In 2017, Melanie Stricklan combined her military experience and love of space to co-found Slingshot Aerospace, a company building world-class space data, simulation and analytics solutions. Under her leadership, the company launched a suite of products for commercial, civil and defense applications including Slingshot Beacon, the industry’s first space collision avoidance collaboration and communications platform. As CEO, Melanie leads Slingshot Aerospace on a mission to accelerate space sustainability and create a safer, more connected world.
During her Air Force career, she logged over 1500 flight hours onboard ground surveillance aircraft, commanded over 200 experimental spacecraft missions, and led the development of space control technologies for the Department of Defense. Her personal decorations include the Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Air Force Commendation Medal (four awards), Air Force Achievement Medal, and the John L. Levitow Award for outstanding leadership.
In addition to her role at Slingshot, Stricklan serves on two prestigious organizations guiding the future of safe space operations. Recognizing her leadership in the industry, Vice President Kamala Harris selected Stricklan to join the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg named her to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. As part of these committees, she provides information, advice, and recommendations about technology, business and policy issues regarding oversight of the U.S. commercial space transportation sector.
Stricklan led Slingshot Aerospace on an accelerated growth trajectory over the course of 2022, punctuated by two oversubscribed funding rounds totaling $65.45 million and two acquisitions: Numerica’s Space Domain Awareness division and UK-based Seradata. The acquisitions introduced an unparalleled Global Sensor Network, for day/night tracking of satellites and debris, and the industry’s most authoritative space object database, into Slingshot’s Digital Space Twin platform.
Melanie holds a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Science in Space Operations Management with an emphasis in Space Systems Engineering from Webster University. She was named the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year for El Segundo, California, and named one of Inc. Magazines’ 2019 Top 100 Female Founders in the United States. Melanie was named a Techstars All-Star Mentor, a recognition from her peers within the prestigious aerospace accelerator for her gold standard of mentorship. A trailblazer in the industry, Melanie frequently speaks at conferences about the value of situational awareness and advancing space sustainability, and hosted a TED Talk discussing how images from space help us protect Earth. She is a champion for STEM initiatives and enjoys inspiring youth to challenge themselves and pursue their dreams.