Spring Banquet: New Space Launch Providers

When:  May 26, 2023 from 17:30 to 21:00 (ET)
Associated with  Cape Canaveral Section

Join us as we celebrate the exponential growth of the commercial space industry with a New Space Launch Provider Panel discussion, featuring local companies from across Space Coast. 

This panel discussion includes Julia Black from Stoke Space, Robert Fabian from Vaya Space, Mark Lester from Phantom Space, and Todd Linder from ABL Space Systems as well as a presentation by one of our local student leaders.

Tickets available for students/active military ($45), members ($55), and non-members ($65)!

Please note corporate tables are also available and direct any requests to aiaacanaveral@gmail.com.

Speaker Bios:

Name: Julia Black 

Company: Stoke Space 

Job Title: Director of Range Operations  

Brief History: Julia is an Air Force/Florida Air National Guard veteran who hails from Southern Illinois and joined the Stoke team in 2022. As Director of Range Operations, she leads Stoke's development for launch/landing capability at the ranges. Prior to Stoke, Julia was with SpaceX as a Launch Director and Range Coordinator for over 100 Falcon/Falcon Heavy missions and 10 Dragon crew and cargo recoveries to include industry milestones of Autonomous Flight Safety System, NASA/private astronauts launching from American soil, Falcon Heavy Demo, return-to-launch-site booster fly-back and polar launches from the Cape. 

After her tour at Kadena Air Base in Japan as a weather officer, the Air Force sent orders for a Launch Weather Officer at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station which began a range spacelift career for collectively over 200 missions in various console and staff positions with the 45th Space Wing and SpaceX. Julia's alma mater includes University of Arizona and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  

Name: Robert A. Fabian 

Company: Vaya Space 

Job Title: Chief Operating Officer 

Brief History:  Colonel Robert A. Fabian, USAF (Ret.)  Rob Fabian has over twenty-five years of military space operations and rocket booster sustainment and repair experience.  His military career has covered a wide range of military space capabilities including tracking satellites with radio telescopes and radar systems, planning the modernization of the Air Force's space control capabilities, and writing Air Force doctrine for planning and executing space operations.  He has worked on military and civil space policy issues across multiple Federal Agencies while working for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy as well as spending a year as an Air Force Fellow at RAND researching policy options for military cooperation in space with U.S. allies. 

During his military career, he also worked extensively with the Air Force's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile fleets, leading field repair and sustainment efforts on both the Minuteman III and Peacekeeper missiles as well as coordinating operations between the ICBM repair depot, system program office, and the supporting logistics supply chain.  Fabian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Space Operations from the United States Air Force Academy as well as Masters degrees in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. He has been published in the Proceedings of the Naval Institute and Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy.  

Name: Mark Lester 

Company: Phantom Space 

Job Title: Chief Operating Officer 

Brief History: Mark is the Chief Operating Officer of Phantom Space, a Tucson, Arizona-based entrepreneurial start-up designing, building, and operating small-class launch vehicles and spacecraft.  Phantom is developing a portfolio of launch sites including LC-13 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, SLC-5 at Vandenberg Space Force Base, and select overseas locations.  For the past 30 years, Mark has pursued a career in space and air operations beginning as an officer in Air Force Space Command.  Mark has also held executive roles at several aerospace companies, including serving as a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton and CEO for a private equity-held company conducting fixed-wing and rotary-wing flight training for military customers. Prior to joining Phantom, Mark served as the CEO for Alaska Aerospace Corporation, a state-owned organization chartered to develop Alaska's aerospace industry and operate the Kodiak commercial spaceport. Mark holds a BS in electrical engineering from Norwich University and a Master of Engineering degree in space operations from the University of Colorado.  

Name: Todd Lindner 

Company: ABL Space Systems 

Job Title: Head of Launch Site Operations  

Brief History: Todd Lindner currently serves as Head of Launch Site Operations for ABL Space Systems at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. He brought 30 years of aviation management experience to ABL. His experience includes a firm understanding of the unique requirements for operating air and spaceports. Linder's previous position was CEO of Mojave Air and Spaceport at Rutan Field. Prior to that, he worked for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority as Director of Cecil Spaceport. Lindner holds a bachelor's degree in aerospace and a master's degree in Airport and Airline Management and Administration from Middle Tennessee State University. He is also a commercial pilot.


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Kevin Johnson