Technical Director, Launch & Range Operations, Space Force
Mr. Mark D. Bontrager is the Technical Director, Launch and Range Operations, Space Systems Command, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. Space Systems Command Launch and Range Operations provides policy, guidance, and resources for all US Space Force launch and range operations including integration of operational priorities, system readiness, manifesting, and mission partner support across the Department of Defense and the interagency. Mr. Bontrager serves as the senior civilian advisor to the Director, Launch and Range Operations on matters relating to legislative authorities, policy, launch and range operations, resources, and contracts.
Mr. Bontrager entered the Air Force in 1987, where he served in a broad range of operational, joint staff, policy, and command positions, including launch operations with the Delta II launch vehicle and command of the 45th Mission Support Group, which provided critical support to military, civil, and commercial space launch missions.
He served as Vice President for Spaceport Operations with Space Florida and led the development of Florida’s first Spaceport System Plan, which resulted in over $1.5B of state and industry investment in Florida’s spaceports at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville and the Cape Canaveral Spaceport on the Space Coast.
Mr. Bontrager returned to federal service in January 2022. EDUCATION 1987 Bachelor of Science, Computer Engineering, University of Florida, FL 1992 Master of Engineering, Space Operations, University of Colorado, CO 2000 Master of Arts, National Security Studies, Naval Command and Staff College, Newport, RI 2001 Master of Arts, Airpower Studies, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, Maxwell AFB, AL
1. October 1987-March 1988, Student, Undergraduate Space Training, Lowry AFB, CO.
2. March 1988-January 1990, Deputy Crew Commander, Missile Warning Center, Cheyenne Mountain AFB, CO.
3. January 1990-January 1994, Instructor, Missile Warning Center Training, and Instructor, Space Operations Orientation Course, Peterson AFB, CO.
4. January 1994-February 1996, Flight Commander, Launch Vehicle Processing and Operations Support, 1st Space Launch Squadron; 45th Space Wing, Cape Canaveral AFS, FL.
5. February 1996-May 1997, Executive Officer to the Group Command, 45th Operations Group and Executive Officer to the Wing Commander, 45th Space Wing, Patrick AFB, FL.
6. May 1997-July 1999, Speechwriter/Briefer on Commanders Action Group, Peterson AFB, CO.
7. July 1999-July 2000, Student, Naval War College, Newport, RI.
8. July 2000-July 2001, Student, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, Maxwell AFB, AL.
9. July 2001-July 2002, Strategic Planner, Strategy Division, The Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington DC.
10. July 2002-July 2003, Politico-Military Planner, Middle East Division, The Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington DC.
11. July 2003-July 2004, Student, National Defense Fellow, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL.
12. July 2004-July 2005, Commander, 50th Education Squadron, US Air Force Academy, CO.
13. July 2005-July 2006, Division Chief, Assured Access Operations, Peterson AFB, CO.
14. July 2006-July 2008, Commander, 45th Mission Support Group, Patrick AFB and Cape Canaveral AFS, FL.
15. November 2008-December 2021, Vice President, Spaceport Operations, Space Florida, Kennedy Space Center, FL.
16. January 2022-Present, Technical Director, Launch and Range Operations, Space Systems Command, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, FL.
Space Professional Certification
MAJOR AWARDS AND HONORS
2003 Defense Meritorious Service Medal
2006 Meritorious Service Medal
3 Oak Leaf Clusters 2008
Legion of Merit Medal (Current as of June 2022)