Shaping the Future of Space: Highlights From Booz Allen and “Top Space Exec to Watch” Andrea Inserra
“I’ve been here for 20 years, and what keeps me interested is that we are trying to solve some of the greatest challenges we face as a nation.”
-Booz Allen Executive Vice President and “Top 30 Space Exec to Watch” Andrea Inserra
The U.S. government’s increased commitment to NASA, the Space Force, and private public space collaboration brings a critical need for leadership, and those rising to the challenge oversee a variety of tasks: defense-based space support, advanced technologies, robotics, and more.
With its Top 30 Space Execs to Watch, Washington Exec recognizes the leaders in industry and government who are helping advance the U.S. space mission.
This year, Booz Allen Executive Vice President Andrea Inserra joins a list that includes honorees from Airbus, AWS, Microsoft/Azure Space, and Virgin Galactic, as well as cutting-edge startups, the Space Development Agency, and Space Force.
Highlights follow from Inserra’s multifaceted career and Booz Allen’s work in the space sector.
A career guiding public- and private-sector innovation
Since taking on leadership of Booz Allen’s aerospace account team in April 2020, Andrea Inserra has revitalized the firm’s space business. Her strategy brings together work across the defense and civilian space missions, including the Space Force, Air Force, NASA and NOAA.
No stranger to high-profile and high-stakes challenges, Inserra previously led the operations and strategy team for Booz Allen’s defense and commercial business and launched the firm’s technology adoption and translation offering. She was also a leader in the firm’s military and civil health businesses.
“I’ve been here for 20 years, and what keeps me interested is that we are trying to solve some of the greatest challenges we face as a nation,” Inserra said. “Space today looks very different than it did in the 1960s because there are far more commercial stakeholders and far lower barriers to entry. As a result, there are thousands of new and different satellites orbiting the earth for weather, emergency response, defense and beyond.”
Inserra expects that number to grow significantly, and with it the volume of information these space assets collect.
“As a company, Booz Allen is thinking about what to do with all that data. How can you leverage the data, analyze it and use it to make better decisions?” Inserra said.
She’s also anticipating more public-private collaboration. “As the industry continues to fund new technologies and innovation, we have to create those safe, open collaborative spaces for industry and the U.S. government to continuously collaborate and connect.”
Pivotal contributions to space exploration
Inserra inherits a rich legacy. Booz Allen has deep roots in aerospace, serving as an advisor to pioneering rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and as a consultant to NASA in developing the theoretical trajectory that put the first human on the Moon.
The firm has worked on the International Space Station since its beginning and was part of the original Space Operations Task Force that shaped the mission. Today, under Inserra’s leadership, Booz Allen engineers handle logistics and operations, coordinating traffic from commercial partners like SpaceX and Northrop Grumman and international traffic from Russia and Japan, and has undertaken critical development support for building out the military’s newest branch: US Space Force.
As NASA lays the foundation of the Artemis program to explore Mars and beyond, Booz Allen is providing mission-essential engineering, consulting, analytics, digital solutions, and cybersecurity services, including:
- Ground systems engineering support for the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion earth-to-moon spacecraft
- Hardware and software systems integration for the Orion program
- Engineering and integration support for Gateway, the lunar-orbiting staging ground for deep space missions and for the lunar lander that will ferry astronauts from Gateway to the lunar surface
- Data analysis and visualization of trajectory data for launch scheduling
Securing and scaling space technology into the future
The space sector remains a top priority for Booz Allen’s business. Inserra’s team will spearhead a strategy that emphasizes scalable, non-proprietary, modular architectures that accelerate modernization. Those technologies include:
- Open and resilient space data platforms for improved analysis and decision making
- Advanced cyber defense architectures to secure space assets and information
- Assured positioning, navigation, and timing systems
- Artificial intelligence and next-generation engineering for modeling, simulation and prototyping
“The space market and environment are undergoing significant change with new threats, new challenges, new players and new opportunities,” Inserra told Washington Exec. “I am excited that Booz Allen is well positioned to bring many of our unique capabilities like data platform and ground system development, artificial intelligence/machine learning, data analytics and cyber capabilities to help our military, civil and commercial partners solve their most difficult problems.”