Kiah Erlich, Head of Astronaut Sales and Corporate Partnerships for Blue Origin, opens the first full day of the conference with a keynote address, “Sun, Sand, and Arizona’s Space Economy.”

     PHOENIX, ARIZ. (Sept. 20, 2022) – Kiah Erlich, Head of Astronaut Sales and Corporate Partnerships for Blue Origin, is the 2022 AZCREW Woman Icon Speaker. Her non-space industry translation says it all: “Want to fly to space? I’m the gal you want to talk to.”

AZCREW, the commercial real estate organization that exists to transform the industry by advancing women globally, presents its annual Woman Icon Speaker series Oct. 12 at Arizona Country Club, 5668 E. Orange Blossom Lane, in Phoenix.

As the first point of contact for future astronauts, Erlich leads Blue Origin’s Astronaut Sales team and corporate partnerships for all businesses across Blue Origin. She grew up on the Central Coast of California watching rocket launches out of Vandenberg Air Force Base. At 16 she started taking flying lessons and is a licensed pilot. Erlich continued flying in college where she earned a bachelor of science degree in Aviation Management from Auburn University and an MBA in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

What is it about space that intrigues us?

“I think it’s the unknown and the mystery behind it. It’s the freedom to dream and create anything you want,” Erlich said. “It’s infinite with no parameters, no ceilings, and no walls. It really lets your creative mind run loose. And we all love mystery. We did it as kids when we explored the beach, or went snorkeling in the ocean, or explored a forest. It’s the explorer in all of us.”

AZCREW’s October event begins with networking and a reception on the patio at 4:30 p.m. The presentation begins in the Arcadia room at 5:30 p.m. The event wraps up with networking and reception on the patio at 6:30 p.m.

Erlich began her career at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport where she worked for 1½ years as a graduate airport management intern. She has since spent most of her career in the aerospace industry having led multiple $300 million plus avionics and software businesses for Honeywell Aerospace including several acquisitions.

During her time at Honeywell, she was selected as one of the top 100 global millennial business leaders by Forbes 30 under 30 author Dan Schawbel and featured in his Washington Post bestseller Back to Human. Most recently she led the global sales team for Panasonic Avionics Corporation.

Three years ago, she was offered a once-in-lifetime opportunity to pivot her career and join the space industry as the Director of NASA sales for orbital launch. That non-space industry translation: “I sold rocket launches to the moon and beyond to NASA and civil government customers.”

Today Erlich is focused on finding Blue Origin’s future astronauts and corporate partners and working towards her company’s mission of millions of people living and working in space for the benefit of Earth. She is based in Phoenix.

Is affordable space travel something we will see in the near future?

“Space is relative when you’re talking about time. It’s different for people who work in space and folks who work in other industries,” she explained. “I compare it to the Golden Age of aviation. To fly coast-to-coast roundtrip in the true Golden Age would cost $4,000 in today’s money. The average cost to send an astronaut to the International Space Station varies anywhere from $50 million to $100 million.

“The key for access to commercial space travel is reusable rockets and sustainable fuels. Airline companies don’t throw away an airplane every time they fly it. Blue Origin was first to vertically re-land a rocket booster. It really caught on. Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is 99 percent reusable and both New Shepard and New Glenn are designed to fly a minimum of 25 times. That is a lot for one rocket,” Erlich said.

Registration fee is $75 for members; $500 for a table of eight (person booking the table must be a member); $100 for non-members; and $700 for a non-member table of eight. Register here.

“AZCREW is proud to celebrate pioneers, like Kiah, who break down barriers in industries historically considered male-dominated. The future of commercial real estate is bright, both here and beyond the stars,” said AZCREW President Heather Skinner. 


AZCREW is the local affiliate of CREW Network. CREW Network is the premiere business network dedicated to transforming the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally.  Membership offers unparalleled business development, leadership opportunities and networking both locally and globally with nearly 12,000 professionals in 75+ markets worldwide, representing all disciplines of commercial real estate. Learn more and apply for membership at