To support the technical and scientific components of the project, we have enlisted some of the space industry’s most seasoned experts to serve on two advisory groups. They are helping to ensure the mission meets the highest scientific and technical standards.
Tony Fadell is an active investor and entrepreneur with a 30+ year history of founding companies and designing products that improve people’s lives. He is the Principal at Future Shape, an investment and advisory firm coaching currently coaching over 300 deep-tech startups innovating game-changing technologies. He is also the founder and former CEO of Nest, the company that pioneered the “Internet of Things.” Tony was the SVP of Apple’s iPod Division and led the team that created the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone. Throughout his career Tony has authored more than 300 patents.
The Technical Advisory Group is focused on the design and fabrication of the overall MethaneSAT observatory.
Bryn brings 40 years of experience in high-tech development to the MethaneSat team. In his most recent role, he served as System Architect at Lockheed Martin Space where he developed conceptual designs for new space systems and executed advanced design studies. Previous roles included Program Manager, Chief Engineer, and Director of Software Engineering as well as serving as the Director of Systems Engineering for Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Programs.
Jim Austin was lead engineer on numerous spacecraft and space science instrument projects as a materials and processes engineer, and a contamination control engineer during 38 years at Ball Aerospace. He has also consulted with Skybox Imaging and Arizona State University. His background includes optical thin film technology, graphite fiber composite materials and adhesives technology.
Steve is a graduate of the University of Michigan with 42 years of experience as a system engineer, designer and manager for NASA and DOD space projects. He is well known within the space community for his science and engineering leadership related to the development of unique electronic systems and scientific space instruments for Earth observing, planetary geochemistry, space physics and astrophysics applications. President of Battel Engineering since 1990, Steve is also an Adjust Clinical Professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Climate and Space at the University of Michigan. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Jonny leads hardware development for Lyft’s driverless car program, after heading up hardware system development at Google's mapping division, Geo. Before that he spent seven years as Chief Engineer of Skybox Imaging, where he helped develop the first VC-funded NewSpace startup into an organization with the world’s largest constellation of high-resolution Earth Remote Sensing satellites. Prior to Skybox, Jonny spent five years doing fundamental research on rocket propulsion technologies.
Dr. Charles Elachi
Dr. Charles Elachi is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology. From 2001 to 2016, he served as Vice President of Caltech and Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory , overseeing over 45 flight missions and instrument development projects. He was principal investigator on numerous NASA-sponsored studies and flight projects including the Shuttle Imaging Radar series, the Magellan Imaging Radar; the Cassini Titan Radar; and a Co-Investigator on the Europa Sounding Radar.
John R. Frank
An entrepreneur and theoretical physicist, John is Vice President of Collaborative AI at Salesforce National Security, where he leads a team of software engineers creating information retrieval algorithms and a team of intelligence analysts that embed with customers. He has 15 years’ experience as facility security officer at startups with DOD top secret facilities clearances and has led three IT systems through NIST 800-53 accreditations for government customers. In 1999, John founded MetaCarta, which pioneered map-based search and was acquired by Nokia in 2010. John served as Chief Architect for Search at Nokia until 2012, when he founded Diffeo, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2019.
Dr. Darren Garber
Darren has over 25 years of space experience spanning traditional Class A programs to commercial New Space small satellites. Darren started his career at TRW as part of the trajectory section and now as a consultant continues to support the design, development and operations of challenging space missions. He has directly supported over 36 successful missions providing pre-launch orbit analysis through to director of mission operations.
Dennis Hewitt worked for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), contributing to the design, analysis, and testing of many spacecraft and instrument projects. Positions included Head of Thermal /Contamination Engineering Branch; Observatory Manager for the X-Ray Timing Explorer; and lead thermal engineer on numerous NASA Projects.
Since retiring from GSFC he has consulted for Bay Engineering Innovations, Inc., providing systems, thermal engineering and project management support. Most recently, he has supported the GSFC Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS2) systems team.
Dr. Andy Hock
Andy is a technical product leader with more than 20 years of experience building extraordinary products and teams based on ambitious scientific research and engineering. He is the Vice President and head of Product at Cerebras Systems, where his team is building a revolutionary new computer system to accelerate artificial intelligence. Previously, Andy was a Product Manager lead for geospatial data platform and analytics at Google, Senior Director for advanced technologies at Skybox Imaging, and a Senior Scientist and Program Manager working on remote sensing image and signal processing at Arete Associates.
Shaunak works as a Principal Software Engineer at Elastic, helping build their data ingestion products. Previously, he worked at Skybox Imaging, leading the back-end ground systems team responsible for command-and-control and algorithmic tasking of Skybox’s satellites. Additionally, Shaunak has held engineering roles at Code for America (2013 Fellow), Yahoo! (Tech, Music, and News teams), Netflix (Open APIs team), and Rackspace (Developer Experience team).
Mark Lankton has over forty years of hands-on experience as an engineer and manager on space science projects. During his career at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics he built instruments that traveled to every planet in the solar system and to the moon. He has been a member of the Standing Review Board for the Emirates Mars Mission and has chaired reviews of many space flight science instruments.
