Team Bios

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.

Petr Johnes Board Member

Petr Johanes is originally from the Czech Republic, although now he spends most of his time at Stanford in Silicon Valley. Petr has experienced innovation from the perspective of a nanotechnology startup engineer at Elmarco, infrastructure and investment data analyst at the World Bank, top-tier venture capital fund associate at Khosla Ventures, and laboratory researcher in the Stanford Cui Research Group. Most recently, Petr has found a clear outlet for his passion for education, teaming up with professors to start as well as revamp courses in the Stanford School of Engineering. The courses vary from engineering thermodynamics and energy conversion technology to design thinking and entrepreneurship. Right now, Petr is switching gears from his career in Materials Science and Engineering to Learning, Design, and Technology at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. When not working on his projects, Petr relaxes by watching movies, drawing, writing, and, most of all, just spending time in nature..

Team_MarkMark Sonter Board Member

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.

Bill Miller Chief Executive Officer

Mr. William “Bill” D. Miller is both an accomplished business executive and strategist with an impressive history of success, spearheading all aspects of the development, operation, and optimization of cutting-edge organizations. By pairing his expertise in business management with a strong understanding of technology and marketing, Bill is very much at home building industry-leading businesses to achieve desired results. Through his experiences, he adds value by truly understanding technology and determining ways to make money from it, via his enthusiastic energy, collaborative approach, and long-term vision and strategy development. Also most recently, Bill has been researching and investing private equity in leading-edge New Space startups with sustainable business models. Thus far, he’s invested in two new launch companies and a satellite communications technology company and is a general partner of the  Space Angels Network, which is the largest angel fund in the space industry.

Bill began his career while still in grad school, starting up a software/hardware firm, Intercomputer Communications Corp., from scratch. He established and grew this lucrative business from an initial $40K investment to produce $36M in income annually in less than a decade. Growth rates surpassed 100% for 11 consecutive years with sustainable profits for each year. Upon the sale of Intercomputer Communications Corp., Bill was recruited by Digital Communications Associates, a $240M NYSE computer software company. Initially as VP & CTO, he formulated their strategy for the next 10 years, which positioned the business for future success. As a result, he was promoted to President of a newly created division, where he oversaw the development of most of the company’s future technologies and grew revenues to ~$22M/year in a short time period.

In 2008, Bill and his wife decided they wanted to travel the world, so he took a break from his corporate responsibilities and bought a 100-ton, 63’ ocean-going vessel. Upon becoming a licensed Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Captain, they singlehandedly managed all systems and navigation. Together they logged, 20,000 miles at sea, traveling from Long Island to Trinidad without a crew. In addition to Bill’s interesting and eclectic career, he pursued his lifelong dream of becoming a commercial pilot. In 1997, he was recruited by Delta to fly turboprops and jet aircraft on domestic and international routes. Subsequently he operated out of one the world’s busiest airports, successfully logging thousands of hours.

Bill obtained his B.S. degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He also completed Graduate Studies in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Cincinnati as well as Georgia Institute of Technology. Additional notable training includes a 10-week Strategic Planning Seminar for Chief Executive Officers. Bill has served on the Board of Directors for several corporations, including Digital Communications Associates Corp. and Intercomputer Communications Corp. As well, he was an active member of his community in Roswell Georgia, serving as a member of the School Board for Queen of Angels School; Parish Council for St. Peter Chanel Church; and Board of Directors the Kula Project, which advances and supports the businesses of coffee farmers in East Africa.


Team_GrantGrant Bonin Chief Technology Officer

Grant Bonin is an aerospace management and engineering professional specializing in spacecraft systems engineering, project management, and business development. His broad industry and academic experience spans end-to-end spacecraft development, manned and unmanned space mission analysis and design, orbital mechanics research, and nuclear systems engineering. His accomplishments include 11 different spacecraft operating successfully in orbit, with several more in development. Most recently, he served as manager and lead engineer of the highly successful CanX-4&5 mission, which demonstrated sub-meter autonomous formation flight on orbit. His overall professional goal is to further the human development of space.

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, and is a member of the International Institute of Space Law.

Team_JohnJohn 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.

Peter Stibrany Chief Business Developer and Strategist

Peter is a strategist and innovator in the microsatellite industry. His background spans technical, management, and strategic level positions at some of the world’s most innovative space technology companies. Peter has worked at ‘small space’ companies like Dynacon and ‘large space’ companies like MDA. He was a system engineer on Radarsat, MSAT and components of the International Space Station.  He also led various studies of novel orbital and spacecraft architectures for space based radar, earth observation and space-to-space surveillance. In 1990, Peter became the program manager for the S- and Ku-Band antenna subsystems for the International Space Station, and also for a period of time being the manufacturing manager for the Canadarm2 Joints and End Effectors. He was project manager and systems engineer for the MOST microsatellite project, which when launched in 2003, at just over 50kg, was the world’s smallest free-flying space telescope. As vice president at MDA’s Brampton robotics and automation division, he was part of the group which started MDA’s push into commercial on-orbit servicing. Peter spent seven years as managing director for several of MDA’s Information Products businesses, and in 2011, was promoted to director of strategic development for MDA’s Information Systems Group – working on group-related organic growth initiatives and mergers & acquisitions.


Nathan Orr Chief Engineer

Nathan Orr is an Aerospace Engineer who specializes in systems engineering, spacecraft avionics design and project management. He has a decade of hands-on space industry experience building small satellites and developing spacecraft hardware including power systems, propulsion and payloads. Nathan has made significant contributions to 18 satellite missions, with 12 currently operating successfully on-orbit. Nathan holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Alberta and a Master of Applied Science degree in Aerospace from the University of Toronto. In his spare time, Nathan is an avid amateur astronomer and cyclist.

Team_SteveStephen D. Covey Director Research and Development

Stephen D. Covey is the Director of Research and Development for, and a co-founder of, Deep Space Industries Inc., where his focus is the production of marketable products from asteroid materials. He has given multiple presentations at conferences, and as an asteroid expert he chaired the Asteroid Track at the 2013 International Space Development Conference. His background spans telecom research and development, software consulting for the Defense Dept., process control, robotics, 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. Stephen invented the MicroGravity Foundry (USPTO pending patent US 13/907,098) that Deep Space Industries will use to transform asteroid material into metal parts using a compact and efficient 3D printing process. He also invented the Electromagnetic Regolith Excavator (USPTO pending patent US 13/901,570) and related offshoots such as the Electromagnetic Regolith Rocket

Team_ScottScott Armitage Director of Space Systems

Scott Armitage is an aerospace engineer specializing in spacecraft systems engineering and subsystems design. His industry and academic experience includes end-to-end spacecraft development, the design, assembly, and test of small spacecraft propulsion systems, embedded systems design, and software architecture design. Scott was the lead systems engineer for the highly successful CanX-4&5 nanosatellite mission which demonstrated sub-meter autonomous formation flight on orbit. In aggregate, he has contributed to eight different spacecraft operating successfully on orbit and several others currently in development or awaiting launch.

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