Tiphaine Louradour launches a new phase of her career as CEO of Spaceflight Inc.

Spaceflight CEO Tiphaine Louradour has more than 15 years of experience in the space industry.  (Space Flight Photo)

Spaceflight CEO Tiphaine Louradour has more than 15 years of experience in the space industry. (Space Flight Photo)

Space industry vector Tiffany Louradour is taking the helm as CEO of Spaceflight Inc., a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of launch and space transportation services.

She succeeds Curt Blakewho has been CEO and president of Spaceflight since 2013. Blake led the company through a dynamic period of expansion in the satellite rideshare market – a period that included the company’s acquisition by Japan’s Mitsui & Co. and Yamasa Co. in 2020 and develop the Sherpa orbital transfer vehicle for satellite deployment in low Earth orbit, or LEO.

Louradour has 25 years of experience as a business leader, with more than 15 years of that experience in the space industry. She was president of International Launch Services starting in 2020 – and previously held various executive roles at United Launch Alliance, including president of global commercial sales.

In a news release, Louradour said she was excited to join Spaceflight Inc. “My goal in leading this organization is to build on its pioneering achievements and expand the launch and on-orbit service offerings beyond LEO,” she said. “I look forward to working with the team, as well as its customers and partners, to continue to develop Spaceflight and in particular its Sherpa OTV program into its next phase of growth.”

Since its founding in 2011, Spaceflight has been a pioneer in arranging for small satellites to enter orbit as secondary payloads on a wide variety of launch vehicles. The company has completed 55 missions on behalf of its customers, and 463 spacecraft have been built in space. Its most recent mission was the launch of four Kleos Space satellites on the SpaceX Transporter 6 launch last month.

The satellite ride-sharing market is becoming increasingly competitive, but Louradour told GeekWire that Spaceflight’s decade of experience and its range of launch options provide important advantages. “I believe there are business cases today that maybe don’t quite exist yet, that we’re going to enable because of what we can offer and what we’ve started to offer with Sherpa,” she said.

Louradour said the most important thing is “what are those additional services and opportunities to align to truly meet the needs of our customers.”

Some of those services will likely involve the Sherpa-ES, a space shuttle capable of deploying payloads into lunar orbit or geosynchronous equatorial orbit. “There is a market,” Louradour said. “A lot of activities are going on to support cislunar activities.”

Blake will support the move for the next few weeks. He will then provide consultancy to the Mitsui & Co. space group, and provide legal and strategic advice to other companies in the space industry.

Curt Blake has been CEO and president of Spaceflight since 2013.  (GeekWire Photo/Alan Boyle)

Curt Blake has been CEO and president of Spaceflight since 2013. (GeekWire Photo/Alan Boyle)

“For the past decade, the team at Spaceflight has led the industry in identifying and creating launch services that have enabled hundreds of satellites from commercial entities, government agencies and universities to reach orbit,” said Blake in email statement. “It’s encouraging to think how our team’s innovative, ground-breaking work has changed the way organizations put their spacecraft into orbit.”

Blake said he and his colleagues at Spaceflight “helped make rideshare a standard practice.”

“I’m excited to see how their work, especially on the Sherpa OTV program, will continue to drive the industry forward and enable complex and innovative missions,” said Blake.

Kensuke Kubota, general manager of Mitsui and chairman of Spaceflight’s board of directors, paid tribute to Blake’s involvement and said he was pleased to welcome Louradour to the company.

“She has the passion, industry expertise, strategic leadership skills and collaborative relationship-building ability to create a more successful Spaceflight organization in the future,” said Kubota.

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