As CEO of Nanoracks, from 2009 onwards, Jeffrey Manber has steered the growth of the first company to own and market its own hardware and services on board the International Space Station.
When Nanoracks began operations, no one even knew if customers would pay for space station services. No one understood how a private company could operate onboard a government facility.
Today, Nanoracks is a market leader in space station services, having flown over 700 payloads, including 200 satellites deployed, from customers from 30 nations, ranging from NASA, DoD, European Union, German Space Agency, leading U.S. companies such as Planet Labs and Spire, as well as over 100 schools from almost 40 States, and 11 schools in Israel, all with no direct NASA funding.
Before Nanoracks, highlights of Jeff’s efforts to make space just another place to do business include:
- Serving as Managing Director of Energia USA, which helped bring Russia’s space effort into the Western programs. Personal highlight was probably carrying over to Russia the first commercial contract ever between NASA and an Russian organization, (to use Soyuz as an escape vehicle for the never-built NASA Space Station Freedom). Other notable experience includes being present as the current ISS partnership between NASA and Russia took shape. Jeff also helped realize the first commercial project between an American company (Payload Systems) and the space station Mir for pharmaceutical research.
- CEO of MirCorp, overseeing what is still today the world’s only commercial crew mission, two cosmonauts to the Mir space station for over two months with private funds. MirCorp leased the Russian space station Mir for two years, during which Dennis Tito was signed as the first self-paying space voyager (before eventually flying to ISS via Space Adventurers) and signed with Mark Burnett of Survivor and NBC to undertake a game show with the winner going to Mir. As such, Jeff is probably the only Western businessman to have commercially marketed two manned space stations…and hopes to have several more post-ISS pretty soon.
- Assistance in forming the Office of Space Commerce at the Department of Commerce during the Reagan Administration.
- Assisting in the formation of the first fund devoted to commercial space activities while at Shearson Lehman American Express.
Jeff is also the author of numerous articles and several books, including “Selling Peace,” which highlights his time working with the Russian space program. Jeff has served as an adviser on international space issues to organizations, companies and five governments, and is the recipient of the American Astronautical Society’s 2011 Lloyd V. Berkner Award, the 2012 NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Medal and the 2017 Pioneer of New Space Award from the Space Frontier Foundation.