Meet Valerie Skarupa, Director of Government Business.
Q: What do you do for Spaceflight?
A: I am the Director of Government Business for Spaceflight launch services. I provide the Department of Defense, NASA, and other Government Agencies with launch opportunities for small satellites.
Q: What interests you about space?
A: Everything! I am an Army Brat and spent a lot of time in the Washington, DC area as a child. The Air and Space Museum was a favorite outing for our family. I started my career as a Deputy Program Manager building the 3.6m Telescope at the Maui Space Surveillance System supporting Spacetrack and Space Object Identification missions, and moved on to working on spaceflight missions, and operational space prototypes. My first launch was for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s TacSat-2 in December of 2006. It was all over then…I was hooked on space launch.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
A: I love the outdoors and am an avid hiker and runner. I’m based in Colorado Springs and have been known to try to race up the Manitou Springs Incline (success and unsuccessfully!). It’s a 2000 ft elevation gain in 0.8 miles.
Q: Star Wars, Star Trek or The Martian?
A: Definitely Star Wars! I saw the first Star Wars movie 5 times when it was released. I loved how Princess Leia was such a strong, confident leader and managed to be fashionable and, of course, I loved the hair!
Q: If you were to mentor someone who wanted to do what you do, what advice would you give them?
A: Always follow through with what you say you’re going to do. Respect people’s time, so be prepared and on time. And, most importantly, surround yourself with people you can learn from.
Q: Would you interested in going to space someday?
A: I’m kind of claustrophobic, so unless there’s a luxury spaceship going, probably not.
A: I hiked Africa’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro. It was amazing both from the physical challenge and the cultural experience. The people were amazing. We were supported by 2 guides and 9 porters on the journey. Most of them hike “Kili” 3 times a month. That’s 19,340 ft of hiking a week. It makes you realize how lucky we all are to work in aerospace. I never take that for granted!