- NASA Watch
- May 21, 2023
Patti Grace Smith
Patti Grace Smith, Champion of Private Space Travel, Dies at 68, NY Times
“In an email, Elon Musk, the PayPal and Tesla entrepreneur who founded SpaceX, a company that has developed launch vehicles, wrote that Ms. Smith had “helped lay the foundations for a new era in American spaceflight.” “We are closer to becoming a multiplanet species because of her efforts,” he added.”
Keith’s note: There was a time when Patti was the only person in the entire Federal government who was thinking seriously about commercial space. At that time, no one else really cared. She did. Look what happened.
Keith’s update: Patti’s family requests in lieu of flowers that donations can be made to the American Cancer Society in Patti’s name. Patti’s “Home-Going” Service will be held Monday, 13 June at 11:00 am at the Mount Sinai Baptist Church 1615 3rd St. NW in Washington, DC.
I'm so sad: Patti Grace Smith, my older sister from another mother & the pioneering first FAA Assoc Admin for Com'l Space Transp, has died.
— James A. M. Muncy (@JamesMuncy) June 6, 2016
If @OrbitalATK has not already named its next Cygnus, "SS Patti Grace Smith" should be on their short list.
— NASA Watch (@NASAWatch) June 7, 2016
Tough to handle the passing of two legends in the space policy business at the same time, Dick Malow and Patti Grace Smith.
— Marcia Smith (@SpcPlcyOnline) June 7, 2016
I am in shock at the news of this great lady’s passing. I just saw Patti a couple of months ago and outwardly seemed her usual wonderful self. She was my successor at the FAA OCST Office and made huge contributions to establishing the office’s legitimacy and fostering effective relationships with all pertinent stake-holders. She embodied her middle name and was the essence of a class lady. When I was dealing with my legal challenges, she stuck with me as a friend and supporter. Her passing leaves a big hole in our community. My prayers go out to her family and friends. Godspeed, Patti!
So sorry to hear this. Just like Courtney, I saw her just recently and enjoyed catching up with her. A true pioneer and advocate for commercial space.
Gone too soon. I don’t think I ever saw Patti not smiling. She took on challenges with a soaring spirit of optimism and ‘can-do’ competency. A pioneer of commercial space when it was barely a movement, long before an industry. We all owe her much and she will be missed.
The one enduring image I have of Patti is when I was going down – and Patti was going up – the Metro escalator on the Yellow line at the Archives on some random day in DC. She smiled, waved, and said “Hi Keith”. It was that smile.
I just want to add my thoughts –Patti was a remarkable leader of FAA’s OCST and advancing commercial space. But beyond that, her reach in our community was very wide, very deep and most importantly, very personal. Her impact was felt by many, and she will be missed. I know I’ll miss her!
A tragic loss and way too soon. Patti was a person of great grace and intelligence. She served the nation with integrity and we are the poorer for her passing.
Posted elsewhere on private forums, but for the public one, let me repeat that I’m shocked and saddened. I had no idea she was ill. Patti was indeed one who carried the torch when there were few in government who believed in commercial space, and she taught me a lot.
She was also a wonderful person to know.
I will always remember how happy Patti was when she presented the first DOT/FAA Commercial Astronaut Wings to Spaceshipone pilot Mike Melvill. Very few people are aware of the difference between living history and making history. She was even rarer because she enabled others to make history.