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    Ronald B. Cortopassi: A Legacy of Dedication to Space Support

    Ronald B. Cortopassi: A Legacy of Dedication to Space Support

    Photo By Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo | Kathleen Cortopassi pinned Ronald B. Cortopassi, 30th Space Wing executive director,...... read more read more

    VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, CA, UNITED STATES

    07.13.2022

    Story by Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo 

    Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs   

    The passion and spirit of a leader is not determined by their words, but it’s measured by their determination to serve others with their actions. For Ronald B. Cortopassi, his desire to serve those on team Vandenberg has led him to hold one of the highest positions a civilian can attain, Executive Director of Space Launch Delta 30 at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif.

    As the Executive Director, Cortopassi was linked directly to the Delta Commander. He provided continuity of senior management, offered technical advice and counsel in matters of policy and direction. He watched out for the health and wellness of the civilian component on VSFB, and ensured SLD 30 functions as a world-class range and test facility.

    “I enjoy what I do. I’m an engineer by trade,” said Cortopassi. “I like finding solutions, solving problems and ensuring the Commander has all the information about a particular mission.”

    Cortopassi’s journey began in 1983. He was hired to be an aerospace engineer working with the NASA Space Shuttle program in the Western Space and Missile Center Range Safety Office. He moved up the leadership ladder, when he became the Chief of the Operations Safety Analysis Section in 1990. In 1992, he became the Chief of the Flight Analysis Office and eight years later, in 2000, he became the Chief Engineer for Safety. Finally, he was selected to serve as the SLD 30 Executive Director in 2006.

    Cortopassi credits his success to the support of his wife, Kathleen, and his two daughters Mary-Elizabeth and Olivia.

    “I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family,” said Cortopassi. “They have been with me through every transition and major milestone in my career.”
    In addition to every leader and person he has worked with, Cortopassi also credits two important individuals who supported him during his career, Tom Froemming and U.S. Air Force Col. (ret.) Jim Simmons.

    They both encouraged Cortopassi’s curiosity to explore creative solutions.

    “I was given requirements and they would encourage solutions outside of the box,” said Cortopassi. “These two individuals set me up for the incredible experiences I’d have with all of my future bosses and coworkers.”

    Cortopassi’s accomplishments and contributions to SLD 30 expanded across writing collision avoidance, terminal area hazard and caution area determination, ship-hit probability and general mapping software for use by the flight safety analyst. Corrtopassi also became the first civilian to be the launch decision authority on console for the mission Glory Trip 236 GM-1, on Oct. 29, 2020.

    Cotopassi’s accomplishments speak to the dedication of his work and those he surrounded himself with throughout the years.

    “I think there’s no better time to be working at Vandenberg,” said Cortopassi. “Everyone is excited about what they bring to the mission. I’ve learned so much and enjoyed every moment of my 39 years because of the people.”

    In 39 years, Cortopassi has seen it all.

    “What I find interesting is that Vandenberg is regaining the excitement it had when I first arrived,” said Cortopassi. “Back then there were many more people on base, working new huge programs like Peacemaker and Space Shuttle. We were launching 30 times a year.”

    Throughout the years, there has been some ups and downs in the commercial space manifest, but that has not stopped Vandenberg’s excitement in continuing the space mission.

    “We are back to looking at over 20 launches in the coming 12 months, plus lots of community and government interest on commercial space, the Sentinel program, and some potential other new missions,” said Cortopassi. “It’s a very exciting time to be at Vandenberg!”

    "Ron and his family are part of the very fabric of Team Vandenberg and it is difficult to capture Ron's impact on the base and in the community across his 39 years of service,” said United States Space Force Col. Robert Long, Space Launch Delta 30 commander. “Who we are and our successes today are due directly to Ron's influence. We are in his debt and wish them the best of luck in this next chapter of their lives.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.13.2022
    Date Posted: 07.20.2022 19:45
    Story ID: 425404
    Location: VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, CA, US

    Web Views: 117
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN