We believe you have to be able to walk the walk – as well as talk the talk.
Deep Space Industries has gathered together solar-system-class experts in the commercial space industry, managing space technology development, asteroid science, and aerospace engineering. The current 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 – flow in part from the work of DSI founders. The Company’s leadership also includes the project manager of NASA’s current robotic mission cruising through the main belt asteroids beyond Mars, and an executive who ran NASA’s $850 million space technology development program.
Deep Space is a renaissance company, whose team combines veterans in space commerce, policy, asteroid missions, and risk management with young leading edge leaders from the “maker” and nanosat communities. Our team members have experience in project management, contracting, finance, legal, and marketing, along with the political savvy to work with government space agencies that can provide early-stage support and long-term markets.
David Gump, Chief Executive Officer
David co-founded three companies in commercial space, most recently Astrobotic Technology for the exploration and development of lunar resources. Astrobotic in its first four years gathered $12 million in NASA technology development contracts and put a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle under contract for its first mission. NASA also recognized David’s expertise with multiple invitations to deliver presentations at its conferences and workshops including the agency’s 2012 Global Exploration Conference. As president of Transformational Space Corp. (t/Space), David led a team that NASA selected to provide it with advice and technology development for its return to the Moon. NASA then selected t/Space as a finalist for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program that SpaceX and Orbital Sciences won in the next round. In addition, David negotiated and directed the first TV commercial filmed on the International Space Station, as well as creating space entertainment software sold by Walmart, Best Buy, and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.
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.
Kirby Ikin, President
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 “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.
John Mankins, Chief Technical Officer
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.”
Stephen Covey, Director of Research and Development
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 and will chair the asteroid track at the 2013 International Space Development Conference. Steve invented the Microgravity Foundry that Deep Space Industries will use to transform asteroid material into metal parts using a compact and efficient 3D printing process.
Mark Sonter, Director of Mining and Processing
Mark 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
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.
Daniel Faber, Lead – Spacecraft Design Team
Daniel is the Founding CEO of the Heliocentric group of companies, with current projects in satellite technology, mining instrumentation, medical imaging and telecommunications. His engineering experience includes mechanical, electrical and systems engineering, spanning the fields of micro- and nano-satellites, nuclear physics, power generation, steel production and agribusiness automation. Daniel has designed and built the world’s smallest space telescope, an inflatable habitation module, and tiny “reaction wheels” used to control the pointing of spacecraft. He also co-founded Antarctic Broadband to deliver high speed internet to the extreme south, and Spacecore, a commercialization center for space-related technologies in Australia. He was a founding director of the Canadian Space Commerce Assn.
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.
Sagi Kfir, Corporate 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.
Considered one of the up and coming top new space artists in the world, Bryan 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 Spacehabs.com are regularly featured in publications around the world in support of space exploration and settlement projects. Bryan is a member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.
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.
Michael Zwach is a senior at Purdue University studying Electrical Engineering with specialization in electromagnetic field theory, astrophysics, and entrepreneurship. Mike gained his expertise by competing in Science Olympiad and FIRST robotics competitions before working on the Lunar Micro Rover Project at NASA Ames Research Center for four years where he served as team leader for the Telecommunications and Radiation Testing sub-teams. Later, as a Co-Op student at NASA Johnson Space Center with Jacobs, Mike worked on the lithium ion battery pack for Robonaut 2. Mike currently serves as the national Chair of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). Mike will be catering his expertise in space robotics and EM innovations to Deep Space Industries as Director of the NEO Squad among working as a member of the engineering team.
Justin is a aerospace entrepreneur with a professional career in enterprise IT infrastructure and management. During his time at Purdue University he studied Astronautical Engineering and conducted private research in electromagnetism and high-energy radiation. Justin is one of the founding members of the Texas Space Alliance and is currently working with a number of other non-profit advocacy organizations such as the Space Frontier Foundation. As part of Deep Space Industries he holds the position of NEO Squad Manager and works as a member of the engineering team.
At Deep Space we value knowledge and experience and seek as broad a set of inputs as we can gather. To us Advisers are not just names on letterhead but people whose opinions we value. These distinguished individuals have offered to assist us with their advice and ideas and form the core of our Advisory Board, which will be growing in the next few weeks.
Dr. David ALexander
Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Director – Rice Space Institute
Metallurgical Consultant, Principal, Met-Chem Consulting Pty Ltd./Australia
Author, Founder – Space Development Steering Committee/Big Bang Tango Media Lab
Co-Founder, SpaceHab, Partner, Citron and Deutsch Law Firm
Mineral Processing and Chemical Engineering Consultant/Australia
Astronomer and Co-discoverer of comet Hale-Bopp
Dr. Feng Hsu
Former Lead Engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. David Hyland
Director, Space Science and Space Engineering Research/Texas A&M University
Dr. Stephen Mackwell
Director, Lunar Planetary Institute – USRA
Mining Entrepreneur, Founder CEO – Nautilus Minerals Inc and Direct Nickel Ltd.
Writer/Host of “Meteorite Men” on the Science Channel
Chief engineer and mission director for NASA’s only mission to the asteroid belt
Dr. Ivan Rosenberg
CEO Frontier Associates/Exec. Dir. Aerospace and Defense Forum
Space engineer, Collaborator – Keck Institute for Space Studies
Professor, University of Southern California/Viterbi School of Engineering
First commercial astronaut/space shuttle payload specialist