David Urie

David Urie's career in aerospace goes back more than 50 years, which makes his aerospace career longer than most of you have lived. Most recently Dave set up and built both an engineering team and company in Oklahoma for Rocketplane Ltd. Rocketplane was established to build a suborbital space tourism vehicle and program. When Rocketplane purchased Kistler Dave became the Chief Technical officer for both Rocketplane and the Kistler two stage reusable launch system. Prior to joining Rocketplane, David Urie was President of Concept Fusion, Inc., providing technical development services to established companies and start-ups such as Pioneer Rocketplane. In 1996, after a 30-year career with the Lockheed Martin Corporation he retired to form his own company. During his Lockheed career, Urie led teams on such projects as Lockheed’s X-30 National Aerospace Plane, the HL-20 Personnel Launch System, and was Chief Engineer and then Program Manager of the SR-71 reconnaissance system before initiating and heading the Single Stage to Orbit and X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle Programs. As a Director of the Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works SSTO/RLV Advanced Technology Demonstration Program, Urie conceived and developed the aerospike rocket propelled lifting body that was selected by NASA as winner of the X-33 competition. He holds the patent on the design, formed, and headed a multi-company team encompassing all aspects of SSTO/RLV. Dave’s work history also includes the Nike Zeus first generation anti-ballistic missile program, and nearly 30 years of his career was at Lockheed Aeronautics as an engineer, a program manager, and director of high speed and space at the famous Skunk Works. During his career Dave worked on 37 separate programs and nine of those programs are still flying. Dave’s specialty is conceiving, initiating, and developing new programs from whole cloth. Notably, he is considered to be the father of the Lockheed Venturestar single stage to orbit concept, and he did the original operations research analysis that convinced Lockheed that very low observables brought a powerful advantage in air to air combat. This led to the Lockheed F-22 Raptor. Legendary president of Lockheed, Dick Heppe once stated in a senior meeting that “Some day we will find something that Dave can’t do”. Dave is currently a strategic consultant for Colbaugh & Heinsheimer where he works with clients to develop and implement capture strategies and execution plans to develop new business. Dave was named by the AIAA its Engineer of the Year in 1997, has received several other prestigious awards, has written numerous articles and holds patents. He is on the aerospace curriculum advisory boards of two universities and is here today to discuss the certainty of uncertainty and the importance of dreams. Throughout his distinguished career, Urie has received numerous honors and awards including the prestigious Engineer of the Year award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has published many articles, prepared and taught several short courses, and has given many lectures and presentations, and has served as aerospace engineering curricula advisor to two universities.

Broadcast 811 (Special Edition)

David Urie was the guest for this Space Show program. Mr. Urie, recently with the Rocketplane Kistler Group, is now a consultant regarding space business development. With space engineering experience pre-dating Sputnik 1, we talked in detail about rocket engineering, technology, markets, and economics. We discussed the feasibility of suborbital space tourism, orbital space tourism, the $100/lb to LEO cost, the Marine Space Transportation Vehicle and much more. Listeners asked lots of questions about Rocketplane, fuel placement on a passenger vehicle, the need for space suits, and more.

Broadcast 388 (Special Edition)

David Urie, Executive Vice President of Rocketplane, Ltd, was the guest for this Space Show program. At the start of the interview, I asked Mr. Urie several questions regarding his work at Lockheed and Skunk Works with the National Aerospace Plane, the SR-71, SSTO's, X-33, and more. Mr. Urie provided not only interesting insights and information to these projects, the timing, the company, and the politics of the day, but he also shared with us his fresh perspectives regarding these and future government space programs.


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