Advisory Board

Alan Ladwig, M.S.

Alan Ladwig, M.S. is the Chief of To Orbit Productions, an independent company that provides consulting services and lectures on space policy as well the creation of art projects based on space themes. He is also serving as the Chief of Communications and a member of the Board of Directors of the Star Harbor Space Training Academy, a startup company with plans to offer astronaut training for the general public.

Alan has more than 30 years of experience in senior management positions with non-profit organizations, the private sector, and the Federal government of programs and policy development associated with the U.S. civil space program, strategic planning, educational activities, and activities to directly involve the public in space activities.

He has been recognized for his leadership and contributions in the field of policy, communications, and STEAM education in the aerospace sector. He is known for playing a leading role in developing and managing programs to directly engage the general public in space research and space-related outreach opportunities.

As the founder and President of To Orbit Productions, he specializes in policy and communications support to space launch companies, Earth science and remote sensing applications, commercial space activities, and initiatives to directly engage the public in space research and exploration. His clients include Team Encounter, Sally Ride Science Clubs, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Lockheed Martin, Kelly, Anderson and Associates, and the Office of Human Resources and the Education Division of NASA.

Alan served three terms at NASA Headquarters – twice as a political appointee and once as a civil servant. In 2013 he retired as a political appointee of the Obama Administration where he served as the head of Public Outreach.

From 1993 to 1999, he was an appointee of the Clinton-Gore Administration at NASA Headquarters. During his tenure, he was the Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Planning and Communications, and established and served as the Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy and Plans. As NASA’s policy chief, he represented the Agency in the development of the National Space Policy, and was responsible for the NASA Strategic Plan, and the History Office.

Between 1981 to 1990, he held a variety of positions at NASA Headquarters, including Manager of the Space Flight Participant Program, Director of Special Projects for the Office of Exploration, and Manager of the Shuttle Student Involvement Program. He also served as the Assistant to the Director of the Administrator’s Long-Range Planning Task Force that produced the report, Leadership and America’s Future in Space (The Ride Report).

Prior to joining NASA, Alan was, between 1975 and 1980, the Chief Executive of FASST, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit education organization that directly engaged college students in policy issues related to aerospace, energy, and bio-technologies.

After leaving NASA in 1989, Alan became a Senior Policy Analyst at SAIC, where he provided subject matter expertise on strategic planning issues on a contract with NASA’s Office of Space Science at Headquarters, and for the Office of Advanced Planning at the Johnson Space Center. He developed, designed, and wrote a series of educational outreach materials on each of the planets for distribution to the general public. Under contract to the Space Station Task Group, Alan coauthored The Final Report to the President of the Advisory Committee on the Redesign of the Space Station (the Vest Report). He was also coeditor of America at the Threshold, the report of the President’s Synthesis Group on America’s Space Exploration Initiative (the Stafford Report).

In 1999, Alan left NASA for the second time, to become the Assistant to the Chairman and Vice President of Washington Operations of, a multimedia company dedicated to space and space-related subjects. He was among the first hires of He established the Washington Office and hired and supervised a staff of five. He reported to the CEO on issues of business development, NASA relations, and strategic planning, and served as principal liaison with senior officials in the aerospace industry and government agencies. Alan wrote articles for the web site and his column, Are We There Yet, was featured in Space Illustrated magazine.

In 2002, he became Chief Operating Officer of the Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G), a space entertainment and travel company that provides parabolic flight opportunities (weightlessness) on a commercial basis to consumer, commercial, and government markets on a Boeing 727 aircraft. He developed the day-to-day business procedures, aircraft operations, training, and regulatory compliance activities. He also revised the Business Plan that successfully attracted $2 million from individual investors. He collaborated with the outside legal team and personnel at FAA Headquarters and its regional and local offices that led to ZERO-G’s flight certification under Part-121 of Federal Aviation Regulations.

After two years, in 2005, Alan joined Northrop Grumman Corporation as the Manager for NASA and Civil Space Programs. He promoted the company’s interests before Executive and Legislative Branch officials, NASA program offices, trade associations, and professional societies. He developed a contact plan to shape and capture campaigns related to NGC’s interest in human space flight acquisitions. He was a coauthor of the NGIS Space Exploration Systems long-range strategies and a member of the capture team for NASA’s Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) campaign.

In 2006, he became the Manager of Space Systems at WBB Consulting, a consulting company dedicated to technical and consulting services for the civil, national security, and commercial space sectors.

Alan joined NASA one final time in 2009. He was the Deputy Associate Administrator for Public Outreach in the Office of Communications. As DAA, Alan was also the NASA liaison to the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Science and Technology Policy for coordination of public engagement and industry stakeholder activities.

NASA recognized Alan’s contributions with its highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal. He also received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, and two NASA Exceptional Service Medals. He served on three teams that received NASA Group Achievement Medals. He is also a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society.

He is a member of the NASA Planetary Protection Advisory Committee. Alan served on the Board of Directors of the AeroAstro Corporation and was Executive Vice President of the American Astronautical Society.

Alan earned his Master’s Degree of Science in Higher Education Administration in 1972 and his Bachelor’s Degree in Speech in 1970 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He earned his Associate of Science (A.S.) in Business Administration and Management in 1968 from Elgin Community College. Alan served in the US Army from 1972–1974 and was stationed in Athens, Greece.

Read the review of Alan’s book See You in Orbit? Our Dream of Spaceflight.

Watch Alan’s appearances at C-SPAN. Among others were The International Space Station (2000), The Future of NASA (1999), and Impact of Apollo 11 Space Flight (1999). Watch and listen to Alan presenting his book See you in Orbit? Our Dream of Spaceflight.

Listen to the Space Show interview with Alan, talking about his new book See You in Orbit? Our Dream Of Spaceflight. Read the transcript of the chat by Alan with CNN. Read Alan’s contributions at

Visit his LinkedIn profile and his homepage. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.