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Tim Kopra is appointed CEO, while Mohit Sharma will be CFO
HOUSTON, Feb. 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Starlab Space LLC (Starlab Space), the transatlantic joint venture between Voyager Space and Airbus, today announced its leadership team, consisting of a group of highly talented professionals ready to drive the company towards the future.
Tim Kopra, retired NASA astronaut and Voyager executive, has been named Starlab's new CEO. Kopra, an experienced leader, will leverage his extensive knowledge of space exploration and his experience overseeing the Starlab program at Nanoracks (part of Voyager's Exploration Segment) to lead the joint venture on its path to development. Kopra will also serve on Starlab's Board of Directors.
"I am honored to lead Starlab on our mission to transform space exploration," said Kopra. "The collaboration between Voyager Space and Airbus reflects an unparalleled level of expertise, embodied by this world-class leadership team. Starlab Space is not only positioned to meet and exceed current standards in space exploration, but also to revolutionize the space industry." business as a whole".
Mohit Sharma, currently Chief Financial Officer of Mergers and Acquisitions at Airbus Defense and Space, joins Starlab as Chief Financial Officer. After 15 years at Airbus, Sharma will oversee all financial and fundraising aspects of Starlab, expanding and developing the joint venture's financial strategy to foster the company's continued growth.
"We are entering a crucial time in the aerospace industry and I feel privileged to be part of Starlab's management team," said Sharma. "As we navigate the financial landscape of this innovative international company, we will focus on ensuring fiscal soundness and strategic resource allocation. I am honored to contribute to the success of this ambitious company, creating value for our shareholders and establishing a solid foundation for the bright future of space exploration."
Marshall Smith, CTO of Voyager Space, Jim Bridenstine, former Administrator of NASA, Debra Facktor, Senior Vice President and Director of Space Systems at Airbus U.S. Space and Defense, and Mohamed Denden, CFO, also join Starlab as board members. Additionally, Dr. Marc Steckling, Senior Vice President and Director of Earth Observation, Science and Exploration at Airbus Defense and Space, will be a permanent guest on the Starlab board.
Starlab Space LLC Board of Directors
Tim Kopra, CEO
Tim Kopra has been a career military man, an astronaut and now a senior business leader. He was previously president of OneWeb Technologies, an American secure global satellite communications company. Additionally, Kopra was Vice President of Robotics and Space Operations at MDA, a Canadian space company. He was also a partner and co-founder of Blue Bear Capital, a venture capital firm specializing in energy technology.
Kopra served in various operational and leadership roles at NASA as an engineer, astronaut, and commander of the International Space Station. At NASA he made two space flights, three space walks and spent 244 days in space.
As an Army pilot, Kopra participated in Operation Desert Storm and later commanded an AH-64 Attack Helicopter Company. Following these missions, he was director of Developmental Testing for the Army Comanche Helicopter Program until his assignment to NASA in 1998 and his selection as an astronaut in 2000.
Kopra remains active in military affairs as a civilian advisor to the secretary of the Army. He is also involved in the Texas business ecosystem as an advisor to Greentown Labs Houston.
Mohit Sharma, CFO
Mohit Sharma has spent more than 15 years at Airbus, most recently as Chief Financial Officer of Mergers and Acquisitions at Airbus Defense and Space. With experience in finance, mergers and acquisitions, fundraising (equity, debt, etc.), Sharma drove international cooperation and partnerships for Airbus, developing new and innovative businesses and positioning them for rapid growth, including, above all, satellite constellation company NewSpace OneWeb. Computer engineer trained at the Cochin University of Science and Technology, with a dual degree MBA (ESCP Business School and Asian Institute of Technology), he has worked in Asia, the United States and Europe, and began his professional career at the United Nations and the International Criminal Court before joining Airbus.
Thomas Ayres, general counsel
Tom was the 20th general counsel of the Department of the Air Force. In that role, while managing 2,600 lawyers, he also led an interdisciplinary team to draft, defend and implement legislation creating the Space Force. Following the birth of the United States Space Force, he simultaneously became the first general counsel of the United States Space Force.
Most recently, Tom was Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of Voyager Space. Prior to Voyager Space and his civilian service in the United States Air and Space Forces, Tom retired as a major general in the Army. He served multiple combat missions advising joint and coalition force commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was awarded the Bronze Star with two oak leaves. A graduate of West Point and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he also has extensive litigation and board experience.
