WASHINGTON — The former chief executive of Spaceflight has joined a major law firm to lead its efforts in supporting the commercial space industry.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati announced June 15 that Curt Blake had joined its Seattle office as senior of counsel as the firm starts a NewSpace industry group serving a growing number of clients in the industry.

Blake was co-founder and chief executive of Spaceflight Inc., stepping down earlier this year. Spaceflight, which arranged launches of smallsats on a variety of rockets and developed the Sherpa line of orbital transfer vehicles, was acquired by Firefly Aerospace June 8.

“I’m here to help kickstart and expand an already existing practice,” Blake said in an interview. Wilson Sonsini has several space companies as clients, including Astranis, BlackSky and Slingshot Aerospace. However, there had been no concerted effort to attract space companies and support them.

He said he plans to combine his legal background — he has a law degree and held executive and legal roles at several technology companies before Spaceflight — with his experience running Spaceflight to help other space companies. That ranges from how to work with regulatory agencies to understanding the nuances of launch contracts.

“Having been CEO and living through all the legal issues that came up, I’m pretty knowledgeable on the practical side of things,” he said. “My role is to bring in that practical knowledge from the client’s voice, but also helping with business development.”

While Wilson Sonsini has won business with a number of space companies as part of its overall work in the technology sector, there had been no major effort before now to attract such companies as clients. Blake said his connections in the industry built up during his time at Spaceflight, working with launch providers and companies developing satellites that need launches, will be valuable.

“You’d be talking to pretty much huge swathes of the industry,” he said of his time at Spaceflight, which he believes will help make connections for clients.

“It’s really amazing to see how the NewSpace sector is very much alive with activity and potential,” said Craig Sherman, a partner at Wilson Sonsini who represents companies and investors in the space industry, in a statement about hiring Blake and establishing the new industry group.

“With Curt’s background and the experience that others in the firm have amassed through their own prior space-related roles or client representation, this is an ideal opportunity for us to work more closely with the innovators and established companies leading the way forward in the NewSpace sector,” he said.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...