Advisory Board Member
Sr. Manager, Dragon Ground and Launch Operations
Kiko Dontchev is the Senior Director of Launch and Recovery Operations at SpaceX. Kiko joined SpaceX in May 2010, leading development of Lithium Ion batteries for SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. In 2013, he took on the role of lead engineer driving the design and build of the first engineering test vehicle for Dragon 2, SpaceX’s next-generation crewed spacecraft. In 2015, Kiko led the execution of a successful Pad Abort Test with the test vehicle, a key demonstration for ensuring astronaut safety during human spaceflight and was subsequently awarded a prestigious NAS Award for early career achievement.
From there, Kiko went on to lead the development of the Red Dragon vehicle and propulsive landing capability of Dragon 2. In mid-2017, Kiko relocated to Cape Canaveral, FL where he oversaw all of Dragon Launch, Refurbishment and Human Spaceflight Operations in the lead up to the historic return to astronauts flight with the In-Flight Abort, Demo-2 and Crew-1 flights in 2020. In the Fall of 2020, Kiko took on the new role of Senior Director and currently oversees all of SpaceX Launch and Recovery operations.
Kiko and his wife of 3 1⁄2 years, Erin, welcomed their son, Finn, last February and they have two cats Foxy & Fiona.