Microsoft's Chirag Parikh has been proposed as the executive secretary of the US National Space Council by Vice President Kamala Harris.

The council is officially led by the VP, but the day-to-day leadership comes from the executive secretary.

Parikh will step down from his current role as senior director of Azure Space, Microsoft’s cloud business focused on connecting satellites to the Edge and cloud.

Microsoft Azure
– Sebastian Moss

He succeeds space council executive secretary Scott Pace, who was appointed when President Trump revived the council, which had been disbanded since 1993.

Prior to his stint at Microsoft, Parikh was the office director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the director of Space Policy, and director of Defense Policy and Strategy for the National Security Council, The White House.

He also worked for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Science and Technology.

The appointment was welcomed by many in the space community, with some pointing to his years of experience in similar fields.

At Microsoft, Parikh helped push the company into the final frontier.

It officially launched the new Space division in October 2020, partnering with SpaceX's Starlink Internet service, and expanding its existing partnership with SES.

The partnership with SpaceX will see Elon Musk's company provide satellite-powered Internet connectivity on Azure, helping connect Microsoft's newly announced modular data centers.

In its deal with SES, Microsoft will use the company's O3b MEO constellation "to extend connectivity between our cloud data center regions and cloud Edge devices." The two companies announced a partnership as part of Azure Orbital, its new ground station venture.

This year, Microsoft also installed its first satellite ground station infrastructure at an Azure data center. SES is also hosting some of its ground stations at Microsoft data centers.

It is not yet public who will replace Parikh at Microsoft, but CTO William Chappel (formerly of DARPA) and senior director Stephen Kitay (previously Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy) both remain at the division.

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