Alumnus Gregg Blincoe helps shepherd new era at Blue Origin

May 22, 2018

On April 29th, Blue Origin, a privately funded aerospace manufacturer and space flight company, conducted their second launch of the latest iteration of their New Shepard reusable rocket. Achieving an altitude of nearly 66 miles, the successful launch of the New Shepard vehicle was the third launch for Speed School alumnus Gregg Blincoe, who graduated from the Mechanical Engineering department.

A Louisville native, Blincoe was inspired to become an engineer in a large part by his grandfather William Vaughn, a veteran and a Speed School grad himself. The night before the first day of his co-op rotation at Topworx, a local manufacturer, Blincoe can recall specifically when his professional and academic attention turned towards the aerospace industry.

“On August 6th, 2012, the Curiosity Mars rover landed on Mars just after midnight. I stayed up all night and morning watching the live stream. I remember seeing the engineers' reactions after mission control received confirmation of the rover's successful touchdown," he said. "I knew in that moment that THAT was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and I knew getting involved with aerospace was going to be that ticket.”

After graduation, Blincoe set off to fulfill his dream, and has worked at Blue Origin for the previous two years as a structural engineer working on ground support equipment. His work  involves being responsible for all non-vehicle ground equipment and launch and landing complex facilities supporting New Shepard launch and  recovery operations. This includes special tooling for lifting the vehicle, to personnel access equipment. 

“I love the hands on work I get at Blue! It allows me the opportunity to be involved with every launch and work hands on during launch and recovery operations," Blincoe said. "Everyone I work with shares a similar passion. We see the target goal of putting millions of people in space. It's this dedication and passion for what we do that brings the team together.”

As part of that team, Blincoe has a direct relationship to the logistics of transporting the New Shepard vehicle, a task that, while less visible, is no less crucial to the success of the mission and integrity of the vehicle. His efforts include coordinating with other engineering teams to work in tandem for the overall success of the launch, a skill he attributes to his time spent as the captain of the River City Rocketry team during his tenure at Speed School.

“This competition defined me as an engineer and gave me the understanding that I could do more with my degree than I had originally anticipated," said Blincoe. "I gained skills and knowledge on how to attack large scale design projects and how to work cohesively with partners in these projects. I started applying to aerospace careers following graduation and was fortunate to nail a job at Blue Origin. I love representing the Cardinals all the way from Seattle!”