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Merri Sanchez

Dr. Merri J. Sanchez retired after serving as chief science and technical advisor for Headquarters Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. Sanchez served as the primary advisor to the commander on all scientific and technical matters concerning space and cyberspace research and development programs, and served as the senior authority for all AFSPC scientific and technical matters. 

Sanchez entered government service in 1982 at NASA. She has more than 30 years of space engineering, management and financial experience working projects for the Space Shuttle, International Space Station and X-38 Crew Return Vehicle. She also served as the NASA liaison to the AFSPC, Strategic Command, Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. She represented NASA-wide interests working directly with the commanders of AFSPC, STRATCOMM and NORAD/NORTHCOM. Sanchez was the senior-level NASA representative to the national security community located in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Omaha, Nebraska, including AFSPC, STRATCOM and NORAD/NORTHCOM and their component commands.

Prior to assuming her position at AFSPC, Sanchez was senior director for the Space Systems Group at the Sierra Nevada Corporation in Louisville, Colorado, where she was deputy program executive and program manager for the Dream Chaser commercial crew spacecraft development. 

Sanchez earned her bachelor's in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University, and her master's and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the University of Houston. She is a Fellow in AIAA and served in two vice president positions.  She is the author of more than 17 publications.