Kevin O’Connell, Chair of the Board of Advisors

Kevin M. O’Connell is a recognized expert on space commerce, the global space economy, global intelligence activities, and U.S. national security matters. For almost four decades, he has focused on space commercialization and technological competitiveness and how to advance them in global markets. He has also focused on how these innovations impact U.S. and allied national security.

Mr. O’Connell is the CEO of Space Economy Rising, a firm that provides advisory services to space companies, related high-tech companies, and stakeholders in the space economy. In this capacity, Mr. O’Connell provides strategy and finance advice, helps investors assess space market trends, and identifies new opportunities for increased participation in the space economy.

Mr. O’Connell’s prior role was as Director of the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) within the U.S. Department of Commerce, from 2018-2021. He was the principal advocate in the U.S. government for the commercial space industry, including new ways to facilitate innovation and increase market growth. He focused on the growing role of the private sector in space, encouraged new space partnerships, worked to ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. commercial space industry, encouraged regulatory reform, and advanced American leadership in space safety and sustainability. Mr. O’Connell has testified before Congress on seven occasions about space policy and regulatory issues, U.S. space competitiveness, and the growth of space commerce. He was awarded the Vice President’s Dedicated Service Award for his support to the National Space Council.

Mr. O’Connell also expanded international outreach on space commerce with a wide range of U.S. allies and partners, especially on regulation, to promote new partnerships and to advance space safety and sustainability. His overseas space activities involved participation in the U.S.-Japan Comprehensive Space Dialogue, as a member of a Space Delegation to Luxembourg, and high-level discussions with the EU, India, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Commonwealth partners. Mr. O’Connell’s prior government roles includes positions in The Department of Defense, The Department of State, The National Security Council, Office of the Vice President, and Office of the Director of Central Intelligence. Within the private sector, Mr. O’Connell was a senior research analyst for almost a decade at RAND and served as the first Director of RAND’s Intelligence Policy Center. In 2007, he founded Innovative Analytics and Training, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in assessing high-tech market areas including space and geospatial markets, cloud computing, and cyber analytics.

Mr. O’Connell is a recognized expert on the policy, security, and commercial aspects of satellite remote sensing technologies and markets. He served as the Executive Secretary of the Independent Commission on the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) in 2000 and later as an advisor to the Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He was a long-standing member of NOAA’s federal advisory committee, ACCRES, including as Chair between 2012 and 2016.

Mr. O’Connell has been a regular author on space commerce issues and has over twenty years of teaching graduate courses in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the RAND Graduate School. Today, he is a frequent lecturer on space and space commerce at academic and research organizations around the world, including MIT, SDA Bocconi, The George Washington University, Thunderbird School of Global Management, and the University of Tokyo.