Meeting the Needs of the New Space Economy
Firefly Aerospace Inc. (“Firefly”) is an American end-to-end space transportation company committed to providing economical and convenient access to space for small payloads through the design, manufacture, and operation of reliable launch and spacecraft vehicles. Firefly’s launch vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure, and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to ten metric tons of payload. Combined with Firefly’s in-space vehicles, such as the Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) and Blue Ghost Lunar Lander, Firefly provides the space industry with a single source for missions from LEO to the surface of the Moon or beyond. Firefly is headquartered in Cedar Park, TX.
Board of Directors
PARTNER AND INTERIM CEO
Mr. Schumacher is a Partner at AE Industrial and is primarily focused on investment strategy, deal origination, due-diligence management, and the monitoring and growth of AE Industrial’s portfolio investments. Mr. Schumacher currently sits on the boards of AE Industrial’s portfolio companies: AIM, AMPAC, Applied Composites, Atlas, Cross Fire, Moeller and UAV Factory. Mr. Schumacher brings over 14 years of aerospace industry M&A, business development, and engineering experience to AE Industrial. Prior to joining AE Industrial in 2015, Mr. Schumacher was the Director of Business Development for GE Aviation’s Engine Services business, where he was responsible for leading all M&A activity within this organization, including joint ventures, acquisitions, disposals, and related business initiatives. During his ten year career at GE Aviation, Mr. Schumacher also held commercial roles within the Sales, International Programs and Customer Support organizations, as well as engineering roles within the Services and Design organizations. Prior to GE Aviation, Mr. Schumacher was a mechanical engineer at Orbital Sciences Corporation, where he was responsible for design, assembly and test of the Navy’s GQM-163A ducted rocket. Mr. Schumacher holds an MBA from The Ohio State University and a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University.
Thomas E. Markusic
FOUNDER AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY ADVISOR
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.
Mr. Konert is a Partner at AE Industrial and is primarily focused on originating, executing and monitoring AE Industrial’s portfolio investments. Mr. Konert currently sits on the boards of AE Industrial’s portfolio companies: AMPAC, Applied Composites, Atlas, Belcan, BigBear.ai, CDI, Columbia, Gryphon, Pangiam, Redwire and UAV Factory. He has also been involved in AE Industrial’s investments in Global Jet Capital and Kellstrom. Prior to joining AE Industrial in 2014, Mr. Konert was a Senior Associate at Sun Capital Partners where he focused on sourcing, screening and executing middle market buyout transactions across several industries, as well as handling portfolio company responsibilities. Prior to Sun Capital, Mr. Konert was a member of Wells Fargo Securities’ Industrials Group, where he focused on M&A and corporate finance transactions. Mr. Konert received a BA in Economics from Davidson College.
Ms. Braden is an Operating Partner at AE Industrial, bringing over 35 years of experience in the defense, technology and government services industries. Ms. Braden currently serves on the Board of Directors of AE Industrial’s portfolio companies: Belcan, BigBear.ai and Pangiam. Prior to joining AE Industrial in 2022, Ms. Braden was the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Gryphon Technologies, a former AE Industrial portfolio company, which was sold to ManTech International Corporation in 2021. Under Ms. Braden’s leadership, Gryphon transitioned from a privately owned small business into a 1,500+ employee and $300 million annual revenue leader that provides digital engineering, cyber, cloud migration, and predictive analytics solutions to national security organizations. Prior to Gryphon, Ms. Braden served as an executive at various government sector startups that ultimately grew into large businesses. She holds a BS from the University of Akron.
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.
Douglas L. Loverro
Mr. Douglas L. Loverro is a recognized and highly sought-after expert in defense and intelligence space matters, having worked for over 30 years in the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), developing, managing, and establishing national policy for the full range of National Security space activities. Mr. Loverro served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, and Executive Director and Deputy Program Executive Officer for the Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). Prior to his assignment at SMC, he served in a wide range of space leadership roles as Deputy Director of System Engineering at the NRO, and Program Director for the Future Imagery Architecture System, the US Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) System, and the Air Force’s classified space control systems program.
Mr. Loverro is credited with a wide-ranging list of accomplishments in aerospace development including the development of a national strategy for space defense and space system resilience, initiating modernization of the third-generation GPS System, and establishing the DoD’s Global Broadcast Service program, and the invention of the supersonic chemical oxygen-iodine laser.
Deborah Lee James
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.
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.
Jeff 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.
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.
PARTNER AND INTERIM CEO
Jason B. Mello
PRESIDENT, FIREFLY SPACE TRANSPORT SERVICES (STS)
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
Sr. Vice President, Spacecraft
VICE PRESIDENT OF LAUNCH
VICE PRESIDENT, LAUNCH OPERATIONS
Blue Ghost Program Manager
DIRECTOR OF AVIONICS
Blue Ghost Chief Engineer
DIRECTOR OF STRUCTURES
DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Jordi Paredes Garcia
Alpha Chief Engineer
Kevin K. Gordon
Director, Aerospace Software Engineering Group
Director of GSE
DIRECTOR of QUALITY
DIRECTOR OF PROPULSION
DIRECTOR OF LAUNCH OPERATIONS
Director of Mission Management
CO-FOUNDER, DIRECTOR OF COMMERCIAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT