Alexander MacDonald is the Senior Economic Advisor within the Office of the Administrator at NASA Headquarters. He is recognized as an expert on the economic history of American space exploration and contemporary private-sector space activities. He was previously the founding program executive of NASA’s Emerging Space Office which conducts economic analysis on the emerging commercial space sector and which established NASA’s first grants program for economics research. He is the author and editor of a number of NASA reports including Emerging Space: The Evolving Landscape of 21st Century American Spaceflight, Public-Private Partnerships for Space Capability Development, and Economic Development of Low-Earth Orbit. He is also an Executive Staff Specialist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a former research faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, and has worked for the Universities Space Research Association while at NASA’s Ames Research Center where he worked on small satellite mission designs and served as the center’s first research economist on staff. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from Queen’s University in Canada, his master’s degree in economics from the University of British Columbia, and was a Clarendon Scholar at the University of Oxford where he obtained his doctorate on the long-run economic history of American space exploration. He was also an inaugural TED Senior Fellow and received the AIAA History Manuscript of the Year Award in 2016.


International Astronautical Congress 2022

18-22 September 2022

Paris, France


International Astronautical Congress 2019

21-25 October 2019

Washington, United States