About Astrobotic

Affordable space robotic technology and planetary missions

The Vision

We make high-capability space missions practical for a broad spectrum of business, scientific, and social applications.

We believe in the elegant, pragmatic use of robotics to drive down cost, improve capability, and increase reliability.

We will empower a thriving human space presence that explores the world beyond Earth orbit.

The Company

Astrobotic Technology flies hardware systems into space for companies, governments, and universities. By accommodating multiple customers on a single flight, Astrobotic offers unprecedented flexibility at an industry-defining low price.

Originally spun out of Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 by William “Red” Whittaker to compete for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, Astrobotic is pioneering affordable planetary access that promises to spark a new era of exploration, science, tourism, resource utilization, and mining. Astrobotic is based in Pittsburgh's Strip District.

The Team

John thorton

John Thornton

Chief Executive Officer

John Thornton has grown Astrobotic's business of delivering affordable space robotics technology and planetary missions by attracting technology contracts, equity investment, and payload customers. Thornton is coordinating the team and alliance for Griffin's development and the first mission. At Carnegie Mellon, Thornton led the build of Scarab, a NASA concept robot for lunar drilling, and the first robot to carry a prototype of NASA's RESOLVE payload. He founded Carnegie Mellon's Advanced Composites Lab, a research, training, design, and manufacturing lab specializing in high performance, lightweight composites for robotics.

Kevin peterson

Kevin Peterson

Chief Technology Officer

Kevin Peterson manages Astrobotic's technology development. Peterson has fielded a dozen autonomous systems, including autonomous UXO survey, high-speed desert and urban driving, construction, and naval systems. Peterson was the technical lead for Carnegie Mellon's DARPA Grand Challenge teams. At Astrobotic, Peterson leads 5 active NASA contracts for Autolanding for Robotic Precursor Missions; Reliable, Hardened GPS-Denied Navigation and Landing; Resource Aware Planning for Shadowed and Uncertain Domains; Long-Range Prediction of Non-Geometric Terrain Hazards for Reliable Planetary Rover Traverse; and Non-Geometric Terrain Sensing for Autonomous Excavation and Site Work.

Steven huber

Steven Huber

Chief Operating Officer

Steven Huber manages Astrobotic's operations and contract fulfillment. He led the design, build, and testing of Griffin's primary structure, landing sensor gimbal, compressive legs, and rover egress ramps. Huber leads Astrobotic's ILDD contract including flight qualification of Griffin's structure and development of two major design documents – the Icebreaker Preliminary Design Document, which details a polar prospecting mission on Griffin, and the Mooncruiser system definition document.

Dan hendrickson

Dan Hendrickson,

Director of Business Development

Dan Hendrickson leads Astrobotic’s business development efforts and payload sales. Prior to Astrobotic, Hendrickson served as the Director of Civil and Commercial Space Systems at the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). During his time at AIA, Hendrickson was a consensus builder among a council of 50 U.S. space companies to provide the U.S. Government guidance on key space industry interests. Before transitioning to AIA, Hendrickson served as a civilian mission assurance engineer at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on five successful Atlas V launch campaigns.

Jackie erickson

Jackie W. Erickson,

Director of Communications

Jackie Erickson is responsible for the development and implementation of Astrobotic’s external communications strategy which includes media and community relations. Jackie previously served as Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Director for U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. where she focused on defense, energy, infrastructure, and veterans affairs polices. Jackie is the recipient of the Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Public Service for her work related to waterways infrastructure.

Board of Directors

Red whittaker

William "Red" Whittaker

Chairman and Chief Science Officer

Red Whittaker has developed dozens of successful systems in field robotics, space exploration, autonomous vehicles, mining, and agriculture. Whittaker has also led successful consortia and companies. He developed CMU's National Robotics Engineering Center from modest NASA seed funding; collaborated with Caterpillar to automate their entire product fleet and develop 11 patents on autonomous mining and excavating; and founded RedZone Robotics on government seed funding for nuclear cleanup. Whittaker won the DARPA Urban Challenge and spun out the resulting technology through a partnership with General Motors.

Paul o brien

Paul C. O'Brien

Paul C. 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. 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.

O'Brien brings more than 40 years experience in the telecommunications and information technology industry with an extensive background in information systems, project management, technical marketing. He 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.

William readdy

William F. Readdy

William F. Readdy 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, 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. As NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations, he had 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. 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.

Vishwas karve

Vishwas Karve

Vishwas Karve is Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, for International Rectifier Corporation, an investor in Astrobotic Technology. IR is a world leader in advanced power management technology, from digital, analog and mixed-signal ICs to advanced circuit devices, power systems and components. The world's leading manufacturers of computers, appliances, automobiles, consumer electronics and defense systems rely on IR technology to drive the performance and efficiency of their products.

Dean thompson

Dean Thompson

Dean Thompson is a Principal Architect at LinkedIn. He leads engineering for the LinkedIn for Good team, which uses LinkedIn as a platform to drive positive social impact. Dean has spent his career founding and leading Pittsburgh based-startups: mSpoke (acquired by LinkedIn), Transarc (acquired by IBM); e-Transport (acquired by Descartes); and Premier Health Exchange (acquired by Medibuy).