The DSI Team | The Right Team, The Right Dream

Deep Space Industries has gathered together solar-system-class experts in the commercial space industry, the management of space technology development, asteroid science, and aerospace engineering. The ongoing revolution in commercial space – from the creation of NASA’s program funding SpaceX and Orbital Sciences to the X Prize and private travelers on the International Space Station – flows in part from the work of DSI founders. The Company’s advisers include the chief engineer of NASA’s current robotic mission cruising through the main belt asteroids beyond Mars, and pioneers in fields from astronomy to deep sea mining to zero-gravity industrial research.

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Daniel Faber

Chief Executive Officer

Daniel is a team builder who combines both technology expertise and entrepreneurial experience in the space field. He has founded several companies, performed project management, systems engineering, software development, integration, testing and flight control for multiple small spacecraft projects. Daniel’s experience spans several companies, including Innovative Solutions in Space BV (ISIS), Heliocentric Technologies, SpaceQuest Canada, and Dynacon Inc.

Daniel has worked on a number of Micro- and Nano-Satellites, including the asteroid-hunting Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite, the MOST and BRITE space telescopes, and the Triton-1 ship-tracking CubeSat. He has also developed a field-deployable geochemical assay instrument for the mining industry, based on non-contact real-time nuclear measurement techniques, a forerunner to instruments needed for in-space on-site analysis of potential asteroid resources.

Rick N. Tumlinson,

Chair of the Board

Space News named Rick one of the 100 most influential people in the space field and is considered one of the people who helped create the current commercial space industry. He led the team that took over the Mir Space Station as the world’s first commercial space facility, signed up financier Dennis Tito to become the first citizen explorer to stay on the International Space Station and was a Founding Trustee of the X Prize. He co-founded the Space Frontier Foundation and founded the Texas Space Alliance, the EarthLight Institute and Orbital Outfitters – provider of commercial space suits to the new industry of suborbital space travel. He has testified on space policy issues twice for the US Senate, four times in the US House of Representatives and assisted NASA in the creation of its plan to return to the Moon and the formation of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group. He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Space News.

David Gump

Vice Chair and Marketing Director

David leads interactions with space agencies, corporate marketers and media companies. He led the company’s win of two NASA contracts to provide the agency with technical and policy advice on asteroid exploration and harvesting. Previously David was president of Astrobotic Technology for the development of lunar resources, winning $12 million in NASA technology development contracts and putting a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle under contract for a Moon mission. While president of Transformational Space Corp., NASA selected t/Space to provide it with policy advice and technical development for its return to the Moon. t/Space was the only corporation given full funding in the second phase of that program. In addition, David produced the first TV commercial filmed on the International Space Station, after selling the concept and negotiating the access rights. He also has created space entertainment software and the distribution channels that saw it sold by Walmart, Best Buy, and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

Kirby Ikin


Kirby is a global leader in commercial space development with advanced negotiation, risk management, and analytical skills.  At Asia Pacific Aerospace Consultants, he advises the aerospace industry and national governments on finance, insurance, market analysis, project management and launch services. This includes a feasibility study for an Australian spaceport, satellite valuation, and analysis of the regional applications for a new satellite-based service.  Kirby earlier created a new aerospace division within a major insurer (GIO Space), managed the commercial operations of a project to create a breakthrough service to extend the profitable working lives of communications satellites (Orbital Recovery Ltd in the UK), and is Chairman of the Board of the National Space Society, one of the world’s leading space advocacy organizations.

John Lewis

Chief Scientist

Dr. John S. Lewis is one of the foremost asteroid experts in the world. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, prior to which he taught space science and cosmo-chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is the author of several seminal works about asteroids including Asteroid Mining 101 as well as Rain of Iron and Ice, and its companion, Mining The Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets. Dr. Lewis was the Founder and Co-Director of the Space Engineering Research Center for the use of planetary resources, a joint NASA-University of Arizona laboratory. He was the recipient in 1976 of the American Geophysical Union’s James B MacElwane award, which recognizes the work of young scientists. And in 1983 he was the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement medal. He has been a visiting professor at CalTech and Tsinghua University Beijing, and is a commentator on CCTV (Chinese Central Television, English-language service) during Chinese space launches. He was a member of the Board of Directors of American Rocket Company under George Koopman. Dr. Lewis was among the first leading academic voices recognizing the importance of meteor impacts in Earth’s history and future.

Stephen Covey

Director of Research and Development

Steve leads the company’s team developing innovative technologies to efficiently process asteroid materials into valuable products for in-space markets, using minimal infrastructure and without the assistance of gravity. Steve’s background spans telecom research and development, software consulting for the Defense Dept., and utilization of asteroid resources.  He was director of R&D for Applied Innovation Inc., where he created new products to provide DSL over existing copper wires, and an optical Ethernet product to wavelength multiplex circuits on existing fiber networks.  As an asteroid expert, he has spoken at multiple conferences, chaired the asteroid track at the 2013 International Space Development Conference, and was an invited participant at the Keck Insitute for Space Studies NEA Workshop in 2014.  Steve invented the Microgravity Foundry that Deep Space Industries will use to transform asteroid material into metal parts using a compact and closed-cycle 3D printing process.