Paul Schauer, head of purchasing
At Starlab, Paul is responsible for purchasing, contracting and supplier management. At Voyager Space, Paul remains Executive Vice President of Integrated Operations, where he is responsible for aligning systems, processes and people with the company's strategic objectives. Prior to Voyager, he spent 25 years supporting the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community in positions in government and industry. Schauer built and executed government procurement strategies for systems ranging from FAR 12 Part competitions for commercial aircraft to fixed-price satellite purchases. Paul subsequently served many agencies as a supplier in the industrial sector, where he helped expand a small business through multiple acquisitions culminating as Vice President of Tactical Systems at CACI. Paul is also co-creator and co-host of the Contracting Officer Podcast, where for over 10 years (and over 1.5 million listens) he has used his expertise to help management and industry professionals understand a little better how the other party thinks.
Additional members of the Starlab Space LLC management team will be named in the coming weeks and months. The team will also include the CEO of Starlab's European entity, once this company has been founded.
Starlab Board of Directors
Tim Kopra, CEO of Starlab Space LLC
Jim Bridenstine, former NASA administrator
Jim Bridenstine, a former Navy pilot and US congressman, was the 13th administrator of NASA, appointed by President Donald Trump. Leading a staff of 70,000 people and managing an annual budget of $23 billion, he promoted NASA's Artemis program, focused on exploration of the Moon and missions to Mars. Bridenstine prioritized commercial partnerships, enabling the United States' return to human spaceflight in 2020 and establishing the Commercial Lunar Cargo Services Program. His varied career also includes a role in creating the Space Force while serving in Congress and notable military service with combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Navy pilot.
Voyager Space Chief Technology Officer Marshall Smith
Marshall Smith has decades of experience designing and building complex human-capable space systems for NASA. At Voyager, Smith oversees the development of Starlab, the company's commercial space station, and other space infrastructure and exploration initiatives.
Previously at Nanoracks, part of Voyager's Exploration Segment, Smith led the space systems division, which included the development of commercial space stations, autonomous outpost platforms and support systems, including airlocks. Marshall comes to Voyager after 37 years at NASA, most recently as Deputy Administrator for Systems Engineering, Director of Human Exploration, and Director of Cross-Program Systems Engineering.
Smith led large integrated teams to develop and implement some of NASA's most critical programs, including systems engineering for SLS, Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems. He led the formulation of the Artemis and Moon to Mars plans, including NASA's Gateway, the Human Landing System, and other future systems needed for deep space missions. He is a recipient of the NASA Systems Engineering Excellence of the Year Award, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and NASA Exceptional Service Medal.
Debra Facktor, director of US space systems for Airbus U.S. Space and Defense, Inc.
Debra Facktor heads the Airbus U.S. business line. Space Systems, focused on small satellites produced for commercial and government customers at the company's manufacturing facility in Merritt Island, Florida, and in space exploration activities in the United States. Facktor also served on the board of the Airbus OneWeb Satellites joint venture prior to its recent acquisition by Airbus U.S.
Prior to joining Airbus U.S., Facktor was Vice President and General Manager of Strategic Operations at Ball Aerospace, where she led the company's Washington DC operations, strategic development, and marketing and communications.
Facktor has a bachelor's and master's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan and an alumni of the summer program at the International Space University of Strasbourg (France).
Mohamed Denden, CFO of Airbus U.S. space
Mohamed Denden is CFO of Airbus U.S. space
Prior to joining Airbus, Denden worked at Lockheed Martin, DRS Technologies and Deloitte. He is a CPA and MBA from the University of Central Florida, and is fluent in several languages.
Doctor Marc Steckling, Senior Vice President and Director of Earth Observation, Science and Exploration at Airbus Defense and Space
Dr. Marc Steckling is the Director of Earth Observation, Science and Exploration at Airbus Defense and Space and heads Airbus Space Systems in Germany. He was previously CEO and Chairman of the Board of Tesat-Spacecom GmbH
About Starlab Space
Starlab Space LLC is a transatlantic joint venture between Voyager Space and Airbus that designs, builds and will operate the Starlab commercial space station. Starlab will serve a global customer base of space agencies, researchers and companies, ensuring a continued human presence in low Earth orbit and a seamless transition of microgravity science and research from the International Space Station to the new era of the commercial space station.
For more information about Starlab, visit the Starlab website at www.starlab-space.com and follow us on social media via @Starlab_Space (X, Instagram) and @Starlab (Linkedin).
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