Firefly Aerospace Inc. (“Firefly”), headquartered in Austin, TX, is committed to providing economical and convenient access to space for small payloads through the design, manufacture and operation of reliable launch vehicles. The Firefly team addresses the market's need for flexible access to space with a “simplest/soonest” approach to technology selection. Firefly launch vehicles embody the insights of a diverse design team and leverage commercial off–the–shelf (COTS) components, manufactured by suppliers across the United States, to reduce risk, maximize reliability and minimize development time.

Led by CEO Tom Markusic and a team of space industry veterans, Firefly is on track to deliver a US solution for the 1,000 to 10,000 kg payload class to LEO by 2021 for a starting price of $15M. Firefly is committed to doing its part to restore U.S. leadership in the small to medium launch market, and is establishing international offices and strategic partnerships to effectively serve the global market.

Austin, TX, USA

Thomas E. Markusic

founder and chief executive officer

Prior to co–founding Firefly, Tom served in a variety of technical and leadership roles in New Space companies: Vice President of Propulsion at Virgin Galactic, Senior Systems Engineer at Blue Origin, Director of the Texas Test Site and Principal Propulsion Engineer at SpaceX. Prior to his New Space work, Tom was a civil servant at NASA and the USAF, where he worked as research scientist and propulsion engineer.

He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University.

Thomas E. Markusic. Founder and chief executive officer

Deborah Lee James

Chairman of the Board

Has a three-decade track record in national security, including 20 years of U.S. government service, with time on Capitol Hill as a professional staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives and two tours in the Pentagon, first as an Assistant Secretary of Defense and later as the Secretary of the Air Force. As Secretary, Ms. James also was the Principal Defense Space Advisor. She has led large industry teams in support of the military, most notably as President of the Technical and Engineering Sector of SAIC, responsible for $2 billion in Defense contract revenue and 8,700 employees. Ms. James is the author of the leadership book “Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success”; and serves on the boards of various organizations including Textron, Unisys, Noblis, the Penfed Foundation and LeanIn.Org.

Thomas E. Markusic. Founder and chief executive officer

Robert Cardillo

president of The Cardillo Group, LLC

Delivers strategic and operational expertise to create an enhanced awareness of planet Earth to enable improved decision-making. Before forming TCG in May 2019, Mr. Cardillo was the sixth Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency from 2014 until 2019. He led transformation of the Agency’s future value proposition through innovative partnerships with the growing commercial geospatial marketplace. During his 35+ years of public service, Robert served in leadership positions within the organization of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Thomas E. Markusic. Founder and chief executive officer

Jed McCaleb

Founder, Astera Institute

An early pioneer in decentralized systems and blockchain technology, Mr. McCaleb created eDonkey2000, which became one of the largest file-sharing networks in its time. He is also the founder of Ripple and the co-founder of the Stellar Development Foundation. Jed established the Astera Institute to improve the process of science. It is dedicated to researching and fostering high leverage technology that can improve the wellbeing, prosperity and quality of life for all people.

Jed McCaleb. Founder, Astera Institute

Advisory Board

  • Jeff Bingham

    Jeff Bingham

    Brings nearly 40 years of governmental experience to Firefly. Instrumental in shaping space station policy, he served most recently as the senior advisor on space for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He was previously the associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Legislative Affairs. Jeff played a key role in ensuring continued congressional support for the ISS as the legislative coordinator for the International Space Station program.

  • Terry Boardman

    Terry Boardman

    Brings 35 years of expertise from Alliant Techsystems where he served as Chief Engineer for the Space Shuttle solid rocket motor program and later as Director of Space Launch Propulsion. In this capacity he was responsible for engineering effort on all NASA space launch propulsion programs at ATK, including the Shuttle flight program. Terry holds BS and MS degrees from Caltech and is a recipient of the Rotary National Stellar Award for Space Achievement.

  • James Cartwright

    James Cartwright

    General James Cartwright retired from active duty on September 1, 2011, after 40 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. General Cartwright served as Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, before being nominated and appointed as the 8th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation's second highest military officer. He is widely recognized for his technical acumen, vision of future national security concepts, and keen ability to integrate systems, organizations and people.

  • Jim Mase

    Jim Maser

    Senior Vice President of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Space Business Unit since August 2018. Mr. Maser has more than 32 years of global aerospace experience and leadership, spanning entrepreneurial space launch, human spaceflight as well as commercial and military jet engines. Prior to Aerojet Rocketdyne, he served as president of James G. Advisors, LLC, a strategy, leadership and technical execution consulting firm. He also held a number of roles within Pratt & Whitney between 2006 and 2017, including vice president of the F135 engine program and president of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, where he was responsible for the design, manufacture and performance of power and propulsion systems across numerous platforms. Mr. Maser graduated magna cum laude from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Master of Science in Engineering. He later received a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Los Angeles.

  • George Nield

    George Nield

    Has played a critical role in opening space to private industry. As head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, he was responsible for ensuring public safety during all commercial launches and reentries. Previously, George served as manager of the Space Shuttle program flight integration office at NASA Johnson Space Center and as Senior Scientist at the Orbital Sciences Corporation. He holds a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics and is a Flight Test Engineering graduate of the United States Air Force Test Pilot School.

  • William F. Readdy

    William F. Readdy

    Is a veteran astronaut who flew on Space Shuttle missions STS-42, STS-51 and STS-79. He served as NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight Operations, which had oversight for the Johnson, Kennedy, Marshall and Stennis Space Centers as well as program oversight for International Space Station, Space Shuttle, Space Communications and Space Launch Vehicles. Following retirement from NASA in 2005, Readdy has served on the boards of several publicly traded, non-profits and aerospace and technology startups, and served as a chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia until 2016.

Senior Management

  • Tom Markusic

    Tom Markusic

    Founder, CEO
  • Eric Salwan

    Eric Salwan

    Co-founder, Acting Chief Revenue Officer
  • Lauren Lyons

    Lauren Lyons

    Chief Operating Officer
  • Darren Ma

    Darren Ma

    Chief Financial Officer
  • Pete Starnes

    Pete Starnes

    Chief Information Officer
  • Shea Ferring

    Shea Ferring

    Vice President of Mission Assurance
  • Adam Oakes

    Adam Oakes

    Vice President of Launch
  • Keith Becker

    Keith Becker

    Director of Avionics
  • John Courter

    John Courter

    Director of Structures
  • John Cramer

    John Cramer

    Director of Propulsion
  • Paul Garland

    Paul Garland

    Director of Quality Assurance
  • Kim Jennett

    Kim Jennett

    Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications
  • Alona Kolisnyk

    Alona Kolisnyk

    Director of international business development
  • Gary Lantz

    Gary Lantz

    Director of Information Systems
  • Brigette Oakes

    Brigette Oakes

    Director of Design & Analysis
  • Brad Obrocto

    Brad Obrocto

    Director of launch operations
  • Jacob Rendon

    Jacob Rendon

    Director of Fluid Systems