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Fred Kennedy

Former Inaugural Director, Space Development Agency
Independent Consultant

Inaugural Director, Space Development Agency

Dr. Fred Kennedy is the Vice President for Future Missions at a stealth space startup headquartered in the San Francisco Bay area and is a member of multiple space company advisory boards.  He served as the inaugural Director of the U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) Space Development Agency (SDA), established by Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan in March 2019. The SDA’s mission is to define and monitor the DoD’s future threat-driven space architecture and to accelerate the development and fielding of new military space capabilities necessary to ensure U.S. technological and military advantage in space for national defense.

From 2017 until he became the SDA Director, Dr. Kennedy was the Director of the Tactical Technology Office (TTO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Prior to joining DARPA, he was detailed to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) as the senior policy advisor for national security space and aviation. In this role, Dr. Kennedy advised the President of the United States on matters related to space and aviation policy.

Dr. Kennedy served 23 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as a colonel. During his tenure, he served as a Senior Materiel Leader in both the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Directorate and the Air Force Lifecycle Management Center’s Battle Management Directorate, leading efforts to produce and sustain Space Based Infrared Systems satellites, the U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, and the Joint STARS airborne ground surveillance aircraft fleet. Prior to that, he led the development of Space Requirements for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and served in multiple engineering and management roles at the National Reconnaissance Office. From 2005 to 2008, Dr. Kennedy was assigned by the Air Force as a program manager at DARPA, where he created and managed efforts around spacecraft and satellite servicing, advanced space power and propulsion systems, and other innovative space technologies.

Dr. Kennedy holds a Ph.D. in electronics and physical sciences from the University of Surrey; a Master of Arts in organizational management from George Washington University; a Master of Arts in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College; and a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science, both in aeronautics and astronautics, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



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