Chief Executive Officer
As Space Foundation CEO, Tom Zelibor leads one of world’s premier nonprofit organizations solely dedicated to supporting space activities, space professionals and education initiatives that open space access and opportunity for all. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, Zelibor manages a national staff with a worldwide reach and impact across the civil, commercial, military and government space enterprise. In consultation with its Board of Directors, he has expanded the scope, resources and direction of the organization while developing new programs and sources of revenue to further advance the Space Foundation’s vision of inspiring, educating, connecting and advocating on behalf of the global space community.
Before joining the Space Foundation in April 2017, Zelibor was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Lightwave Logic Inc. His wide-ranging leadership and entrepreneurial background includes serving as President and CEO of Flatiron’s Solutions; Vice President for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); and, Director, eSpace Incubator at the Center for Space Entrepreneurship, among other commercial affiliations.
Prior to his leadership tenure in the private sector, Zelibor had a distinguished 30 year career in the United States Navy, retiring as a Rear Admiral in 2006. Other highlights of his extensive career in space-related positions include Director of Global Operations, U.S. Strategic Command, Deputy for C4 Integration and Policy/Department of the Navy Deputy CIO; Director, Space Information Warfare, Command and Control Division, and as Commander, Naval Space Command. He also held the position of Dean, College of Operational and Strategic Leadership at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography from the United States Naval Academy in 1976. He was a Naval Aviator early in his Navy career before branching out into space and information technology assignments. The highlight of his military career was as Commander, Task Force Fifty, where he led three U.S. carrier battle groups, two NATO carriers, nearly 60 other U.S. and coalition ships, 300 aircraft and thousands of personnel in the North Arabian Sea conducting combat operations in Afghanistan after the attacks of 9/11.