Sita Sonty, CEO, Space Tango

May 13 – 15, 2024 // Long Beach, California, USA

*May 13: Exhibitor and VIP Networking Reception May 14-15: Exhibits and Conference

May 13 – 15, 2024 // Long Beach, California, USA

*May 13: Invite only Preview May 14-15: Exhibits and Conference



Sita Sonty, CEO, Space Tango


Hello Sita! Could you tell us a little but more about yourself and your role as CEO of Space Tango?

As the Chief Executive Officer of Space Tango, I set the mission and vision for growth, and oversee its implementation by our agile team.  Prior to this role, I led commercial space at the Boston Consulting Group and served as the first Head of Human Spaceflight Sales at SpaceX, executing the first private spaceflight sale on the Crew Dragon.  I was tapped to lead global market strategy for Starlink in that role; prior roles include VP at Sierra Nevada Corporation and Director for National Security at Raytheon.  Before my time in the space industry, I served as a U.S. diplomat for over seventeen years, with leadership positions in aerospace/defense sales and technology transfer across administrations.  I am a single mom of two teenagers, I have a replacement ACL, and was a professional classical dancer.


You will be joining us on the Fueling the Future: Accessing Funds and Building Space Tech Ventures panel on Tuesday May 14. How have you seen the space investment market change and develop over the last ten years?

Over the past decade, the space investment market has experienced significant growth and transformation, buoyed by technological breakthroughs increasing access to space (more launch providers, cheaper launches by unit) and the utilization of space by other market segments (SATCOM for precision agriculture, Earth Observation for supply chain logistics, etc).  

More access and more utilization means more value creation, in principle.  However, it also means more proliferation of space (which, as we know, is not without risk); moreover, as the value of the economic activity that depends on space technology grows, so does the premium to underwrite all of that economic activity.  

There has been a surge in the number of private space companies which have attracted substantial investments and are driving innovation and competition in the space industry.  We at Space Tango are leading advancements in data technology, biomanufacturing, and additive manufacturing operations in space to deliver market economy value to biotech, health care, and defence customers.

As I wrote in Space and SPACs: A COVID Romance (, the proliferation of special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) in 2020-2021 provided an avenue – albeit imperfect - for space companies to access public markets and raise funds.  However, we have since seen contraction in capital flows into the space industry – perhaps bringing expectations into closer alignment with how quickly space companies can actually deliver the technology and, by extension, the economic value creation that funders are looking for…yesterday.

That said, investors, including venture capitalists, private equity firms, traditional aerospace companies’ venture capital arms, sovereign wealth funds, and family offices are still showing interest in space-related ventures.  The interest among the “Space Aware” investors and the “Space Curious” investors shows no sign of waning. The most crucial factor?  Managing investors’ expectations on valuation and timeline for returns.  VC funds are keeping their powder dry for longer periods of time, and so are other financial institutions looking for a leg up.


How important are reliability, efficiency and autonomy in businesses to help secure investment as well as business success? 

Reliability, efficiency, and autonomy are crucial factors for securing investment and achieving success in the space industry. Investors prioritize companies that demonstrate reliable performance in space missions, as any failure could have significant financial and reputational consequences. 

Efficiency and autonomy in operations not only optimize resource utilization but also reduce risks associated with human error, making derisking space businesses and enhancing competitiveness in this rapidly evolving sector.

International demand for U.S. space companies’ technology and services has never been greater.  Foreign governments are increasingly partnering with private space companies to achieve their space exploration and commercial objectives. These partnerships provide funding, technology transfer, and regulatory support, further fueling the growth of the space industry.

However, in a market rife with continued uncertainty around macro indicators such as interest rates, commercial real estate, and defence spending timelines, the winners will emerge based on how agile they are, and how much they can limit capex through reusable and automated architectures.  

There is also a critical emphasis on sustainability in space activities, including efforts to mitigate space debris and minimize environmental impacts. Regulatory frameworks are evolving to address safety, security, and the responsible use of outer space resources (as I wrote about in this op-ed: (


Space Tango specializes in microgravity research for a variety of terrestrial industries including material science, biotech and medicine. What will the role of space-based microgravity research mean for the development of future terrestrial industries as well as the space industry?

Space Tango's expertise in microgravity research holds immense potential for advancing terrestrial industries such as material science, biotech, and medicine. By conducting experiments in the unique environment of space, we can unearth answers that are not otherwise possible. 

In addition to effective advancements for application on Earth, we can expect to see significant diversification of the space industry and the industries that participate in shaping the off-Earth economy.


If you could travel to anywhere in space, without the limitations of time and resources, where would you go and what would be your preferred method of space transportation?

This may seem against the norm for CEOs in our industry, but I would stay right here on Mother Earth.  

I am honored to be part of an industrial base that serves as the foundation for space exploration and space resource development.  However, I am equally curious about how human beings adapt to one another socially under a reduced consumption footprint, similar to what we observed during COVID.  

Given the choice, I would rather enable others to explore, and spend my own time deepening knowledge about human behavior in our natural habitat.  I think successful exploration depends on understanding human systems. 

I also am rooted in my values of family, community, and service leadership.  So many on planet earth lack resources to sustain basic needs; I have learned this growing up in India and living in 9 countries in my lifetime.  If time and money were no object, I would serve humanity on Earth while enabling our industry to serve humanity on other planets.  Service, to me, is the greatest value creation.


Sita Sonty