Asteroids

Asteroids
Close
View Missions

Kuiper Belt

Kuiper Belt
Close
View Missions

See The Inner System See Earth

See The Sun

See The Inner System

See The Outer System

See The Inner System

See The Inner System See Earth

ORBION’S ENGINEERS HAVE BUILT SPACE HARDWARE THAT HAS FLOWN TO EVERY CORNER OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. THESE ARE OUR MISSIONS.

Orbion Space Technology has a core team of rocket scientists and engineers with more than 200 years of directly relevant experience with Hall-effect thruster (HET) technology and spacecraft electronic systems.

We’ve written hundreds of scientific publications on propulsion and space technology and our leadership has been recognized at the highest levels of the science and engineering community. Orbion team members have developed products working every day in Low Earth Orbit, Geostationary Earth Orbit, deep space, the surface of Mars, and even asteroids and comets.

Meet The Orbion Team

Michael Armstrong

Michael Armstrong is a Software Engineer at Orbion Space Technology, Inc. supporting the architecture and development of Orbion’s flight software. Prior to joining Orbion, he devoted 13+ years leading development of highly reliable RTCA/DO178Ccompliant embedded software for GE Aviation’s data flight recorder systems in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His past roles included Advanced Embedded Software Engineer, Mission Systems Recorders Software Manager, Systems Engineering Technical Manager and Quality Leader. Michael’s work can be found on systems including Boeing 777/787, Apache AH-64, COMAC C919 and other military airframes. In addition, he has 12+ years software development and test engineering experience in a variety of industries including Sanmina SCI (Contract Manufacturing), Cardiac Science (Medical), Tellabs (Telecommunications), Zenith Data Systems (Personal Computers) and Heurikon Corporation (Embedded Computer Systems). He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering Technology from Michigan Technological University and is accredited as a PMP, GE Certified PM and GE Lean 6-σ Greenbelt.

Michael Armstrong

Software Architect

Steve Battel

Steven Battel leads design, test, and manufacturing activities focused on space power electronics at Orbion. Steve has 40 years of experience as an aerospace consultant, engineer, and manager and is well-known within the space community for his science and engineering leadership related to the development of space power systems and scientific instruments. He has designed, built, and flown over 300 different space electronics systems and components including hardware flown on the Hubble Space Telescope, Gravity Probe-B, Mars-Phoenix, Cassini and the Mars Science Laboratory. He has also participated in more than 85 review and advisory boards for NASA missions including HST, GOES, TDRS, Parker Solar Probe, LandSat, Mars 2020, and Europa Clipper. Steve is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a Senior Member of IEEE. He was also was elected to the National Academy of Engineers in 2016 “for engineering design and implementation of space flight systems.”

 

Steve Battel

Space Electronics Expert

Sam Baxendale

Sam Baxendale supports design, manufacturing, integration and test of Orbion’s power processing units (PPUs). Prior to joining Orbion Sam was a contractor to the Small Satellite Branch of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RVEN), where he supported rapid prototyping of small satellite R&D missions, including concept development, modeling & simulation, electrical hardware design, and spacecraft assembly, integration & test. Sam holds a B.S. Electrical Engineering and a B.S. Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University, including past internships with SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, and Mercury Marine.

Sam Baxendale

Electrical Engineer

Carl Fruncek

Carl Fruncek is a recent Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering graduate with a strong passion for designing and building spaceflight hardware. Throughout his undergraduate career he served on four different subsystem teams supporting three satellite programs facilitated by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) University
Nanosatellite Program (UNP), as well as serving as program manager for the Oculus satellite during the final integration and test stages. Though a recent graduate, Carl is a long-time member of the Orbion team and excited to continue to support Orbion’s vision for in-space propulsion.

Carl Fruncek

Associate Engineer

Mary Kaipio

Mary joined our team in December, 2019 as Administrative Assistant to Brad King and the Orbion team. Mary has a varied background in administrative support, including working in Mobile, Technical Training, Corporate Coaching and Legal. She obtained her paralegal certificate from the University of North Texas – Dallas in 2006. Being new to the Space Industry, she finds the work Orbion is doing quite interesting and is looking forward to helping Brad and the Orbion Team be extremely successful. She is the friendly voice that will most likely greet you when you call the Orbion offices!

Mary Kaipio

Administrative Assistant

Jake Kari

Jacob Kari assists with HET design, development, and verification of Orbion systems, primarily focused on cathode development. Jacob graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Prior to joining Orbion Jacob completed a co-op at Kohler Engines in the Supplier Quality department leading root cause analysis, failure investigations, and assisting with design improvements. Before graduating Jacob was an intern at Orbion Space Technology backing cathode development as well as completing high vacuum facility upgrades. After graduation Jacob started as a full time engineer with Orbion.

Jake Kari

Associate Engineer

Lyon (Brad) King

Brad’s two decades in the space field and many professional awards recognize his research contributions in propulsion. He holds a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, has served on numerous NASA, Department of Defense, and Intelligence Community advisory panels, and has published more than 100 papers on space propulsion systems. Brad is a past recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award from President George W. Bush “for innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology, and for the exceptional potential to shape the future.” In 2002, Brad founded Aerophysics Inc. This closely held company has delivered intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance solutions to government customers from multiple agencies. He is currently principal investigator on three satellite missions.

Lyon (Brad) King

Ph.D., CEO

Jason Makela

Jason Makela directs all technical and programmatic activities for space propulsion products at Orbion. Prior to joining Orbion, Dr. Makela was a Chief & Project Engineering Specialist with Aerojet-Rocketdyne (AR). At AR, Dr. Makela was the Technical Lead for the 36V XR-5 Hall-effect thruster production line. The XR-5 is the most modern and advanced Hall-thruster in the world and currently propels the $14.6B Dept. of Defense Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite fleet. In addition, Dr. Makela served versatile roles at AR ranging from the Thruster Technical Lead for the $67M NASA Advanced Electric Propulsion System program (a program to develop high-power Hall-effect thrusters for commercial and government users) to serving as a subject matter expert for space propulsion system test campaigns, failure investigations, and on-orbit support for AEHF. He earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Jason Makela

Ph.D., VP – Engineering

Jeff Moler

Mr. Moler has over 35 years of experience developing, designing, and selling technology products in the aerospace, industrial, medical and consumer markets. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona. Mr. Moler is the founder and CEO of Viking AT, LLC, a provider of high-performance piezo actuation technology. Mr. Moler has provided technical and business consulting to Fortune 500 companies and smaller organizations, involving technical and market direction for introduction of new motion and actuation technologies. Previously, Mr. Moler was the founder, CEO, and lead technology creator for Viking Technologies, an R&D organization that developed 30 patents involving piezo-based technology. Earlier, Mr. Moler founded Protek Electronics and served as CEO for 12 years. Initially, Protek provided electronic design and production services for the aerospace industry, but Jeff expanded the company and its offerings to the medical, security systems, and communications industries, with full-service design and production services of electronic and electromechanical assemblies. Mr. Moler opened and managed 3 facilities, two in Sarasota, Florida and one in Costa Rica.  Accomplishments include building an organization that placed three years: 1995, 1996 and 1997 on Inc. Magazine’s INC500 list of the fastest growing privately held companies in America, with a 5-year growth of over 2200%. Multiple year awards by National Technology Fast 500 and the Florida Fast-50 were garnered as being among the fastest growing technology companies, in the nation and in Florida. He received a Letter of Recognition from President Bill Clinton and was recognized by the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce as Small Business of the Year 1995.

He has served on the board of directors of Viking Technologies, Viking AT and Protek Electronics and has also served on the following civic and corporate boards:
• Board of Directors, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
• Board of Directors, Sarasota Better Business Bureau
• Board of Advisors, Sarasota County Vocational School
• Board of Directors, Suncoast Workforce Development Program
• A founding member of the Suncoast Technology Alliance
Mr. Moler has authored or co-authored over 43 US patents.

