Technical Team

Lewis_bwJohn 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.

MarkSonterMark 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.

SteveCoveyStephen 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.

chriscassellDr. 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.

 

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