The Business of Space


The Business of Space


Vernon McDonald

About the Speaker

Dr. Vernon McDonald is President of Wyle’s Science, Technology and Engineering Group and received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. During his tenure at Wyle he has held a variety of leadership positions including development and execution of research programs performed on several space vehicles, managing Wyle’s space medicine support for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station and leading Wyle business development in the commercial space and federal science and technology markets.

His career has focused on establishing and managing multidisciplinary teams for the strategic, systematic and purposeful integration of science, technology and operations at all phases of the project lifecycle to reduce risk while at the same time improve the likelihood of successful delivery of operationally robust solutions in challenging business environments.

Today he leads an organization of 800 engineering, science and technical professionals supporting a variety of US Federal and International customers including NASA at Johnson Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, Goddard Space Flight Center and Ames Research Center, the European and Canadian Space Agencies, the US Air Force Research Lab and NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Vernon has published over 25 refereed articles and book chapters, and presented at numerous conferences in the fields of biomechanics, neuroscience, space life sciences, human engineering and commercial human spaceflight. He has received a number of awards including NASA Group and Professional Achievement Awards, the NASA Silver Snoopy Award, and the Wyle Distinguished Service Award.



A discussion of the evolving business model(s) for space exploration/utilization addressing the interesting dynamics at play that are changing the business of space and the relationship of the Federal Government, traditional Federal contractors, and the private companies of the “newspace” community. These factors will be evaluated in the context of the public/private partnerships, space policy, technology, investment and future career opportunities.


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Publication Date



Grand Forks, ND

The Business of Space