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Virgin Orbit Hires SpaceX Veteran as New VP of Flight and Launch

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 27, 2021
Filed under , , ,
Tyler Grinnell (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

Long Beach, Calif., June 25, 2021 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit, the California-based responsive launch company, announced today that it has selected Tyler Grinnell to serve as the team’s new Vice President of Flight and Launch. As Virgin Orbit works to further evolve its commercial launch services, Tyler will play a key role in enabling the Flight and Launch teams to achieve the operating pace and efficiencies required to serve the company’s growing customer manifest.

Tyler brings with him a decade and a half of aerospace experience, joining Virgin Orbit after spending 12 years at SpaceX, where he held a number of positions including Launch Engineer, Launch Lead Engineer for Instrumentation & Avionics, Lead Launch Operations Development Engineer, Senior Manager of Launch Operations Development, and most recently Director of Launch and Recovery Operations. 

As Director of Launch and Recovery Operations, Tyler oversaw the large team of engineers, technicians, and support staff who provide the integrated launch, recovery, and pad operations for the Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles, during which time his team executed 20 successful missions within a 12-month period, as well as the successful launch and recovery of the first commercial crew astronauts. Prior to SpaceX, he held roles at both Boeing and NASA at Kennedy Space Center. 

On why he’s eager to work with the Virgin Orbit team, Tyler said: “The LauncherOne platform is one of innovation, and a major catalyst for rapid, reliable launch. Utilization of the unique 747-based launch capability has eliminated the cost and time associated with launch pad refurbishment, which is a major driver to launch cadence. This also reduces or eliminates many external factors that all other launch pad-based providers need to account for — such as ground launch weather and scheduling conflicts with other launch providers.”

Tyler earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle University and serves on the Aerospace & College of Engineering Industry Advisory Boards for the university. 

2 responses to “Virgin Orbit Hires SpaceX Veteran as New VP of Flight and Launch”

  1. ThomasLMatula says:

    As long as they are using the Eastern and Western Test Ranges they will still need to coordinate schedules. Also the most common weather delays are high altitude winds which are higher that Launcher One flies. It will be interesting to see how large the market is for it. Speaking of markets it appears there are additional private missions being proposed for the Dragon2.

  2. duheagle says:

    There are ex-SpaceX-ers all over NewSpace. Astra has one and Relativity has two in senior positions. Firefly CEO Tom Markusic also has some SpaceX time on his resume. Elon has not only founded the two leaders in NewSpace and NewAutomotive, but can be said, to a considerable degree, to have founded these two entire industrial sectors.

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