Viasat Inc. a global communications company announced the appointment of Former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) Chief and former Oklahoma Congressman James “Jim” Bridenstine to its Board of Directors. Bridenstine will serve as a Class II director, with an initial term expiring at the Company’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. With the appointment of Bridenstine, the Board now consists of eight members, six of whom are independent directors.
Bridenstine will provide Viasat’s Board of Directors with extensive experience in space technology, innovation and safety based on his leadership role at NASA, as well as defense and aerospace expertise based on his public service in the United States Navy and Congress.
Bridenstine joins Viasat’s Board as the Company is preparing for the impending launch of its ViaSat-3 network, a global geostationary (GEO) system using three state-of-the-art adaptive beam-forming satellites to safely and securely deliver broadband connectivity around the globe. The ViaSat-3 payload and ground network technology use a new system architecture intended to deliver much more bandwidth, in the highest demand places, than any other broadband space system, in GEO or non-geostationary orbits. The ViaSat-3 architecture is highly-scalable, a critical element in keeping pace with constantly growing per-capita bandwidth demand.
Mark Dankberg, Viasat’s co-founder and executive chairman commented, “Jim is a welcome addition to Viasat’s Board of Directors. His insight into all aspects of advanced space programs can help ensure Viasat remains at the forefront of space system and network technology globally. And, because of the pivotal role he’s played in expanding the U.S. manned space program, Jim is also an ardent proponent of preserving safe access to space via proactive measures to protect the space environment and contain orbital debris.”
Bridenstine added, “My professional career reflects both my passion for space and national defense, as well as my intentions to make a meaningful contribution to each of those areas. Joining the Viasat Board of Directors is an opportunity for me to stay at the leading edge of technology, and apply my experience and insights to critical global and national priorities. Viasat’s missions, rapid entrepreneurial growth and culture of innovation – sustained over decades – presents a very attractive, mutually-beneficial opportunity to continue to contribute in private industry.”
Bridenstine served as NASA’s 13th Administrator from April 2018 until January 2021. Under his leadership, NASA launched a new human lunar exploration mission, the Artemis program; continued the commercial re-supply of the International Space Station; led partnering efforts with American commercial enterprises on the Commercial Crew Program, which again launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil, something not done since the end of the Shuttle program in 2011; helped established the Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program to partner with private enterprise in landing rovers on the lunar surface; backed the development of the X-59, a quiet supersonic aircraft and the X-57 Maxwell, NASA’s first all-electric airplane; and supported the development of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management initiatives to facilitate the safe use of drones for commercial use.
Since January 2021, Bridenstine has worked as a senior advisor to Acorn Growth Companies, a private equity firm. Prior, from 2013 to 2018, Bridenstine was a member of Congress where he represented Oklahoma’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and served on the Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Bridenstine’s career in federal service began in 1998 as a pilot in the United States Navy. Bridenstine earned a B.A. degree with three majors – Economics, Business and Psychology – from Rice University and an M.B.A. degree from Cornell University.