Speaker Interview: Tiphaine Louradour, President of Global Commercial Sales at ULA
Hi Tiphaine, could you please tell us a little bit more about your position with ULA?
First of all, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to participate in this interview. I’m looking forward to contributing to another Space Tech Expo Europe this November! As president of global commercial sales for ULA, I am responsible for worldwide commercial launch service sales activities including strategy, business development and marketing.
You will participate in the Finding the Balance Between Cost, Flexibility and Technology Improvement for Heavy Launch Vehicles panel at the Industry Conference on Tuesday 19 November. How do you see the (heavy) launch market developing now and what do you see as its biggest challenges and opportunities?
Competition continues to increase in the heavy launch market and in the space industry in general, and we expect this trend to continue. We’ve taken this as an opportunity to offer our customers the best overall value through our next-generation launch vehicle, Vulcan Centaur. This launch vehicle is purpose-built to be a highly capable and affordable rocket, to meet and exceed the needs of our customers. Vulcan Centaur builds on our already rich heritage of Atlas and Delta rockets and we look forward to continuing our tradition of 100% mission success, with more than 130 consecutive, successful launches.
One of the topics the panel will discuss is focused on the need for launch service providers to offer flexible launches and the need to reach different orbits. How are launch systems organisations responding to this requirement and what does ULA offer in terms of flexibility?
Launch service providers are addressing this requirement in different ways. At the end of the day, flexibility means being able to stay in front of market trends to anticipate and meet the needs of the customer. In order to stay ahead of the market, ULA offers launch solutions for all classes of spacecraft, from LEO to interplanetary and beyond. The highly capable Centaur upper stage has been proven through Atlas’s unmatched reliability and will create even more flexibility with Vulcan Centaur. This capability, along with the ability to dial up or down the number of solids to meet our customers’ mission requirements, provides even greater flexibility. In addition to technical capabilities, it’s important to take into account schedule certainty and flexibility, which we’ve been able to optimise with efficiencies in our launch operations.
Affordability will be another topic of discussion on this panel. As the launch vehicle industry welcomes new players, such as the small launch service providers, as well as the introduction of cheaper vehicles, the cost of launch is being driven down. What will be the impact of this on the launch service market and its competitiveness?
Competition increases innovation and these are exciting times to be in the launch business. However, the price of a launch is more than just a price tag. Reliability, launching on time and an accurate orbit insertion all play a part in the overall cost of a launch. At ULA, we remain focused on offering the best value to our customers: a reliable, schedule-certain launch at an affordable price.
In terms of industry news, what development, announcement or otherwise has stood out most to you in the past year and why?
The renewed emphasis on space and space activities in recent years has been really exciting. Seeing children and young adults being drawn to space is uplifting! We recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission – a defining moment in time for humankind – and we will continue to thrive in space. At ULA, we are very proud of the missions we’ve executed, some of the most challenging accomplished to date. We are excited to soon be flying astronauts for our customer, Boeing, on the CST-100 Starliner.
If you could have one historical figure over to dinner, who would it be and why?
Marie Curie – one of the great scientists of her time, who dedicated her life to the advancement of science for the benefit of all. I would like to ask her about her personal drive. I would be interested in knowing how she would approach solving today’s most difficult challenges using the latest technology available. And finally, I would take the opportunity to thank her for her dedication, advancement of science, and for paving the way for other women to follow suit.
We’re looking forward to seeing you at the Industry Conference at Space Tech Expo Europe! Can you tell us what you’re most looking forward to at the show?
I am most looking forward to an engaging conversation with my fellow panelists and industry leaders. Space Tech Expo will be a great opportunity to share ideas and interact with our international colleagues. The USA edition of Space Tech Expo was a great experience and I am excited for the opportunity to participate in the European edition!
Join Tiphaine at the free-to-attend Industry Conference at Space Tech Expo Europe 19-21 November 2019.