Jeff Thornburg

Founder and CEO, Interstellar Technologies

Site: CDL-Toronto

Stream: Space

Jeff Thornburg is a career space engineer and leader who brings a wealth of valuable experience to the team. Jeff is founder and President of Interstellar Technologies, an engineering and technology development company focused on advanced research and development for launch vehicles and propulsion systems that expand our reach into the solar system. Prior to the current focus on Interstellar, Jeff was the Vice President for Propulsion Engineering at Stratolaunch working with Paul Allen on the advanced and fast-paced PGA Engine development for Stratolaunch. Jeff was also the Senior Director of Propulsion Engineering at SpaceX in Hawthorne, CA, and served as the principal engineer and architect of the Raptor engine development program. Jeff also served as the Vice President of Propulsion Engineering at SpaceX overseeing flight, test, development and research operations while also supporting customer interactions; including those with NASA and the U.S. Air Force. Jeff oversaw six successful Falcon 9 launches during his time as the VP of Propulsion, and coordinated qualification and certification activities with the U.S. Air Force and NASA. He was also a lead propulsion engineer and turbomachinery technical project manager for the J-2X engine development program at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, and Jeff spent 4 years working for Aerojet as an engineering director for their liquid engine turbomachinery group, and served as the site manager for the Aerojet-Woodland Hills engineering office in Woodland Hills, CA. Jeff started his career in the U.S. Air Force as a flight commander and aircraft maintenance officer on KC-135R tanker aircraft at MacDill AFB, FL. He was selected to attend the Air Force Institute of Technology and earned his Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Jeff was stationed at Edwards AFB, CA, where he joined the liquid rocket engine branch at the Air Force Research Laboratory where he worked on several component and engine technology programs included leadership of the joint Air Force-NASA Integrated Powerhead Demonstration engine. This program performed the world’s first hydrogen full-flow staged combustion cycle engine demonstration. Since his first assignment to Edwards AFB, Jeff has been very fortunate to have built his career working on nearly all liquid engine technology development programs since the Space Shuttle Main Engine. Jeff has received numerous Air Force and NASA awards including a NASA Space Flight Awareness award, the NASA Made It Happen award, the NASA Stennis Space Center Propulsion Test Director’s Leadership Award, and was an Air Force Research Laboratory Technical Program Manager of the Year. In addition to his master’s degree, he has a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.