Max “Rowdy” Yates


I am gay and I am an astronautical engineer, aeronautical engineer, astrodynamicist, and Space Force officer.//


I grew up under Montana’s Big Sky where my parents instilled a deep appreciation for the great outdoors and an insatiable curiosity to see, touch, and reveal nature’s mysteries. The diamonds nestled in the night sky have always tempted me to reach for them, first with a homemade 8” Dobsonian telescope, followed by increasingly larger rockets, and now spacecraft as an astronautical engineer and officer in the U.S. Space Force. I earned a Ph.D. in space systems engineering from MIT as well as an M.S. in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, an M.S. in national security strategy from the National War College, an M.A. in defense and strategic studies from the Naval War College, and a dual B.S. in aeronautical and mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. For the past 18 years, I have led technology development for the Space Force, Air Force, and NASA including work on the human spaceflight program and operational fielding of numerous space systems. I previously served as a commander at the squadron level where my team operated payloads on 36 satellites to monitor global adherence to nuclear weapon test ban treaties. I am currently a senior policy advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy.