American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration has appointed Indian origin Bhavya Lal as its new acting Chief of Staff. Dr Lal will also serve as the senior advisor for budget and finance at NASA.

As the senior White House appointee at NASA, Lal had been serving as a member of the Joe Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for the agency and oversaw the agency's transition under the administration of President Biden.

According to NASA, Dr Lal brings extensive experience in engineering and space technology, serving as a member of the research staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses at the Science and Technology Policy Institute from 2005 to 2020. She led the analysis of space technology, strategy, and policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Space Council, as well as federal space-oriented organizations, including NASA, the Department of Defence, and the intelligence community.

Dr Lal holds Bachelors and Masters in Science degrees in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a second Masters in Science from MIT's Technology and Policy Programme, and a Doctorate in Public Policy and Public Administration from the George Washington University.

Dr Lal's Linkedin profile reveals that she co-founded and was co-chair of the policy track of the American Nuclear Society's annual conference on nuclear and emerging technologies in space.