Jeffrey Manber

For twenty-five years Jeffrey Manber has been working successfully to bring about open markets for commercial utilization of space. In the unmanned arena he worked for the chairman of PanAmSat, the pioneering satellite firm that busted up the Intelsat monopoly, which lead to commercial, non-government international satellite communications, and hence the modern era of CNN and mobile international phone services. PanAmSat later underwent a billion dollar IPO. In the mid-eighties Jeffrey worked on the first Wall Street fund devoted to commercial space ventures, for Shearson-Lehman. The fund lost every dime invested. Despite that (or because of that), he served in the Reagan administration's Department of Commerce, to create the Office of Space Commerce, to represent American industry in space exploration. In the 1990's Jeffrey became involved in bringing together the Russian and American space programs. In 1990 he oversaw his first commercial agreement with the Russian space station Mir for an American company, Payload Systems. In 1992 he carried over on a plane the first contract between NASA and the Soviets, for using Soyuz as an emergency vehicle for space station Freedom. Later he became the only American to ever be recognized as part of the Russian space program, serving as RKK Energia's Washington representative, and taking part in the formation of Sea Launch, ILS and the overall commercial marketing of the Russian space station Mir. This marketing on behalf of Energia helped realize the modern era of international cooperation, as well as the premise that NASA can indeed pay for space goods and services. In 1999 he was asked to head the Dutch venture Mir Corp. As CEO of MirCorp, which leased the Russian space station Mir, Jeff is the only businessman to have ever marketed an orbiting space station and conducted a commercial manned mission to space (MirCorp-1,) which allowed two humans to spend over 70 days in space. While leading MirCorp, Manber signed media and entertainment deals with space tourist Dennis Tito, Survivor television producer Mark Burnett and movie producer James Cameron. When the Mir was de-orbited, MirCorp enjoyed a commercial backlog of over $170 million dollars, thus showing that a space platform could be marketed to non-aerospace markets. After MirCorp, Jeffrey left the industry during which he headed an internet venture and wrote "Selling Peace," his memoir on what it was like working with the Russian space program. He returned to head NanoRacks. NanoRacks is the only company to develop, own and market commercially its own research hardware as part of the U.S. National Lab on International Space Station. As Managing Director of NanoRacks, Jeffrey has overseen the growth of the company since its formation in September of 2009. Today, with over 50 payloads under contract, representing both American and foreign customers, NanoRacks has begun implementing the business model of commercial utilization of low-earth orbit. Sometimes, everyone involved at NanoRacks, and their NASA colleagues, are surprised how much progress is being made in realizing finally a robust era of commercial use of low earth orbit, where NASA serves as customer, regular and technology developer and a company like NanoRacks is the operator and marketer of space goods and services, with commercial capital at risk. Jeff has also served as an adviser to numerous organizations, companies and governments on space and international policy issues.
Jeffrey Manber
Managing Director, NanoRacks, LLC