Virgin Orbit Cosmic Girl
Cosmic Girl, Virgin Orbit's Boeing 747 aircraft, is prepared for its next LauncherOne mission, scheduled for June 30. Credit: Virgin Orbit

WASHINGTON — Mark Baird, a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general, has been named president of VOX Space, a subsidiary of Virgin Orbit focused on launch services for the national security market, the company announced Aug. 17.

VOX Space, headquartered in El Segundo, California, provides small satellite launch services to the U.S. government using Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne. 

LauncherOne rockets, made in Long Beach, California, are air-launched from a modified 747-400 carrier aircraft. 

Mark Baird Credit: LinkedIn

Baird replaces Mandy Vaughn, who stepped down as president of VOX Space earlier this year. 

Baird is a former deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office, he served as director of space acquisition for the office of the secretary of the Air Force, was vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, and director of space superiority systems. 

Most recently, Baird worked at Lockheed Martin as principal director of strategy for space and special programs, 

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said Baird will help “design entirely new ways to think about launch and resilient, responsive space.”

Baird said: “At a time when space is increasingly relied upon by both the U.S. commercial and national security sectors, and is becoming more and more contested, the unique advantages of anytime, anywhere air-launch capabilities are vital to the U.S. and its allies.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...