A corporate partner and satellite practice co-head, Steve Kaufman uses industry knowledge and versatility to negotiate and close many types of deals globally.
For 18 of his 30 years at the firm, Steve served as outside general counsel for satellite clients, leading strategic joint ventures, “bet-the-company” contracts, financings, and M&A.
What Steve does best: understanding complex business issues and translating them into legal documents. If a client can describe something, Steve can draft it. Working from complicated to simple, he has many times reduced a lengthy contract into a few pages of bullet points, showing the client what it needs and how to obtain it. He has even written a business and financing model for parties in the form of an agreement. Many clients comment that the business guidance from Steve is as valuable as the legal advice.
Steve relies on his familiarity with issues common to satellite and communications companies to give him an edge in negotiations. This experience produces extra benefits when Steve deals with specialized satellite contract terms, targeted warranties, creative covenants, use of insurance to close gaps, license and spectrum issues, and even finance and accounting matters. According to Chambers Steve Kaufman is “a real authority and somebody who will always know the answer.”
In advising clients, Steve emphasizes practicality, striving to achieve the client’s business objectives for the transaction, whether economic, risk reduction, regulatory/compliance, or transaction speed. This carries over into deal management as well as negotiations, where he willingly takes the lead. Steve and satellite practice co-head Randy Segal are regulars at the satellite conferences, making connections among clients and even adverse parties. He is listed in Chambers, Super Lawyers, and Legal 500.Curt Blake
Curt Blake is president of Spaceflight’s launch services group and previously served as senior vice president and general counsel. Curt has led efforts to expand Spaceflight’s global network of launch service providers while building relationships with key commercial-, civilian- and defense-related customers. Over the last several years, Curt oversaw the company’s growth from its early commercial rideshare launches on the Antares and Soyuz vehicles to become the industry’s rideshare leader and the world’s first commercial spaceline.
Curt brings more than 25 years of executive experience in high-growth and tech industries, with past experience including a range of senior executive and general counsel roles at Microsoft, Starwave, Corbis and Aldus. He’s a current and active board member of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the Seattle-based Pacific Science Center, as well as a contributor to numerous small-satellite conferences.
Growing up in Thailand and Ethiopia, Curt is a student of the world and still enjoys traveling for work and pleasure (but don’t ask him to take a middle seat).Dr. Marino Fragnito
Marino Fragnito has joined Arianespace in March 2016 to manage the Vega Business Unit. Since February 2018 he is also in charge of the overall Vega sales, marketing & business development activities in Arianespace and in November 2020 he has been appointed Senior Vice President and member of the Arianespace Executive Committee.
In this capacity, he manages the overall Vega activities and controls its associated Profit & Loss.
From January 2009 until March 2016 he served at the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) as Launch Services Manager. He previously covered different
positions in industry, he began his career in Cannes, at Alcatel Space Industries, as mechanical engineer on telecom satellite projects and then joined ELV (European Launch Vehicle, an AVIO and A.S.I. company) in 2003 were he was later appointed Head of Mechanical Systems Development in the frame of the Vega development program. Before joining EUMETSAT he was also Head of the launcher design department at AVIO.
Marino Fragnito has a MSc. (Laurea Magistrale) in Aeronautical Engineering and holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Science and Technology.
Over the course of his career, Dan has served in senior leadership roles across a wide range of aerospace programs spanning human spaceﬂight, satellite development, launch, and missile defense, and encompassing all phases of the aerospace product life cycle, from research and development through design, production, and spaceﬂight operations.
Dan currently serves as the CEO for Virgin Orbit, Richard Branson’s pioneering commercial space ﬁrm that launches small satellites into space from a rocket carried under the wing of a modiﬁed Boeing 747. It is Virgin’s contribution to the massive transformation going on in space technology, and has the clear goal of opening access to space to improve life on Earth.
Dan joined Virgin Orbit after more than three decades of aerospace leadership at the Boeing Company, where he served as Vice President of Government Satellite Systems where he oversaw Boeing’s government satellite programs for the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA, and other organizations. Dan’s portfolio included marquee programs such as Global Positioning System (GPS), Wideband Global SATCOM, the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) system, and the X-37 spaceplane. Prior to this, Dan led engineering and program teams on projects such as Spacelab, Delta, and the GMD missile defense program.
Dan is a passionate and committed advocate for STEM education and serves on the Executive Board of the California Science Center, as well as the Dean’s Advisory Council for California State University, Long Beach’s College of Engineering.
Dan recently served on the U.S. Investment Advisory Council (IAC) which advises the Secretary of Commerce. In 2020, Dan was selected to join the Governor of California’s COVID Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery.
Dan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the State University of New York at Albany, where he has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus, and attended the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. In 2022, Dan received the Aviation Week Magazine’s Laureate award for Space Leadership. The same year he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.Jarrod McLachlan
Jarrod is the Director of Rideshare Sales at SpaceX responsible for sales and commercial business development efforts for SpaceX’s small satellite rideshare customers. In this role, he focuses on deepening the relationship between SpaceX and the worldwide small satellite community. SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program provides small satellite operators with competitive pricing, increased flight opportunities, flexibility, turnkey service and—most importantly—a ride to space on the world’s most advanced and proven launch vehicles.
Jarrod holds a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.