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Executive Bios


ILS Executives


Kirk Pysher

Kirk Pysher is the President of International Launch Services (ILS), a leader in providing heavy-lift launch services to the global commercial satellite industry. Pysher has nearly 30 years of experience in the design, development and operation of expendable launch vehicles and a proven track record of affecting broad-based change.

Pysher previously served as ILS vice president of mission assurance and product development. In this role, Pysher primarily had the responsibility for development and implementation of ILS and customer specific mission assurance requirements. In addition to his critical mission assurance role, Pysher also had responsibility for ILS product development including performance upgrades and new capabilities intended to align with customers’ future requirements, including the preliminary steps to introduce the Angara launch vehicle to the commercial market.

Previous to ILS, Pysher served as chief operating officer at Energia Logistics US, where he was responsible for all aspects of mission assurance, engineering and operations for the Sea Launch program. Prior to that post, he was the vice president and chief systems engineer for Boeing-Sea Launch. Additionally, Pysher worked extensively on the entire family of Delta expendable launch vehicles for Boeing Delta launch services over a 13-year period.

Pysher received a Masters and Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Penn State University and obtained a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate from Purdue University.

Ralph Bauer
Vice President and General Counsel

Bauer oversees the ILS legal, contracts and export control departments. He joined ILS in October 2007 as ILS’ Partnership Manager, serving as the primary interface with Khrunichev on all economic and contractual matters.  In 2012, Bauer was reassigned to the Legal Department and also assumed responsibilities as Associate General Counsel.  Prior to joining ILS, Bauer served for 24 years in the United States Air Force as a member of the Air Force Judge Advocate Corps.  His final Air Force assignment was as Staff Judge Advocate for
14th Air Force, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Bauer holds a BA in International Studies and Russian language from the Ohio State University and a JD from The Ohio State University College of Law. Bauer is a member of the State of Ohio, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the United States Supreme Court Bars


Jim Kramer
Vice President Engineering and Mission Assurance

As Vice President of Engineering and Mission Assurance, Kramer will leverage his 30 years of experience to focus on mission assurance, and technical insight of production processes, procedures and mission assurance initiatives.

Kramer will be responsible for oversight and insight into ILS Proton and Angara product development activities at Khrunichev State Research and Space Production Center (Khrunichev) and will be the primary interface with customers and the insurance community. Kramer previously served as ILS Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Communications and prior to that as the ILS Chief Engineer.

His broad industry experience includes launch vehicle design, program management, business development and commercial and government sales. He worked on the Atlas program with General Dynamics Space Systems Co. and Commercial Launch Services in San Diego, CA. prior to the formation of ILS.

Kramer has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Colorado, a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics from the University of Minnesota and prior to that, attended the United States Air Force Academy.


John Palme VP and CTO
John Palmé
COO & Vice President — Programs and Operations

Palmé has almost 30 years of experience in spacecraft and launch vehicle design, integration, test, launch and operations. For over a decade, Palmé has overseen the reliability and quality programs and the integration and launch of commercial spacecraft on the ILS Proton launch vehicle. 

He previously worked with RCA Astro Electronics, General Electric Aerospace (graduating from the Edison Engineering Program), Martin Marietta, Lockheed Martin, and Orbcomm Global in designing, testing, launching and operating various types of spacecraft, including communications, remote sensing, Earth Science and advanced test beds.

Palmé graduated from Villanova University with a BSME in 1988 and MSME in 1991.


Joe Acheson CFO
Joe Acheson
CFO & Vice President

Acheson has over a decade of experience in finance in the commercial launch Industry, most recently as the Controller for ILS. Prior to joining ILS in 2000, he worked at SAIC in various finance positions.

Acheson holds a Bachelor of Science in finance and an MBA in international business.




Thomas (TC) Carroll
Vice President of Sales

Over the past fifteen years at ILS, Carroll has been responsible for a wide range of sales and marketing activities serving regions in the Americas, Asia, Australia, Middle East, and Africa.
In his newest assignment at ILS, Carroll is responsible for leading the sales efforts of Proton and Angara launch services with overall responsibility for customer interaction and satisfaction.

Carroll participates in many global industry conferences representing ILS as a subject matter expert. He is currently on the Board of Directors of APSCC, and has served on several Boards representing satellite and aerospace industry organizations.

Prior to ILS, his career started with regional and global satellite operators, with sales and marketing responsibilities of GEO as well as LEO satellite communications services. 

Carroll has more than 35 years of direct experience in the satellite industry. He was introduced to satellite technology very early in his life by his father, who served with STRATCOM in the Pacific region.   He holds a BS degree Finance from George Mason University and an MBA from Mary Washington University.







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