Categories: Weekly Space Hangout

Weekly Space Hangout: February 19, 2020 – John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic

Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain)

Dr. Brian Koberlein (BrianKoberlein.com / @BrianKoberlein)

Carolyn Collins Petersen (TheSpaceWriter.com / @spacewriter)

Michael Rodruck (@michaelrodruck)

Tonight we are airing Fraser’s interview with John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic Technology. John earned his Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. While at Carnegie Mellon, John 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 also founded Carnegie Mellon’s Advanced Composites Lab, a research, training, design, and manufacturing lab specializing in high performance, lightweight composites for robotics.

Astrobotic Technology, headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, was spun out of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in 2007. Astrobotics is a lunar logistics company that delivers payloads to the Moon by accommodating multiple customers on a single flight. It is a partner with NASA through a Space Act Agreement under the Lunar CATALYST program, and has 22 prior and ongoing NASA contracts. The company has 10 payload delivery deals in place for its first mission and dozens of customer negotiations for upcoming missions.

Additionally, Astrobotic is developing advanced space robotics capabilities such as terrain relative navigation, mobile robotics for lunar surface operations, and reliable computing systems for mission-critical applications.

To learn more about Astrobotics and their projects, visit their website at https://www.astrobotic.com/.

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Susie Murph

Susie Murph is the Communications Specialist at CosmoQuest. She also produces Astronomy Cast and the Weekly Space Hangout, and is the former producer of the Parsec Award-winning Guide to Space video series.

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