WASHINGTON — Former Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord has joined the board of GEOST, an electro-optical/infrared sensor company based in Tucson, AZ.

The company announced Lord’s appointment in a press release today, saying her addition to the board comes at a time of “significant growth” for GEOST, which specializes in space domain awareness and missile tracking capabilities and builds the small imaging payloads needed to track hypersonic weapon threats from space.

Most recently, the U.S. Space Force in December awarded GEOST a $32 million modification to an existing contract under which the company is developing a space domain awareness payload prototype. The work is meant to improve the service’s understanding of what’s happening in space by flying smaller, low-cost sensors on various satellites in geosynchronous orbit.

Lord, who was previously president and chief executive of Textron Systems, left her role as undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment in January 2021. Her time at the Pentagon coincided with the creation of the Space Force and she had oversight of some key space programs, including the GPS Next-Generation Operational Control Segment (OCX) and the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

Since her departure, Lord has joined the Voyager Space and AAR Corp. boards and is a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. Voyager specializes in on-orbit servicing — to include work with the International Space Station — and AAR provides a range of aviation services to commercial and government customers. Lord’s decision to serve on the boards of smaller, nontraditional defense companies following her Pentagon service reflects a larger trend among former DOD officials, Defense News reported earlier this week.

Lord said in the press release she’s impressed with GEOST’s expertise in the space domain. Beyond its focus on space-based missile warning sensors and domain awareness, the company has a portfolio of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, space traffic management and laser communications capabilities.

“I firmly believe their powerful, yet affordable, small sensors will be the engine that enables the transformation of space architectures into the proliferated concept,” she said. “I am excited to join this team and contribute my own industry and government experiences to support GEOST’s vision and impressive growth goals.”

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.