NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce Gets New Director

Today, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced that Richard DalBello, a venerable figure in government and the private-sector satellite industry, has been appointed to be the new director of NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce (OSC), the coordinator of space commerce policy activities within the U.S. Department of Commerce. DalBello officially will begin his duties on May 9.

Richard DalBello, Director, Office of Space Commerce
Richard DalBello

OSC’s key mission is to foster the conditions for the economic growth and technological advancement of the U.S. commercial space industry, issuing, enforcing and maintaining operating licenses for private remote sensing space systems and positioning the nation as a leader in space. OSC is also responsible for modernizing and managing the U.S. systems for space situational awareness.

DalBello has more than 30 years of public and private sector commercial space experience. In his previous position as Virgin Atlantic’s Vice President of Global Engagement, he managed international business development for the company’s fleet of carrier aircraft and space vehicles.

In announcing the selection, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said, “We are excited for Richard to join NOAA and the Department at a crucial moment for the Office of Space Commerce. He brings the experience and leadership needed that is critical right now as the OSC works closely with the Commerce leadership team, White House, Department of Defense, NASA and the private sector to advance U.S. leadership in the global commercial space industry.”

Before his career at Virgin Atlantic, DalBello was the director of Space and Aeronautics in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. There, he played a key role in the development and implementation of domestic and international space policy and program priorities. 

“The important work of the Office of Space Commerce is a top priority at NOAA as it is for the nation,” said Dr. Rick Spinrad, NOAA Administrator. “With Richard leading OSC, the agency is equipped to enhance the safety, stability and sustainability of a growing commercial space environment.”

DalBello, a native of Springfield, Illinois, served in several additional private sector leadership roles and a previous position in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“This is an exciting opportunity and I appreciate the support and encouragement OSC is receiving from NOAA, the Department of Commerce, The White House and Congress,” DalBello said.

He added: “Space safety and sustainability are two of the most critical issues facing the international community today and I am pleased the Biden Administration has made these issues a priority.”

DalBello earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois, a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s in Law from McGill University.

Media contact: John Leslie,, (202) 527-3504