MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) announced on 2 June 2020 that retired astronaut Tim Kopra will join its leadership team as Vice President of Robotics and Space Operations, effective immediately. As the leader for this business area, he will be responsible for the work of the robotics and space operations teams at MDA sites in Brampton, Ottawa, Saint-Hubert and Houston.
“We are thrilled to have Tim join our executive leadership team,” said Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer of MDA. “As we embark on the next decade of space exploration, with the Artemis lunar program, commercial on-orbit servicing and on-orbit manufacturing, as well increasing activity on Mars, MDA has a large role to play and I believe Tim’s operational experience and leadership skills will be essential to our continued growth and success.”
Mr. Kopra’s impressive career spans the US military, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as well as the private equity and venture capital landscape.
Mr. Kopra served in the US Army from 1985 to 2010 as an Army Aviator, attaining the rank of Colonel. His extensive and varied military service includes deployments in aviation operations during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm within Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, as well as in Germany where he led an attack helicopter company. He also served as an experimental test pilot on various projects and as the developmental test director for the Comanche helicopter program.
In 1998, he was assigned to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston as a vehicle integration test engineer. Selected as an astronaut in 2000, he served in multiple technical and leadership assignments relating to International Space Station (ISS) hardware and aviation safety. As part of his preparation for a long-duration space mission, he trained in the US, Russia, Japan, Germany and Canada on ISS hardware and systems, ISS assembly and scientific experiments. He flew on two spaceflights, serving as Space Shuttle Mission Specialist on STS-127/128 and ISS Expedition 20 Flight Engineer from July-September 2009, and later as ISS Expedition 46 Flight Engineer, Expedition 47 Commander, and Soyuz 19M Spacecraft co-pilot from December 2015-June 2016. Logging a total of 244 days in space, he executed assembly tasks using Canadarm2 and clocked 13 hours and 31 minutes on three spacewalks. He also served on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Aquarius underwater laboratory as part of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 11, testing space suit design concepts, communication protocols, construction techniques, and the use of robotic devices. He formally retired from NASA in October 2018.
From 2016 to the present, Mr. Kopra has been a partner and advisor at Blue Bear Capital, a private equity firm that invests in high-growth technology companies and start-ups across the energy, infrastructure and climate industries. He also served in advisory roles in other private equity and venture capital firms.
Mr. Kopra earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the US Military Academy at West Point (1985), a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology (1995), graduated from the US Navy Test Pilot School (1996), received a Master of Strategic Studies from US Army War College (2006), and Master of Business Administration degrees from Columbia Business School and London Business School (2013).
Born and raised in Texas, Mr. Kopra is married with two children, and is actively involved in local community, business, academic, military and veterans’ organizations.