Mark Sonter

Director of Mining and Processing

Mark directs the Deep Space group developing the technologies and operational concepts needed to harvest commercial quantities of asteroid resources. He is an independent scientific consultant in the Australian mining and metallurgical industries, with specific major expertise in radiation management in uranium, mineral sands, and (over the last 5 years) rare earths exploration, mining, and processing.  His background in asteroid exploitation began as a visiting scholar at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory where he examined the technical and economic feasibility of mining near-Earth asteroids.  Then the Foundation for International Non-Governmental Development of Space (FINDS) funded Mark to extend this research, and to prepare and test cometary crust simulant material.  Resulting papers were accepted and presented at several scientific forums.

Dr. Christopher Cassell

Astrodynamics Lead

Chris is an expert in mission planning, mission operations, and orbital/trajectory analysis. At Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, he conducted orbit, mission, and other analyses for major classified and civil space projects and proposals.  Many involved innovative libration point (Earth-Sun L1 and L2) destinations where spacecraft can hold position in balance between the gravitational attraction of Earth and Sun.  As a senior engineer at General Dynamics Space Systems, Chris developed concepts for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.  As a U.S. Air Force officer he conducted pre-launch testing on sounding rocket payloads and served as tower chief during launches at White Sands Missile Range, NM. His doctorate is in Multi-Body Orbital Mechanics, Optimization, and Dynamical Systems Theory, applied to lunar swingby trajectories.

Sagi Kfir

General Counsel

Sagi is a corporate and commercial transactions attorney specializing in the aerospace sector.  Starting his legal career in Florida representing Fortune 500 aviation companies in product liability and insurance defense, Sagi moved on to serve as general counsel of an aviation company in California for eleven years.  Focusing his legal practice in the commercial space sector, Sagi facilitated the corporate establishment of Deep Space Industries.  Sagi is also involved with non-profit space organizations such as the Earthlight Institute and the National Space Society.

Bryan Versteeg

Bryan is the originator of the powerful visualizations that communicate the Deep Space roadmap for seeking and harvesting space resources. Considered one of the up and coming top new space artists in the world, he is a conceptual design contractor with 15 years of experience in the architectural and engineering industries. Over the past six years, he has turned his focus to the visualization of concepts in space exploration, settlement and industrialization. The images and design work from his studio are regularly featured in publications around the world  in support of space exploration and settlement projects.

James Luebke

Vice President of Technical Marketing

Jim is a Senior Systems Engineer and an experienced aerospace systems integrator, working for a major U.S. aerospace firm.  His career spans both the government and commercial space programs, in both the software and hardware realms.  His software experience includes orbit determination and aircraft mission planning software packages, as well as embedded software for multiple subsystems of communications satellites.  His aerospace vehicle integration experience includes space vehicles whose total value is well into the billions of dollars, as well as cutting-edge Unmanned Aerial Vehicle systems. Jim has more than a decade of highly practical experience in multiple aspects of mission planning and spacecraft integration.  He brings to the team insight into how spacecraft are actually built, launched, and operated on-orbit. Jim was a Chancellor’s Scholar and Campuswide Honors student at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine, and graduated with a Bachelor of Sciences in Aerospace Engineering.

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Craig Foulds

Craig manages the development of a new spacecraft for Deep Space that utilizes recent advances in micro-propulsion. He specializes in nanosat spacecraft design, with a design philosophy to maximize capability with minimum complexity. With the Earth and Space Sciences Department at the University of Washington, Craig performed initial research into alternative propellants for a pulsed plasma thruster (PPT), and developed a novel method to utilize conductive as well as nonconductive propellants. He has distinguished technical leadership with a record of ambitious student projects, including flight demonstration of a PPT in near-space, high-powered single and two-stage rockets launched remotely from weather balloons, and the launch of high-velocity kinetic impactors as part of a NASA study on “lithobraking” sample return vehicles.

James Wolff

James is a rapid-prototyping industry entrepreneur and technology consultant. He is the Vice President of D-Shape, the world’s largest concrete 3d printer specializing in residential and commercial architecture, government and military infrastructure, and space applications. As a serial entrepreneur he co-founded Buildatron Systems, and was a key developer of the “RepRap” approach to polymer desktop manufacturing machines able to self-replicate.  This expertise is fundamental to Deep Space Industries’ ability to create efficient in-space facilities to turn asteroid feedstock into useful products for in-space markets.  A crowd funding campaign James co-developed led to the Rygo Project, the largest North American 3D printed sculpture featured in Wired, PC Magazine, Makezine, Design Goodness, and more. He has presented at events including Google ORD camp, World Makerfaire, and the Design for Manufacturing Summit. Publications from the Wall Street Journal to the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Tech Blog have cited James.

John Mankins

John is an internationally recognized leader in space systems and technology innovation and as a highly effective manager in large-scale technology R&D programs. His 25-year career at NASA and Cal Tech’s JPL ranged from flight projects and space mission operations to systems level innovation and advanced technology R&D management. Before leaving NASA, John was manager of Exploration Systems Research and Technology with responsibility for an annual budget of $850 million, more than 100 projects, and 3,000 personnel. John is renowned as one of the creators of the “Technology Readiness Level (TRL)” measure for succinctly communicating the development status of space systems. He was Principal Investigator on a NASA-funded proposal for Space Solar Power Satellites completed in 2012, and editor of the International Academy of Astronautics 2011 report, “Space Solar Power: the First International Assessment.”