Former Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar and “Overview Effect” Author Frank White Join Board

The National Space Society recently completed elections for its Board of Directors. While many of these individuals were returning Directors, a number are new to the organization. Prominent among these are former NASA astronaut Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar and veteran author Frank White.

Karlton Johnson, NSS CEO, said, “The addition of these amazing professionals demonstrates the value proposition NSS brings to the space community. Their gravitas and expertise will prove vital in our ongoing conversations regarding humanity’s future in space.”

The NSS Board of Directors is responsible for the overall supervision, control, direction, and governance of the property, activities, and affairs of the society, its committees, and its publications. Members of the Board of Directors are elected either by the whole membership of the society, or for one of eight regional positions.

Dr. Dunbar flew on five space shuttle missions between 1985 and 1998, including two dockings with the Russian Mir space station. Prior to her time with NASA, she worked as an engineer for Rockwell International on the shuttle’s thermal protection system and was a flight controller for both Skylab and the space shuttle. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the University of Washington and a PhD from the University of Houston. Dunbar has also worked extensively with STEM education and public outreach, including teaching at the University of Houston, where she was the Director of the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture, and as president and CEO of the Seattle Museum of Flight. She is currently a Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University.

“I am honored to join the NSS Board of Directors,” Dunbar said, “and to be a part of a seminal organization which has an enduring mission to engage all of society in implementing the space exploration vison.”

White is a prolific author of numerous space-related books and is best known for The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, now in its fourth edition. White coined the term and continues to explore the cognitive shift that occurs within the minds of people who view the Earth from space and within space. White co-founded the Human Space Program, whose mission is “the sustainable, ethical, and inclusive evolution of humanity into the solar ecosystem.” He has participated in dozens of space-related projects and was active with Gerard O’Neill’s Space Studies Institute. White holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree from Oxford University, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship.

“I am deeply honored to be a board member of the National Space Society. NSS has been a powerful advocate of space exploration, development, and migration for decades, and I look forward to contributing to its mission,” White said.

Also new to the NSS at-large Board of Directors are James Wolff and Greg Hunter. Wolff is a commercial space entrepreneur and serves as corporate counsel to Warshaw Burstein LLP, a tier 1 mid-market law firm located in New York City. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the New York Law School. Wolff has worked with numerous space startups, one of which won the 2023 NASA Entrepreneurs Challenge. Wolff has been active with the NSS’s International Committee and Policy Committee.

Greg Hunter works in the Australian space sector in high-tech entrepreneurship. He has served as the Vice President of NSS Australia, and was a founder of the New Horizons Summit, gathering leaders from Blue Origin, SpaceX, Amazon, Rolls Royce, Microsoft, Axiom, NVIDIA, Lockheed Martin, Rocket Lab, and others for regional conferences. He founded space startup Arbiter, driving significant growth, and worked with satellite imagery marketplace Arlula. Hunter holds multiple bachelor’s degrees from Macquarie University.

Kirby Ikin, Chair of the NSS Board of Directors, said: “With the NSS’s goal of advancing the human settlement of space, the NSS Board of Directors requires a diverse set of skills and experience to turn our vision into reality. The newly elected members of the NSS Board of Directors continue to strengthen that diversity of perspective and deepen the wealth of experience that the board brings to fulfilling the NSS vision, and as Chairman, it is an honor and a privilege to serve alongside such talented and dedicated individuals.”

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