Jeff Moler

Valve and Actuator Expert

Roger Myers

Roger Myers provides experience-driven leadership to guide the technical and strategic direction of Orbion’s product development.  His experience ranges from hands-on R&D with small teams at NASA, to leading, as General Manager, the world’s largest developer and producer of in-space propulsion technologies and systems, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s 400+ person site in Redmond, Washington. He has led dozens of space flight programs and published over 80 papers on space propulsion technology. In 2014 he was awarded the AIAA Wyld Propulsion Award, the highest honor in his field, “for sustained high-value contributions to propulsion for U.S. and international space systems and services to aerospace propulsion communities.” Roger holds a Ph.D. degree in aerospace engineering from Princeton University.

Roger Myers

Ph.D., Lead System Engineer

Greg Orndorff

Greg is responsible for engaging with potential U.S. Government Customers (DoD, IC, NASA) and New Space commercial LEO constellation developers and operators interested in leveraging Orbion’s Electric Propulsion offerings for small satellites. In this capacity he leads and directs all activities supporting and educating the greater space community on leveraging electric propulsion to enable mission capabilities for SmallSats ranging from single spacecraft to mega LEO constellations to interplanetary and cislunar endeavors.
Prior to joining Orbion, he was the Vice President of Government Solutions at the small launch vehicle start-up, Vector Launch Inc. And prior to that as the Vice President of National Security Programs at Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Inc., responsible for developing, capturing, and managing service opportunities in the DoD and IC markets. In his most recent job before SGT, he was a member of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s Principal Professional Staff and the Deputy Director of National Security Space Programs in the Space Department there. He received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and an M.B.A. from Shenandoah University. His early career included responsibilities as a technology developer, program
manager, and systems engineer. Greg is a retired Air Force officer, having served in various space organizations in acquisition (Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles CA), operations (45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral FL), and logistics (30th Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB CA). After his Air Force career, He held positions at Orbital Sciences Corp. and Northrop Grumman working on C4ISR systems, reusable launch systems, and anti-tamper approaches. He has authored papers on space situational awareness, space traffic control, and distributed space architectures, and coauthored a book chapter on the history of space systems development during the Cold War. A member of AFCEA, he is also an emeritus member of AIAA’s technical committee on space systems.

Greg Orndorff

VP – Business Development

Joe Panella

Joe Panella supports manufacturing and product testing with over 25 years of experience in executive management in global manufacturing companies. Joe has held senior manufacturing and product management positions with Cummins, Honeywell’s Garrett Turbocharger, and Haldex Braking Systems. As a prior plant manager, he has successfully implemented lean manufacturing processes and robust quality systems in complex manufacturing environments that support the transportation industry. Joe brings his expertise and experience from traditional manufacturing sectors to the New Space market—enabling Orbion to deliver satellite components at higher capacity and lower cost than anyone in the industry while not sacrificing product reliability.  Joe holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Joe Panella

VP – Manufacturing

Jason D. Sommerville

Jason Sommmerville integrates his expertise from multiple technology sectors to drive Orbion’s vision for space products. He has been designing, analyzing, and optimizing in-space propulsion and control systems for more than a decade. He is an expert in components and architectures for traditional, micro-, and nanosatellites, with particular focus on Hall-effect thrusters. Jason has designed and built hardware and software for systems across a wide range of applications from satellite instruments to automotive components. Much of this work was done as founder of UPVI LLC, a National Instruments Alliance Partner. He earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Jason D. Sommerville

Ph.D., CTO

Kurt Terhune

Kurt Terhune leads experimental verification and validation of Orbion space propulsion systems and related products. Kurt has extensive experience with nano- and micro-satellite propulsion systems including Hall-effect thrusters, electrospray propulsion systems, and novel ionic liquid ferrofluid microthrusters. Prior to joining Orbion Kurt was a NASA Graduate Student Research Fellow with NASA Glenn Research Center and a visiting researcher at the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Kurt Terhune

Ph.D., Senior Engineer

Rob Washeleski

Rob Washeleski directs space component architecture design, reliability assessment, quality assurance, and spacecraft integration for Orbion products. Prior to joining Orbion Rob was a Member of the Technical Staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he provided specialized support to Lincoln Laboratory’s space control mission, including system architecture studies, development of satellite propulsion systems (gaseous chemical, solid rocket, and electromagnetic), and satellite integration and test support. Rob’s diverse experience spans the space development lifecycle from component- and vehicle-level environmental testing to launch range interface, fueling, and launch vehicle integration of small satellite systems.

