Astrobotic hires space industry veterans to help with Griffin lander | Space

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WASHINGTON — As Astrobotic wraps up the investigation into its first lunar lander mission, the company is bringing on experienced industry officials to help with the development of its second, larger lander.

Astrobotic announced March 21 that it hired Steve Clarke as its new vice president of landers and spacecraft and Frank Peri as its director of engineering. It also brought on board Mike Gazarik and Jim Reuter as advisers.

Clarke is a former NASA official who held roles that include serving as deputy associate administrator for exploration in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, overseeing the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program that Astrobotic is a part of. He was most recently director of future architectures at Sierra Space. Peri is a former director of the Safety and Mission Assurance Office at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

John Thornton, chief executive of Astrobotic, said in an interview that the hirings are intended to bring in people with extensive experience to help with the company’s lunar lander sand other projects.

Clarke “understand the CLPS model because he started the CLPS model at NASA,” he said. “He brings a lot of the right kind of talent and skill sets to the company and to the Griffin program in particular.” Griffin is a lunar lander Astrobotic is building that is larger than the Peregrine lander it launched in January.

Thornton said the company hired Peri for his background in safety and mission assurance at NASA Langley. “That’s going to be an area that we’re going to spend some more effort on upgrading here at Astrobotic, and we’re thrilled to have him on board and helping us guide our engineering teams, building a team that’s capable of not just flying successfully once but time and time again.”

Gazarik and Reuter, both former NASA associate administrators for space technology, are the first advisers that the company has publicly announced, although Thornton said many…

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