Melissa Kemper Force
General Counsel, Spaceport America
Melissa Kemper Force is a space lawyer who, prior to joining Spaceport America, worked in the Office of Space Commercialization (now Office of Space Commerce) in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assisting in the development of the commercial space transportation policy, and taught Aviation and Space Law as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and International Law and Politics of Outer Space and Space Systems Law and Policy as an adjunct professor at Webster University. She is an elected member of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) and Co-Chair of its Manfred Lachs International Space Law Moot Court Committee, which oversees regional moot court competitions in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America and organizes and conducts international semifinals and finals competitions every year during the International Astronautical Congress.
She has served as moderator and panelist for the Air Law Institute’s Air and Space Law Symposium and the American Bar Association’s Forum on Air & Space Law and has authored, published and presented papers in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America on a wide array of issues, including space traffic management, space debris, extraterrestrial resource extraction, the Moon Agreement, suborbital spaceflight and rules for the arbitration of space disputes in fora as diverse as the IISL Annual Colloquium, at the IAASS Space Safety Conference, the Canadian Space Commerce Association National Conference, the International Space Development Conference and the Global Space Exploration Conference.
Prior to obtaining her Advanced LLM degree from the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden University (the Netherlands), Ms. Force was the Vice President and Associate General Counsel heading international and domestic claims for HOK, Inc. and a litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP. She grew up in Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a juris doctor degree in Law, serving as an editor of the Missouri Law Review.