Director of Strategic Solutions
Karen Barker has taken on the position of Director of Strategic Solutions for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority after being at the Office of Secretary of Defense in Acquisition, Technology and Logistics supporting critical space, cyber and technology programs.
“We are extremely blessed to have Karen as our Solutions Director at Spaceport America. She has an extensive background in space systems and launch operations, a highly competent problem solving intellect, and a super positive attitude for customer support that makes her a perfect fit for our continued growth in the space industry.”
Barker’s background is comprehensive in space business and technology development: engineering, test, evaluations and acquisition of commercial, civil and national security space systems; launch ranges and spaceports; space vehicles (satellites); operationally responsive space; nuclear effects; strategic space, space threats and cyberspace. She works collaboratively with NASA, the FAA AST, DoC, DoS, DNI, NRO and the many space-related offices in DoD. She has authored acquisition and policy recommendations for space range use and launch, assured access to space, space systems security and commercial use of space. As a senior technical advisor she is relied on for the national and international rocket development and space threat developments. She was responsible for DoD interagency collaboration on space licenses and permits on behalf of the Test Resource Management Center for the Office of Secretary of Defense.
Barker has held responsibility for R&D (DARPA), government and industry aerospace programs. Her career spans from space systems engineer to certified program manager, encompassing Shuttle, Trident, Delta, Atlas, Falcon, Antares, Blue Origin and other launch vehicles and operations; cruise missile and aerospace technologies; and rocket engine programs. She was the director of commercial space launch development for the Governor of Florida through Spaceport Florida, helping to build the Cape Canaveral Spaceport for safe and affordable commercial space. She contributed to standing up other state spaceports. As a legislative fellow she worked inside both Bush and Obama administrations at the State Department (Office of Space and Advanced Technology) and the Commerce Department/ NOAA (Office of Space Commerce). Barker provided technical guidance for the National Coordination office for Position, Navigation and Timing (global Navigation Satellite Systems). As a launch operations engineer she was assigned missile defense, international and GPS satellite integration as well as checkout and launch of Delta and Atlas rockets. She also worked with cruise missile, satellite and military aircraft development and manufacturing and is a certified small munitions weaponeer.
A graduate of the Florida Institute of Technology, she holds an MS in Space Systems and an MS in Systems Management/MBA, several patents and is the Deputy Director of Space and Missiles for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, serving the many space-related technical committees within the organization. She is well known for her engagements with STEM projects and mentors at every opportunity.