NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy has been named one of 50 Over 50: Entrepreneurs in Forbes Magazine’s second annual list.
Not every woman on the list is a founder of a company, but all are entrepreneurial in their approaches to government and business across all industries. Melroy shares this year’s recognition with other Forbes 50 Over 50 honorees such as Dolly Parton, Sandra Bullock, and many more.
“In addition to an impressive lifetime of achievement, Pam has demonstrated remarkable leadership from day one helping lead NASA through incredible milestones, including multiple crewed launches to the International Space Station, a successful DART mission, the launch and commissioning of the James Webb Space Telescope, and more,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Congratulations, Pam, and thank you for your incredible service on behalf of NASA and all of humanity.”
Forbes says the women—entrepreneurs, investors, creators, entertainers—on their second annual 50 Over 50 prove that success has no age limit. Some, like Diane Hendricks or Judy Faulkner, are founders of large companies and others, like Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, are breaking barriers for the next generation.
“I am honored to be recognized as part of the Forbes 50 Over 50. I certainly want to acknowledge the NASA family and my many friends and mentors who have helped me become who I am today,” said Melroy. “No one gets to where they want to be alone – it’s a testament to the support and resiliency of the many who paved the way before me. I can only hope that I can do the same for those who come after me, and I am confident the next generation will thrive and build on the work I’ve been so passionate about for many years to come.”
Melroy was sworn in as the deputy administrator on June 21, 2021, after she was nominated for the role by President Joe Biden. Melroy helps establish NASA’s vision and represents NASA to the Executive Office of the President, Congress, other organizations. As a mentor and inspiration to young women interested in STEM, she is helping develop the next generation of leaders.
In this role, she recently led the agency’s effort to draft and revise its Moon to Mars Objectives with the NASA workforce, industry, academia, and international partners. These objectives are a blueprint for shaping NASA’s exploration throughout the solar system, including plans to explore the Moon under the Artemis program in preparation for sending the first humans to Mars.
Earlier in her career, she was one of only two women to command a space shuttle and logged more than 38 days in space on missions to build the International Space Station. As a co-pilot, aircraft commander, instructor pilot, and test pilot, Melroy logged more than 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft before retiring from the Air Force in 2007.
She is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Just Cause, with more than 200 combat and combat support hours leaving service at the rank of colonel.
Melroy was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in 1983. As a co-pilot, aircraft commander, instructor pilot, and test pilot, Melroy logged more than 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft before retiring from the Air Force in 2007.
In June 1991, she attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Upon her graduation, she was assigned to the C-17 Combined Test Force, where she served as a test pilot until her selection for the astronaut program.
After serving more than two decades in the Air Force and as a NASA astronaut, Melroy took on leadership roles at Lockheed Martin, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and as an adviser to the Australian Space Agency.