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Reuters

Sierra Space taps veteran Boeing lobbyist to helm new government strategy

By Joey Roulette,

2023-03-15

WASHINGTON, March 15 (Reuters) - Sierra Space has tapped Boeing's former top lobbyist to lead a new, more aggressive government relations shop as the company courts government customers for its planned commercial space station.

Tim Keating, a veteran political strategist who pushed Boeing (BA.N) through numerous procurement campaigns for over a decade, joined Sierra in early March as its Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Government Operations, Keating told Reuters.

Sierra Space, which spun off from billionaire-owned Sierra Nevada Corporation in 2021, is one of a handful of space industry players attempting to build a private space station that NASA hopes will replace the two decade-old International Space Station by 2030. Before Keating, the firm's lobbying efforts were led by one person.

"It wasn't really the emphasis, and now we're going to build out a team," Keating, who was also senior vice president of global government relations at Honeywell, said in an interview. "It's going to be helping to tell our story, getting aggressive where we can."

Partnering with billionaire Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, Sierra sees NASA and other countries' space agencies as crucial early customers for its planned space station, a massive orbital research lab and tourist destination dubbed Orbital Reef.

Keating is the latest Boeing veteran to join Sierra, which last year hired Troy Lahr, former chief financial officer of Boeing's defense, space and security unit. Keating, who helped Boeing navigate through its worst-ever crisis following fatal 737 MAX crashes, left the planemaker in 2021.

Sierra over the past decade has been building a spaceplane called Dreamchaser that will carry cargo and crew to the International Space Station for NASA. The spacecraft's first launch to space is slated for later this year aboard a United Launch Alliance rocket.

A $1.4 billion funding round in 2021 allowed Sierra Space to double its workforce to nearly 2,000 and expand ground tests of an inflatable habitat central to the Orbital Reef station. The company has weighed plans to go public.

Reporting by Joey Roulette Editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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