NASA Names First Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer


NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has appointed David Salvagnini as the agency’s new chief artificial intelligence (AI) officer, effective immediately. Salvagnini will assume this role in addition to his current position as chief data officer.

NASA extensively utilizes AI tools to support its missions and research projects, analyze data, and develop autonomous systems for spacecraft and aircraft. Nelson emphasized the importance of remaining at the forefront of AI advancement while ensuring responsible usage to accelerate the pace of discovery and benefit humanity.

Salvagnini’s appointment aligns with President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. He will lead NASA’s efforts to guide the responsible use of AI in space exploration and on Earth, championing innovation and supporting the development and risk management of AI tools, platforms, and training.

In his expanded role, Salvagnini will foster collaboration with government agencies, academic institutions, industry partners, and experts to keep NASA at the cutting edge of AI technology.

With over 20 years of experience in technology leadership, Salvagnini brings a wealth of expertise to NASA. Before joining NASA in June 2023, he held various leadership roles in the intelligence community, including serving as director of the architecture and integration group and chief architect at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Salvagnini also served in the Air Force for 21 years.

Under Salvagnini’s leadership, NASA will continue to leverage emerging AI technology to enhance its missions, from analyzing Earth science imagery to conducting research with the James Webb Space Telescope and the Perseverance Mars rover.

Prior to Salvagnini’s appointment, NASA’s acting responsible AI official was Chief Scientist Kate Calvin.