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Official portrait of Phil McAlister at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015.

Philip McAlister

Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Division for Space Operations

Philip McAlister joined NASA in 2005, and is currently the director of the Commercial Spaceflight Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington where he advises NASA about issues pertaining to the design, development, and demonstration and services of commercial spaceflight spacecrafts, systems, and capabilities. McAlister oversees multiple programs at NASA: the Commercial Crew Program, including the Suborbital Crew project; the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program, which includes private astronaut missions to the International Space Station and the development of new commercial space destinations; and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization NASA has contracted to manage the International Space Station National Laboratory.

Prior to this assignment, McAlister oversaw the successful commercial cargo systems (i.e., Commercial Orbital Transportation Services), which facilitated the development of the SpaceX Dragon and Northrop Grumman (previously Orbital Sciences) Cygnus cargo transportation systems. He also served as the executive director for the “Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee” (also known as the Augustine Committee). In 2010, he earned NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal. 

Prior to NASA, he was a director at Futron Corporation where he managed a division that performed aerospace business analysis and technology assessments. Before joining Futron, he served as a senior manager during a 10-year career at TRW Corporation.

McAlister earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Averett University, a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Sciences from the University of Maryland.