Moon Express Hires Veteran Team From Space Industry To Pursue Commercial Lunar Missions

Leading space industry veterans join Moon Express to reach for the Moon and win the Google Lunar X PRIZE.

Aug 30, 2012, 08:00 ET from Moon Express, Inc.

SILICON VALLEY, Calif., Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, has unveiled its senior technical team of veteran space industry engineers hired to lead the company's flight programs.  The Moon Express technical leadership team is described as a who's who of space industry veterans with over 50 NASA space missions to their credit, bringing to the company a deep understanding of NASA know-how and a passion to develop a new era of commercial space exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The announcement was made to commercial space industry leaders during a Commercial Spaceflight Federation meeting in Washington, DC.


The most recent additions to the Moon Express senior technical team are:

Steve BaileySpacecraft Systems Engineering Lead: Steve has worked for over 29 years in space exploration systems, most recently as President and Principal Engineer of Deep Space Systems under contract to Lockheed Martin on NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, where he served as integration lead for systems including Orion Backup and Survival Systems. Prior to that he was the Spacecraft Systems Design Lead for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) for Phase A/B; the MRO Spacecraft Test Bed Systems Engineer for Phase B/C/D; and Payload Integration Lead for MARCI, CTX and HiRISE science instruments for MRO Phase C/D.  Steve's roles on flight systems include work on diverse projects including GN&C systems analysis of the Space Shuttle in his time at the Johnson Space Center, system engineering work as a JPL employee on the Mars Pathfinder project, and assignments that include Spacecraft System Design Lead in the Mars Surveyor Program.  His experience also extends to technical roles on NASA Discovery and New Frontiers proposals including MoonRise, Mars Phoenix, and OSIRIS-REx, as well as several lunar lander proposals and design studies dating back to his role as project manager of the Artemis Common Lunar Lander for the Space Exploration Initiative in the early 90's, when he was a civil servant working at JSC. Steve was the Flight System Design Lead for the BlastOff! Corporation in an effort to land a privately funded lunar lander that preceded the Google Lunar X-PRIZE.

Adrian AdamsonAvionics Engineering Lead: With over 16 years' experience in spaceflight programs, Adrian has had responsibility for a significant portion of the systems engineering development of many spacecraft, from initial design trades through mission operations. Since 2004 he has been a System Engineer at Deep Space Systems, Inc. most recently serving as the Systems Electrical Integration Lead for the Orion program at Lockheed Martin. He was also the Systems Engineering Electrical Lead for the Hubble Robotic Servicing Deorbit Module; the Power System Architect for the JPL MoonRise New Frontiers proposal; and System Engineer for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Adrian was a System Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 2001-2004, becoming the Power System Test Lead for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER), and from 2000-2001 was the Power Subsystem Lead at BlastOff! Corporation, responsible for the power subsystem of a roving lunar lander. From 1995-2000, Adrian was a Senior Engineer at Lockheed Martin Astronautics, performed a wide variety of design, test, and operations tasks for the 1998 Mars Surveyor Program, and also contributed to the Stardust, Mars Phoenix Lander, Mars Odyssey Orbiter, and Mars '03-'05 study.

Jim KaidyGuidance, Navigation & Control (GN&C) Lead: A veteran of robotic and asteroid lander GN&C technology development with over 30 years' experience, Jim worked at the Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) from 2004-2012, applying his expertise to low gravity precision robotic landers including the Marshall Spaceflight Center's "Lunar Quest" Lunar Lander Project. Jim was also the Lead G&C and Flight Software Testing Engineer for NASA's New Horizons – Pluto-Kuiper Belt spacecraft, launched in 2006 and scheduled to arrive at Pluto in 2015, and prior to that was the G&C Flight Software Testing Engineer for the highly successful NASA MESSENGER spacecraft, launched in 2004 and currently in orbit around Mercury.

These space industry veterans add to the existing talent and experience of the Moon Express technical leadership, comprised of:

Dr. Alan SternChief Scientist and Mission Architect: Planetary scientist and commercial space advocate, Dr. Stern was named by Time Magazine as one of the world's most 100 influential people in 2007. Dr. Stern is the former NASA Associate Administrator for Science and is an outspoken advocate for commercial space who believes in the power of private enterprise to complement government efforts. While at NASA he presided over $4.5B of planetary science, astrophysics, heliophysics, and Earth science missions, while also serving as the Principle Investigator of the agency's New Horizon's mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, which he still leads. Dr. Stern is also leading a suborbital research program using next-generation vehicles in which he and other scientists will use to fly in space to conduct research.

Dr. James (Jimi) Crawford  – Chief Technology Officer and Software Architect:  An expert in artificial intelligence and spacecraft systems, Dr. Crawford has held distinguished positions at NASA, including supporting Mars Exploration Rovers and other missions as head of the NASA Ames Autonomy and Robotics area. Among many other projects, his teams delivered the optimized activity planner used by both the Opportunity and Spirit Mars rovers, demonstrated next generation rovers with much higher levels of autonomy, and created optimized spacecraft antenna using genetic algorithms. Jimi has also led a number of entrepreneurial Silicon Valley start-ups and prior to joining Moon Express was the Engineering Director for Google Books in charge of scanning the world's books and making them searchable online.

Jim CantrellVice President, Flight Programs: Jim has founded several entrepreneurial start-ups, served on major government source selection boards and worked as an aerospace executive over the past 20 years, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on Mars programs; the French Space Agency (CNES) in Toulouse, France on a joint French-Soviet Mars program; and by the Space Dynamics Laboratory on various on joint missile defense programs conducted between the US and Russia. Jim also served as Program Manager on the privately funded COSMOS 1 Solar Sail program which flew the world's first solar sail spacecraft from a Russian submarine on a converted ballistic missile and was on the early founding team of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).

Tom GardnerMission Systems Engineering Lead:  Tom is a highly accomplished space systems engineer and technical leader with significant experience developing and implementing spacecraft, payloads, launch vehicles, and missile systems. Prior to joining Moon Express in 2010, Tom was NASA Programs Chief Engineer/Space Systems and New Business Technical Lead at Raytheon, leading new business technical development for NASA, commercial and US Department of Defense (DoD) space projects and proposal efforts. Prior to Raytheon, Tom worked at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company as a Systems Engineer and Senior Staff Engineer, participating in a number of flight programs including Stardust, the Athena launch system, Mars Explorer program and the seminal Lunar Prospector mission.

Additionally, company co-Founder, Vice-Chairman and Chief Strategic Officer Dr. Barney Pell led the NASA Ames Artificial Intelligence group, supporting the highly successful Mars Exploration Rovers and Deep Space 1 missions; while company co-Founder and CEO Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards presided over enabling technologies to the NASA Phoenix Mars Lander and the US Air Force XSS-11 missions.

"We are thrilled and honored to have such amazing, talented people join Moon Express," said company co-founder and CEO Bob Richards. "The pedigree of our technical team in planetary exploration is unsurpassed; including missions to the Moon, Mars, asteroids and almost every planet in our solar system. We truly have the lunar Jedi's."

Moon Express' veteran technical leadership team oversees a growing engineering staff with access to innovative space technology and expertise from NASA Ames Research Center through a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement (RSAA). In pursuing the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE and a growing market for commercial lunar transportation and data services, Moon Express is pioneering a new commercial space exploration paradigm in partnership with NASA supported by a Silicon Valley-style business model.

The Moon Express founders, Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards, Naveen Jain, and Dr. Barney Pell, believe in the long term economic potential of the Moon to produce planetary resources essential to humanity's future on Earth and in space.

SOURCE Moon Express, Inc.