Janet Karika began serving as NASA's chief of staff on Nov. 26, 2018. Ms. Karika is a recognized subject matter expert on space policy, space transportation, and non-proliferation. Before assuming her role as chief of staff, she supported the NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) and the NASA Headquarters Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) Launch Services Office (LSO) as the Jacobs Executive Director of Interagency Launch Programs. She has a history of working space-related issues and studies to support congressional staffs, the Executive Branch, and various federal agencies and departments, including the National Security Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Departments of Commerce, Defense, State and Transportation.
During her 38 years in the space and missile field, Ms. Karika served as the Executive Advisor to the Air Force for space acquisition programs and as the Assistant for Launch Systems for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. During her military career, she was the Air Force Program Executive Office for Space (AFPEO/Space)’s Director for Launch Programs during the transition from heritage launch programs to the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. She worked on the development of ICBMs, upper stages for launch vehicles, commanded a 72-person nuclear detection operations center, and was a Materials Research Scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Ms. Karika holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with emphasis in ultra-high temperature composites used in space propulsion and thermal protection systems. She is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). She served on the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) and chaired its Infrastructure Working Group. She is the Women in Aerospace (WIA) Board of Directors Vice Chair.