Applications International Corporation; and University of Colorado Boulder professor Phil Larson, who will be the Space Foundation New Generation Space Leader.

New board terms started Nov. 29.