New Mexico State University Professor Emerita Patricia Hynes has been appointed to the Standing Committee on New Users of Shared Airspace within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Transportation Research Board and will serve as the commercial space transportation lead.
The National Academies provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conducts other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.
Director of the Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation in New Mexico, Hynes works on human space flight research and education across the state. She said she was excited to serve in the volunteer, three-year position.
As an advisory board, one of the responsibilities for participants will be to review publications and provide resources to regulatory agencies.
“There’s forces that push us to adapt technologies, and it is best if the politicians understand that we need science to drive which technologies to develop and invest in as a nation,” Hynes said. “I have realistic expectations about what the academy can do.”
Hynes added it’s important to make the information accessible and to help the public understand the known technologies for accessing the air space safely.
As of July 2021, three of the four operational human-rated U.S. commercial space launch providers recorded their first flights with humans: Virgin Galactic in 2018, SpaceX in 2020 and Blue Origin in 2021, with United Launch Alliance yet to record a human test flight. With the many changes affecting the national air space, Hynes said more data and better prediction models are needed to understand the impact of human and cargo space transportation on the shared air space.
“Pat Hynes has been a passionate advocate for space exploration and human space flight for many years,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “We appreciate all of her efforts in promoting research and student engagement, and I’m excited to see her in this new role.”
Hynes spent 20 years from 1998 to 2018 as director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium and NASA EPSCoR statewide programs, which are headquartered at NMSU. Hynes is a three-time NMSU graduate. She earned a Ph.D. in business administration, a master’s degree in higher education management and a bachelor’s degree in English.