Rachel Lyons

Rachel Lyons is a key advocate in the advancement of the space perspective and exploration. Rachel is the Executive Director of Space for Humanity, a non-profit organizing the planet’s first Citizen Astronaut Mission led by a diverse group of leaders from around the globe. Rachel is the former Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space – USA, a non-profit that empowers young people to make an impact in space exploration. She is a former public radio host. She holds a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering and Economics from the University of Miami.


What is your background, where did you grow up?

My family roots are European — primarily from Hungary and Italy. I was born in Connecticut to two amazing parents who gave me a lot of freedom as a kid. I was able to explore subjects that interested me, spend time doing many different activities, be social, and gain experience working!


When did you first become interested in space?

I was 19! This is my favorite story to share with people… I was 19, watched the first episode of Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Cosmos where he shows our cosmic address — starting from the Earth, to the Solar System, to the Milky Way Galaxy, and out, and out, and out. I was in disbelief. I couldn’t believe how small and insignificant we are, and at the same time, how miraculous it is that we are here!!!!! My life was never the same.


What do you think the biggest issue facing the industry today?

I think the biggest issue is around the lack of connection the space industry has with the general public. There is massive potential in the space perspective (also known as the orbital or overview perspective) in changing people’s lives, and our relationship with our planet and each other. With climate change, racial injustice, economic inequality, and more, being some of the largest issues we face as a civilization, we must take BIG actions to live in right relationship with eachother and our planet. Space is one of the ways that can fundamentally change our perspectives, and thus change our actions and the way we interact with our environment. This needs to be a perspective accessible to the public.


What do you like to do for fun?

Sing. Dance. Hike. Yoga. Take cold dips in the river. Talk about space. Learn. Spend time with people. Spend time in the woods. I also do a lot of work to continuously expand my perspective… bigger and bigger every day. Space fits into that beautifully.


What is your favorite movie and why?

This is hard. Interstellar comes to mind. It incredibly illustrates Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and how time is relative. That was the first time that I learned about it and it absolutely blew my mind.

What are some of your favorite books?

The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne
Overview by Ben Grant
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama
Sapians by Yuval Noah Harari
Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein

What are you reading now?

Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Where do you see the space industry in ten years?

I typically think from the commercial spaceflight perspective. We will have hundreds or thousands of people who have had access to seeing the earth from space, human settlements will be on the moon with researchers, there will be space tourism in Low-Earth-Orbit, and space will be a booming industry on Earth, growing and growing by the day.

What would you tell people just starting out in the space industry?

CONGRATULATIONS on being part of incredible, vital work that is shaping the future of humanity. Thank you for everything you’ve done to get to where you are. You are part of a huge moment for our future. Keep going, learning, challenging yourself, and ask for help. We need you.


What three words best describe you?

Passionate, Adventurous, Independent.

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