Officers

Michael A. Blum

Chief Executive Officer, Director

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Michael A. Blum is a Founder and President of Hedgeye Risk Management, a leading independent financial and economic research firm and online financial media company. Mr. Blum sits on the Board of Hedgeye Cares, Inc., Hedgeye’s employee-driven 501(c)3, which supports educational activities for underprivileged youth. He is a Managing Director of Macao-based Asia Leisure Capital, a hotel and casino management specialist focused on the South East Asian market.  Additionally, Mr. Blum is President of Seven7, LLC, an investment firm focused on early and growth stage investments in the sports and entertainment sector.

Previously, Mr. Blum was Founder and Chief Financial Officer at Firefly Space Systems, a dedicated small satellite launch company.Mr. Blum was Founder and Chief Operating Officer of the hedge fund Falconhenge Partners, LLC. The firm was integrated into

Magnetar Capital in 2006, where Mr. Blum lead several international expansion efforts.

Prior to working on Wall Street, Mr. Blum spent seven years in Silicon Valley, where he began his career at Frog Design.  He later joined PayPal, the world’s leading electronic payment system, initially serving as Country Manager for Germany, and eventually overseeing the firm’s business in Asia and the Pacific.  PayPal sold to eBay for $1.5B in 2002.

Mr. Blum is an Astronaut-in-waiting at XCOR Aerospace.   He is the author of the essay titled “A Tourist’s Perspective on Space” published in the book Space Commerce: The Inside Story By The People Who Are Making it Happen.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Studies (honors) from Yale University.

Michael Valant

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Vice President of Engineering and CTO of XCOR Aerospace.

Mr. Valant currently has 20 years of experience in the following areas: rocket propulsion system design and development, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, FEA modeling of mechanical and thermo mechanical systems, manufacturing, machine tool design, metal additive rapid manufacturing, and various welding technologies. 

Since 2006, Mr. Valant has worked at XCOR to design and develop various propellant systems and components, to include rocket engines, valves and pumps for kerosene and liquid oxygen to fit the design requirements for the XCOR Lynx sub-orbital vehicle main propulsion system.

He has also successfully led a team funded by ULA to design and develop the cryogenic piston pumps, engine, and test stand for the liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen pump-fed rocket engine program.

Mr. Valant was one of the engineers responsible for the development and vehicle integration of XCOR’s first pump-fed rocket engine, which successfully propelled the X-Racer vehicle through 40 successful flights. Mr. Valant has a B.S. and an M.S.

Geoffrey Nunngeoff-nunn

Vice President of Operations and Programs of XCOR Aerospace.

Mr. Nunn has 40 years of leadership roles in the design and development of leading edge subsea hardware systems including saturation diving systems, remotely operated vehicles, autonomous vehicles and specialized operational and maintenance systems.

Working 30 years as a program manager at companies including Honeywell, Alliant Techsystems, Hughes Aircraft, Raytheon, and SAIC.

Owner and Principal Engineer of Thetis Technologies LLC an engineering and management company started in 1998 providing systems engineering management and design support to defense and commercial offshore operations companies.

Directors

Michael A. Blum

Charles Thomas (Tom) Burbage

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Tom Burbage spent as of 1980 until the recent years at Lockheed Martin as one of the company’s Senior Executives.

With a track record in managing the F22 program and being named President of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company in Marietta, Ga., he led the restructuring and downsizing of that company prior to the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics consolidation. After that, he was named Executive Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, leading the Concept Demonstration Phase and Lockheed Martin’s competitive selection as the Prime Contractor.

Mr. Burbage has received numerous industry awards, including the inaugural U.S. Naval Academy/Harvard Business Review Award for Ethical Leadership in 2007; the 2006 Society of Automotive

Engineers Leadership in Aerospace Award; the Donald C. Burnham Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers; the Silver Knight Award from the National Management Association; three Aviation Week Magazine Laurels Awards and the Aerospace Industry Personality of the Year for 2002.

Esther Dyson

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Esther Dyson is a leading angel investor, philanthropist, and commentator, with a portfolio including not just space but health, human talent and various internet startups in the United States and emerging markets such as Russia and Africa.

A Director at XCOR Aerospace since 2011, her investments also include Icon Aircraft, NanoRacks and Space Adventures.

Dyson also serves as a member of the NASA Advisory Council and as Chairman of its Technology and Innovation Subcommittee from 2010 to 2012.

From October 2008 to March 2009, she lived in Star City, Russia, training as a cosmonaut (as backup to space tourist Charles Simonyi and a client of Space Adventures).

She expects to catch her first ride to space with XCOR.  However, she still cannot drive a car.

Mark Hoogendoorn

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After concluding his studies at the renowned Eindhoven University of Technology, Mark founded and managed a software development company, ISAAC in Eindhoven, one of Europe’s important technology centers.

Intrigued by innovation and entrepreneurship he decided to combine his work for ISAAC with a family owned Venture Capital firm Swing Investments.

In his role as first investment manager and later on General Manager Mark has realized and closed some important investments by Swing including those in XCOR.

Lee Valentine

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Dr. Lee Valentine has been involved in space development for three decades, He has been an investor in XCOR Aerospace since 2002. He is a director of Orbital Outfitters and was the initial outside investor. He is a general partner of V Aerospace Ventures, a private venture fund. He was the initial outside investor in SEEGRID Corp. the world’s sole producer of autonomous, visually guided, industrial robots. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Space Studies Institute since 1980 and now serves as Chairman of the Board.
At SSI, he financed engineering models of the successful Lunar Prospector spacecraft. He financed the Mass Driver III test bed and, with EMEC Corp., the development of processes to refine aluminum on the Moon. He brought Prof. Yuri Raizer to SSI to perform analytic studies of laser shock dynamics in support of Prof. Leik Myrabo’s laser launch program at RPI. He also started and financed the initial closed ecology life support systems development by Prof. William Jewell at Cornell University.

Lee is the author of “A Space Roadmap: Mine the Sky, Defend the Earth, Settle the Universe”, “Critical Trajectories for the Human Settlement of the High Frontier” and “Mass Drivers for Planetary Defense.” He is coauthor, with Prof. William Jewell, of “The Engineering Trade Space for a Robust Closed Ecological Life Support System: A Suggested Technology Road Map.” He is also the editor of Settling Circumsolar Space: Space Manufacturing 13.

Dr. Valentine holds a Bachelor of Science from Penn State University and an M.D. from Jefferson Medical College. He is board certified in internal medicine and in emergency medicine.