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Janet Kavandi

President and Chief Science Officer

Dr. Janet Kavandi serves as President and Chief Science Officer for Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company that is building an end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit life on Earth. 

Based at the company’s offices at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the veteran NASA astronaut is leading the Sierra Space Human Spaceflight Center and Astronaut Training Academy, where she is responsible for the selection, training, and human health of Sierra Space’s corps of professional astronauts as well as the industry and experiential visitors who will go to space for work or for leisure.

Before joining Sierra Space, Dr. Kavandi served 25 years at NASA where she was Director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center and, prior to that, Director of Flight Crew Operations and Deputy Director of Health and Human Performance at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. She was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1994 and flew on three space shuttle missions, logging 33 days in space and 13.1 million miles in 535 Earth orbits.

The recipient of two Presidential Rank Awards, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, two Exceptional Service Medals, three NASA Space Flight Medals and the Distinguished Service Medal, Dr. Kavandi was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2019. 

Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree from Missouri Southern State University, a Master of Science from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and a PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of Washington. She has two adult children with her husband, John Kavandi.

NASA has contracted Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser® spaceplane for a minimum of seven resupply missions to the International Space Station. The company is also building a three-story habitation and science module called LIFE™, which will provide ample room for astronauts to live and work on board the world’s first commercial space station, Orbital Reef.