PITTSBURGH, PA – November 18, 2008 – Astrobotic Technology Inc., which will pioneer the lunar frontier with commercial robotic services, today announced that four leading space and management experts have been elected to its Board of Directors. “Together, these new board members span an enormous range of talents,” said Astrobotic CEO John Kohut, formerly a senior space manager at Raytheon Co. “Their backgrounds include top corporate management, investments and start-ups, senior NASA leadership, robotics and international relations experience.”
The company’s chairman, Dr. William “Red” Whittaker, is founder of the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon University and is directing the development of the firm’s first lunar robot, which has been undergoing field trials for several months. The company’s first mission, to win the $20 million Google Lunar X prize and respectfully visit Apollo 11 with HD video, is set for May 2010. Astrobotic is collaborating with Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, which is adapting many of its existing robotic vision, navigation and locomotion technologies to the lunar challenge.
The newly elected board members are:
Dr. Khalid Al-Ali
Dr. Khalid Al-Ali of Palo Alto, Calif., a native of Qatar, is the principal investigator, project lead, and program visionary for key projects funded by the NASA Ames Research Center and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL). His expertise is projects involving advanced spacecraft control systems, intelligent avionics, novel power systems, planetary rovers and robots, and spacecraft for Lunar, Martian, and Antarctic missions. In addition, he serves as the principal test pilot for unmanned aerial vehicles for NASA Ames’ Intelligent Avionics program. He founded the Carnegie Mellon Innovations Lab and directs its activities to create compact, highly capable mobile autonomous vehicles covering ground, air and space operations. As director of research at Carnegie Mellon University’s Silicon Valley campus in Moffett Field, CA, he oversees scientists and engineers conducting multidisciplinary award-winning research. He is also the president and CEO of Senseta, a robotic sentry and patrol platform provider for the space automaton and security industry.
Dr. Al-Ali received a royal appointment in Qatar to develop the Qatar Science and Technology Park Project (QSTP) in Education City. Dr. Al-Ali was also the advisor to the Board of Directors and reported to Their Royal Highnesses the ruler of Qatar and his consort. Also by royal appointment, Dr. Al-Ali was a member of both the Qatar National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Strategy Committee and the Qatar National ICT Implementation Committee. He has been involved with scientific and research endeavors with General Electric Medical Systems, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Al-Ali holds a Ph.D. in mechanical and electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.
Paul C. O’Brien
Paul C. O’Brien of Boston brings more than 40 years experience in the telecommunications and information technology industry with an extensive background in information systems, project management, technical marketing. Mr. O’Brien is the president of the O’Brien Group, a technology investment and consulting firm. He also serves as the president of Pan-Asia Development, an investment firm pursuing opportunities in Asia.
Mr. O’Brien is the former CEO and chairman of the board of New England Telephone after having served as executive vice president at New York Telephone. Earlier in his career he worked for GE and served in the US Air Force. Mr. O’Brien currently sits on a variety of boards of both private and public companies. He holds a BS in electrical engineering from Manhattan College and an MBA from New York University. He has received three honorary doctorates.
Paul F. Pelosi Jr.
Paul Pelosi Jr., of San Francisco, has more than 15 years experience in advising emerging and Fortune 500 companies in the areas of finance, infrastructure, sustainability and public policy. Mr. Pelosi serves as an advisor to a several institutions including NASA Ames Research Center and AirPatrol Corporation on a variety of infrastructure projects to promote both sustainable development and security.
Prior to independent consulting, Mr. Pelosi served many years with InfoUSA Corporation, Bank of America Securities, Bank of America Countrywide and JP Morgan – Chase Manhattan where he worked in corporate finance, institutional sales and the mortgage industry. In 2001, Mr. Pelosi was appointed by Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. to the San Francisco Commission on the Environment. Many of the Commission’s goals have been realized, including partnerships with utilities to implement energy efficiency programs resulting in a reduction of 28 megawatts in electricity. San Francisco also has increased residential and commercial recycling from 46% to 70%, reduced carbon emissions to 6% below 1990 levels, and is the first municipality to implement a ban on plastic bags.
Mr. Pelosi is also a founding member of Cisco Connected Urban Development. Under the direction of Cisco CEO John Chambers, he works with several cities including San Francisco, Birmingham, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Lisbon, Madrid and Seoul to demonstrate how network connectivity reduces carbon emissions.
Mr. Pelosi holds three degrees from Georgetown University: a Bachelor of Arts in History (Cum Laude, 1991), a Juris Doctorate with an emphasis in International Business, and a Masters in Business Administration.
William F. Readdy
Mr. Readdy of McLean, Va., is founder and managing partner of Discovery Partners International, specializing in global space development and aerospace program management. He has three decades of experience across a broad range of aerospace specialties. He previously served as the NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations, an astronaut, a Naval aviator and a test pilot. As a veteran pilot astronaut, Mr. Readdy made three space flights, STS-42 (January 22-30, 1992), STS-51 (September 12-22, 1993) and STS-79 (September 16-26, 1996).
At NASA, his assignments included serving as the agency’s director of operations at Star City, Russia, where astronauts and cosmonauts train for launch aboard Russian Soyuz vehicles. He served at NASA as Associate Administrator for Space Operations with more than $6 billion budget authority, and oversight for the Kennedy, Johnson, Marshall and Stennis Space Centers as well as programmatic oversight for International Space Station (ISS), Space Shuttle, Space Communications and Space Launch Vehicles.
Mr. Readdy is the recipient of the Presidential Rank award, two NASA Distinguished Service medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross and holds the rank of Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He is also an academician of the International Academy of Astronautics.
Readdy serves on the board of directors of Spacehab/Astrotech, Corp. and also serves as chairman of the board of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education.
The other members of the Astrobotic board are Mr. Kohut, David Gump, Mitchell London and Dr. Whittaker.