Executive Vice President, Space
Robert Lightfoot is the executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space and an officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation. In this capacity, he leads Space business, which is a more than $11 billion enterprise employing more than 23,000 people globally. The Space portfolio provides advanced technology systems for national security, civil and commercial customers. The Space business area includes integrated systems for satellites, human spaceflight, strategic and missile defense, satellite command and control, sensor and data processing including predictive analytics and big data applications, space observatories and interplanetary robotic spacecraft, and a range of sensing, communications, and exploration payloads.
Previously, Lightfoot served as vice president of Operations for Lockheed Martin Space and was responsible for production operations, including assembly, test and launch operations (ATLO), supply chain, quality, program management and all facilities, logistics, and security services. He also served as vice president of Strategy and Business Development within the business area. In this capacity, he led the growth of the Space business with a comprehensive strategy to develop new markets while maintaining the current portfolio. Lightfoot also led strategic planning, advanced technology development and new business acquisition efforts for all lines of business. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin in 2019, he served as the president of LSINC Corporation.
Lightfoot spent 29 years at NASA, where he served as associate administrator, the agency’s highest-ranking civil service position. He held other critical leadership roles to support space operations, exploration and science missions including director of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and director of Propulsion Test at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. He also focused on strategies for key missions including the Space Shuttle’s return to flight following the Columbia tragedy, then initial transition and retirement efforts for shuttle infrastructure.
He was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2010, and received numerous awards during his NASA career, including the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executives, the highest honor for federal government work, in 2006, 2010, and 2016.
Lightfoot earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama where he is a Distinguished Departmental Fellow for the Department of Mechanical Engineering, a College of Engineering fellow, and previously served on the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board.