Karman Fellow 2021
Founder and CEO
Joe Laurienti, Founder and CEO of Ursa Major, is an experienced engineer with a background in propulsion technology manufacturing and development. Joe graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California, where he spent time supporting research in fluid dynamics and as part of a group that designed, built, and flew hobby rockets.
In his previous roles, Joe worked on numerous engines and spacecraft through development, manufacturing, and flight qualification, including Blue Origin’s BE-3 engine and SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, Merlin engine, and Merlin D Vacuum engine. Joe founded Ursa Major in 2015 to seek a higher level of innovation in space launch by building a team focused wholly on viewing the technical aspects of propulsion through a market lens as opposed to a top-down vehicle fit. Since then, the team has tested their Hadley engine (America’s first oxidizer-rich staged combustion engine) for over 20,000 seconds, built two world-class test facilities, initiated three engine programs, and grown to over 85 employees.