• Team

    Erik Franks

    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.

    Jeff Gibson

    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.

    Jake Teufert

    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.

    Luke Farrell

    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.

    Devin Kees

    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.

    Isa Peterson

    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.

    Richard Stelling

    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.

    Bill Smith

    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.