Mr Palermo is the second Head of the Australian Space Agency, starting in January 2021 at the Agency’s Adelaide headquarters. As Head of Agency, he is responsible for overall governance and performance, management, policy leadership and strategic direction. Mr Palermo spent the previous 14 years in various roles at Virgin Galactic, including managing a team of over 700 engineers, technicians and professionals responsible for the build and testing of a fleet of Mach 3, crewed commercial spaceships. He went from being the first employee of The Spaceship Company, a Virgin Galactic subsidiary dedicated to the high-tech manufacturing function, to becoming Chief Operating Officer of the New York Stock Exchange listed public company Virgin Galactic Holdings.
A Perth native, Mr Palermo graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Physics and Applied Mathematics. Mr Palermo also studied at the International Space University in Strasbourg. Mr Palermo has worked and studied in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Netherlands. His experience goes beyond the space industry having also worked in Australian chemical processing, management consulting, onshore and offshore oil and gas, and mining industries. Returning home to Australia with his wife Nadia and two boys, Mr Palermo brings his deep technical background, international network, and business scaling experience to help further develop Australia’s expanding ecosystem of space companies and startups.