United Launch Alliance (ULA) recently named Vernon Thorp as Director of Global Commercial Sales. In this position he will lead all commercial sales activities for Atlas V and the Company’s next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket launching next year.
“Vern brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this position,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “Vern has been active in shaping the future of our commercial launch business activities for years leading acquisition and execution for many missions. This is a natural transition to leading global commercial sales and regulatory activities for Vulcan Centaur.”
Thorp has more than 30 years of experience supporting customers and missions and was recently ULA’s Commercial Program Manager. In this role he supported the sales of the first commercial Vulcan Centaur customer orders and has managed their mission integration efforts progressing towards the on-time first launch scheduled for 2021. Vulcan Centaur will provide higher performance and greater affordability while continuing to deliver on ULA’s unmatched characteristics of reliability, schedule certainty, and orbital delivery precision.
He also oversaw Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial licensing activities and represented ULA on FAA committees specific to commercial spaceflight. He is a voting member of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Commercial Space Standards Committee.
An engineer by trade, Thorp has served in many leadership roles, including NASA and Commercial Programs program manager where he led commercial business acquisition for Atlas and Delta missions. He has been responsible for NASA Launch Services technical and business execution; Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program management, Mission Director for NASA Missions for Lockheed Martin International Launch Services, Mission Manager for Boeing Sea Launch and more.
Thorp holds a Master of Science in mechanical engineering and a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering, both from the University of Minnesota.
With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully launched more than 135 missions to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.
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Jessica Rye, photo ULA