Tom Markusic holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and has twenty years of aerospace technical and business experience. Prior to co-founding Firefly, Tom served in a variety of technical and leadership roles in NewSpace companies: Vice President of Propulsion at Virgin Galactic, Senior Systems Engineer at Blue Origin, Director of the Texas Test Site and Principal Propulsion Engineer at SpaceX. Prior to his NewSpace work, Tom was a civil servant at NASA and the USAF.
Tom’s primary area of research had been electric propulsion (EP), where Tom published approximately thirty EP-related papers. He also has extensive, hands-on experience in flight operations as well as developing and testing chemical propulsion rockets for launch vehicles. Tom has led hundreds of tests on SpaceX’s Merlin liquid LOx/RP-1 gas generator cycle rocket engines. He contributed to the development of SpaceX’s Raptor upper stage engine, SpaceX’s Kestrel pressure-fed LOx/RP upper stage engines, the Draco hypergolic RCS thruster, and others.
Tom’s principal area of technical expertise is in rocket propulsion and launch vehicle development. He architected complete launch vehicles, ranging from conventional ground and air-launched vehicles (VG LauncherOne, Firefly Alpha), to futuristic reusable rocket planes (Firefly Gamma).
Firefly is his vision, where he serves as both the CEO and CTO.