Rob Washeleski

Ph.D., Engineering Specialist

Meet Orbion’s Executive Leadership

Lyon (Brad) King

Brad’s two decades in the space field and many professional awards recognize his research contributions in propulsion. Brad holds a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, has served on numerous NASA, Department of Defense, and Intelligence Community advisory panels, and has published more than 100 papers on space propulsion systems. He is a past recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award from President George W. Bush “for innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology, and for the exceptional potential to shape the future.” In 2002, Brad founded Aerophysics Inc. This closely held company has delivered intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance solutions to government customers from multiple agencies. He is currently principal investigator on three satellite missions.

Lyon (Brad) King

Ph.D., CEO

Kanwal Rekhi

Kanwal Rekhi directs management policies, financial, and strategic decisions for Orbion, with particular experience in executive management and venture capital investment. Kanwal is the Managing Director and co-founder of Inventus Capital Partners, a Silicon Valley VC firm that has financed and guided over 120 founding teams to dozens of successful IPOs, creating over $30 billion in aggregate wealth for founders and shareholders. Kanwal has been CEO of Excelan (leading it to NASDAQ), Ensim, and Cybermedia. As a full-time venture angel prior to Inventus, Kanwal invested his own capital in more than 50 startups resulting in 21 exits including 6 IPOs to date.

Kanwal Rekhi

Ph.D., Director

John Rockwell

John Rockwell directs management policies, financial, and strategic decisions for Orbion, with particular expertise in executive management and venture capital investment. John has 25 years of experience managing and developing companies commercializing products in numerous tech markets as well as making venture capital investments in these markets. John has served as the leader of four companies, all of which realized successful exits for their investors. In addition to his corporate leadership John was the Founder and Managing Director of Element Partners, an $800 million venture capital and private equity firm. Prior to Element, John was a partner at Advent International Corporation, now a $40 billion global private equity firm where he managed the Silicon Valley office for nine years. John has served on the boards of more than 25 companies.

John Rockwell

Director

Adam Sharkawy

Dr. Sharkawy is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Material Impact, a unique venture fund that focuses on investing in and building companies with material-based technology innovations making a large impact. He serves as member of the Board of Directors for many companies including Soft Robotics, Fusion Coolant Technologies, NextGen Jane, Orbion Space Technologies, Folio Photonics, Nohbo, and BloomerTech where he serves as Chair. He also serves on the Graduate School Board at Duke University and as a Chief Mentor for NYU Stern Endless Frontiers. Previously, Adam held a series of operating roles on the executive leadership team of publicly traded healthcare companies such as the Medicines Company where he led a number of acquisitions and ran the Surgical Care division, Smith & Nephew’s Emerging Market division, Abbott’s Medical Device division, and Guidant’s Vascular Intervention division. Prior to large corporate roles, Adam was an entrepreneur in the Silicon Valley where he helped start Ventrica (technology acquired by Medtronic), Heartport (acquired by Johnson and Johnson) and Advanced Cardiovascular Systems (acquired by Eli Lilly). Dr. Sharkawy received his Ph.D. from Duke University in Biomaterials / Biomedical Engineering, an MSME in Chaos Theory from Texas A&M and a BSME from the American University, Cairo. He is a scientific inventor and holds 23 issued U.S. patents and numerous international patents.

Adam Sharkawy

Ph.D., Director

Jason D. Sommerville

Jason Sommmerville integrates his expertise from multiple technology sectors to drive Orbion’s vision for space products. He has been designing, analyzing, and optimizing in-space propulsion and control systems for more than a decade. He is an expert in components and architectures for traditional, micro-, and nanosatellites, with particular focus on Hall-effect thrusters. Jason has designed and built hardware and software for systems across a wide range of applications from satellite instruments to automotive components. Much of this work was done as founder of UPVI LLC, a National Instruments Alliance Partner. He earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Jason D. Sommerville

Ph.D., CTO