Payload Pioneers 2023: Shiv Patel

At just 25-years-old, Shiv Patel is pitching the government on innovative ideas as the government affairs lead at SpinLaunch.

The startup aims to replace a rocket’s lower stage with a mass-accelerator to both lower launch costs and increase access to space. Patel said he spends his days promoting SpinLaunch’s new tech with lawmakers, who have spent decades hearing only about conventional ground-launched rockets. 

“My role allows me to speak to policymakers and industry to remind them that the impossible and unattainable is closer than we think,” he said.

Outside of work: Patel is an active voice in space policy and regulation discussions. He is a graduate of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and co-authored an article underscoring the urgent need for more explicit space regulations. The piece was a testament to his commitment to bridging policy with practice, ensuring that space exploration advances responsibly and sustainably.

Patel also helps mentor students to share what a career in DC and in the space industry could look like. 

“One of my recurring themes is the subject of diversity and my experiences throughout my career as an Asian-American. Diversity of thought and opinions creates a better outcome 100% of the time,” he said. 

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