Chief Executive Officer
Erik Franks is a veteran startup founder and space industry professional. He is a graduate of University of Texas at Austin and also earned a Masters in Space Studies from International Space University. He was ground operations lead for one of the prime contractors of DARPA's XS-1 reusable spaceplane program, and has extensive prior experience in technical program management and project oversight.
Chief Operating Officer
Jeff Gibson has a decade of experience in aerospace systems engineering. He first worked as a Senior Engineer at Goodrich corporation on multiple rapid development projects for precision guided munitions. In 2013, he joined Masten Space Systems as the Lead GNC Systems Engineer, where he also served as Technical Lead on the DARPA XS-1 program, and GNC/Avionics/Software Lead for Masten's effort on the NASA Lunar CATALYST program. Jeff was the pilot/operator for over a hundred VTVL rocket flights and static engine tests. He has extensive experience in design, simulation, integration, testing, and project leadership.
Chief Technology Officer
Jake Teufert is an experienced professional in the field of propulsion and energetic devices. His prior experience includes a diversity of programs including the Space Shuttle, SLS, Ground-based Midcourse Defense, and DARPA’s XS-1. He has worked on flight qualified rocket propulsion systems ranging from pounds to tens of thousands of pounds.
Principal Mechanical Engineer
Luke Farrell has focused on building cross-discipline experience blending new techniques and technologies with legacy industry knowledge. Luke worked with Tesseract's founders at Masten Space Systems in a multitude of roles including data scientist, structures engineer, rocket test engineer, and electromechanical engineer. At a Bay Area stealth launch company, he designed aero fairings and propellant tanks as structures engineer. In his role as Principal Engineer for Advanced Concepts at Tesseract, he seeks to incorporate new and old to advance Tesseract's proprietary products and the industry as a whole. Luke spends his free time on personal engineering projects such as a scratch-built electric car or tweaking his 3D printer.
Principal Propulsion Engineer
Devin Kees has experience working with hypergolic-, bipropellant-, cryogenic-, and hybrid-rockets at Purdue’s Zucrow Laboratories. At Orbital Sciences he was the responsible engineer for attitude control systems, fairing jettison systems, ordnance components, and new innovative rocket hardware for programs such as GMD, IRBM, and MRBM. He was the responsible engineer for one of Virgin Orbit’s first stage engines. In his free time, Devin designed and built flamethrowers that have safely burned more than ten tons of fuel.
Principal Spacecraft Architect
Isa Peterson is an inquisitive astronautical engineer with a background in orbital mechanics, spacecraft mission design, and manufacturing. Her experience includes numerous commercial programs ranging from geostationary orbit raising, spacecraft mechanical testing, and proposal/product development. Isa loves learning, dancing, and product development. She wants to be an astronaut when she grows up.
Principal GNC Engineer
Richard Stelling is an aerospace engineer with nearly a decade experience in spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control. His experience includes optimal guidance for VTVL launch vehicles, terrain relative navigation, and real-time, flight critical control software. Richard thrives in a fast paced environment and loves to solve difficult engineering problems.
Technical and Marketing Consultant
William (Bill) Smith is a consultant to Tesseract in technical, business development and strategic roles. Bill’s education came from Princeton University and the Wharton School of Business. His 4 decades of in-space propulsion encompasses monopropellant, bipropellant and electric thrusters. He has been a key part of start-up, small and large companies with a recent focus on green propulsion solutions for the new generation of satellites.