Dr. Dan McCleese
Dan is an atmospheric scientist and founder of Synoptic Science, a space science and mission formulation consultancy. Previously, he was Chief Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Concurrently, he was Director of JPL’s Innovation Foundry. Dan was also Principal Investigator for the Mars Climate Sounder onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. As Chief Scientist for JPL’s Mars Exploration Directorate, he was a principal architect for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.
William retired from Lockheed Martin in 2011, where he helped design DigitalGlobe's WorldView 4 imaging satellite. At Lockheed, Bill worked in Attitude Control Systems (ACS) and Systems Engineering for Hubble Space Telescope, Special Programs, Iridium, Ikonos (world’s first commercial imaging satellite), SBIRS and P909.
Dr. Maxime Rizzo
Maxime is an Instrument Systems Engineer for the WFIRST flagship telescope, a wide-field near-infrared imager and spectrometer. Previously, he worked on a visible-light Integral Field Spectrograph for NASA’s WFIRST Coronagraph Instrument, dedicated to the detection and characterization of exoplanets.
Dirk Robinson works at the intersection of imaging, machine learning, and global-scale software engineering. He leads software engineering teams building the Google Maps platform. He previously worked on design and building of the imaging systems for Skybox. Before that, Dirk lead a computation imaging R&D team designing imaging products for Ricoh.
Barry owns Hoku Akamai LLC, a science and engineering consulting and technical services firm. He is an expert in imaging system design and fabrication, specifically high-performance optical and infrared detectors and focal plane arrays (FPAs). From 2003 to 2018, he was a Senior Engineering Fellow at Raytheon. Previously, Barry worked on optical and infrared FPA development and characterization for Canada France Hawaii Telescope and the US National Optical Astronomical Observatories (NOAO).
Dr. Ion Yadigaroglu
Ion is Managing Partner at Capricorn Investment Group, and an early investor in technology companies including Tesla, SpaceX, Planet, QuantumScape and Saildrone. Previously, Ion was a Director with Koch Industries, executing a range of acquisitions and investments. Before that, he was a founder and CEO of the software startup Bivio, and the second employee of the foreign exchange analytics company Olsen & Associates.
The Science Advisory Group provides guidance on MethaneSAT’s advanced methane measurement capabilities and data analysis.
Dr. Dan McCleese
Dan is an atmospheric scientist and founder of Synoptic Science, a space science and mission formulation consultancy. Previously, he was Chief Scientist NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Concurrently, he was Director of JPL’s Innovation Foundry. Dan was also Principal Investigator for the Mars Climate Sounder onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. As Chief Scientist for JPL’s Mars Exploration Directorate, he was a principal architect for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.
Prof. Dr. Ilse Aben
Ilse is senior scientist in the Earth Science Group at the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research and co-Principal Investigator on the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI), an instrument on board ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite. She is an expert on remote sensing of the Earth’s Carbon cycle and shortwave infrared imagery.
Dr. Andre Butz
Dr. Andre Butz heads the Atmospheric Physics branch of the Institute of Environmental Physics at the University of Heidelberg. They explore the gaseous and particulate composition of the Earth's atmosphere with a focus on the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide. They use and develop spectroscopic sensing techniques enabling accurate measurement of greenhouse gas concentrations from satellites and ground-based platforms.
Dr. Brian Connor
Brian leads BC Scientific Consulting LLC in Wellington, New Zealand, and is a senior advisor for the NZ-based MethaneSAT science team. He is an atmospheric scientist specializing in data retrieval algorithm development and uncertainty assessment for remote spectroscopic measurements of atmospheric constituents. Brian played a leading role in these areas for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2). He is also the founder of Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) in New Zealand.
Dr. Christian Frankenberg
Christian is Professor of Environmental Science & Engineering at the California Institute of Technology and Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He has over 10 years’ experience in methane remote sensing from space and aircraft, and developed retrieval algorithms enabling the first global observations of total column methane from space.
Dr. Daniel Jacob
Daniel is the Vasco McCoy Family Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering at Harvard University, and Faculty Associate at the Harvard Center for the Environment. His research covers a wide range of topics in atmospheric chemistry, from air quality to biogeochemical cycles and climate change. He leads the development and management of the GEOS-Chem global 3-D model of atmospheric composition used by over 200 research groups around the world. He has served as Mission Scientist on eight NASA aircraft missions.
Dr. Julia Marshall
Julia is a Research Scientist and Leader of Satellite-based Remote Sensing of Greenhouse Gases Group at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry. The focus of her research is fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane using satellite measurements, and efforts to harmonize flux estimates based on satellite- and surface-based measurements.
Dr. Paul Wennberg
Paul is Director of The Linde Center for Global Environmental Science at the California Institute of Technology. He created the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) to measure the distribution of greenhouse gases across the globe, and is a co-Investigator on NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite. He studies atmospheric photochemistry and the terrestrial carbon cycle.