THE HUMANS BEHIND THE MACHINES
At BlackStar Orbital, we are leading the charge in developing advanced space defense systems. Our team of aerospace professionals are focused on redefining what a satellite can do by creating revolutionary, hybrid “spacedrones”. Our staff has worked with organizations such as NASA, SpaceX, and other leading space organizations to create the most advanced commercial space systems available.
Meet Our Founders
President / CEO
Christopher Jannette is a highly accomplished systems engineer and visionary space industry leader serving as the President and CEO of BlackStar Orbital.
A veteran, having served in the U.S Air Force from 2006-2012, Chris has a deep-rooted passion for aerospace. From 2016-2019 he notably served as the Chief Engineer at Ripple Aerospace and was a co-founder of United Frontiers from 2019-2021. His academic background includes an undergraduate degree in Applied Science from Arizona State University and advanced graduate coursework at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab, further solidifying a solid foundation in the field.
Christopher's journey in the aerospace industry most recently concluded with his role as Lead Hypergolic Operations and Systems Engineer at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS). During his tenure, he played a pivotal role in supporting manned spaceflight operations, leveraging his expertise in hypergolic propellants and mission-critical systems. Before taking the helm at BlackStar Orbital, Christopher made significant contributions to cutting-edge space programs. In 2021 he re-joined the SpaceX team, where he contributed to the manufacturing of the Starship Thermal Protection System in Cape Canaveral, FL.
With a distinguished career that has spanned both government and commercial space endeavors, Christopher brings a wealth of experience to the forefront of innovative space exploration.
CTO / Chief Engineer
Kit Carson, the Chief Technology Officer at BlackStar Orbital, boasts an impressive career that spans over two decades in the aerospace industry. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Wichita State University.
Throughout his journey, Kit has consistently demonstrated his prowess in Thermodynamics and Composite Structures, specializing in these critical areas of aerospace engineering. His dedication to innovation and his technical acumen have made him a driving force behind the future of satellite technology and reusable spacecraft.
In addition to his remarkable educational background and technical expertise, Kit's career highlights include pivotal roles in several cutting-edge ventures. He was a crucial early member of the Orbital Assembly Corporation, contributing significantly to the company's pioneering work in space construction and technology.
Today, as CTO at BlackStar Orbital, Kit continues to lead the charge in revolutionizing space exploration. His vision, technical leadership, and extensive industry knowledge position him as an influential figure in the aerospace sector. With a career that also includes founding Ortum Stellar Eo and serving as a Product Manager at Amazon Project Kuiper, Kit Carson is undeniably a driving force for progress in aerospace technology and exploration.
Meet Our Advisors
Technical Advisor - Advanced Spaceflight
Col. Terry Virts, USAF (ret.)
Terry Virts is a highly accomplished astronaut, known for his significant contributions to space exploration and science. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Virts also holds a degree in Mathematics and a Master’s in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His career began in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a fighter pilot and test pilot, accumulating over 4,000 flight hours in more than 40 different aircraft.
Selected by NASA in 2000, Virts became a key member of the astronaut corps. He first flew to space as a pilot of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-130, playing a pivotal role in delivering and installing the Tranquility module and Cupola to the International Space Station (ISS). Later, he served as the Commander of the ISS for Expedition 43, where he was involved in numerous scientific experiments and technology demonstrations. During his time in space, Virts took part in three spacewalks and contributed to vital research that advances our understanding of life in space.
Not just an astronaut, Virts is also a celebrated author and public speaker, sharing his experiences and insights on space exploration and leadership. His photography from space has been widely acclaimed, showcasing the beauty and complexity of Earth and space. Terry Virts’ journey as an astronaut and his contributions to space science have made him an inspirational figure in the field of aerospace and beyond.
Technical Advisor - Vehicle Systems Engineering
Don Platt, PhD.
Professor Donald Platt is a notable figure in the field of space studies, with a diverse background as a scientist, entrepreneur, and educator. He holds a Master’s degree from Florida Tech, where he also pursued doctoral studies at the Human-Centered Design Institute. Platt has served as the director of the Florida Tech Space Systems Master’s Degree program since 1998, demonstrating a longstanding commitment to space education.
His doctoral thesis work focused on human-robot interactions in space exploration, developing a virtual camera concept to aid astronauts in remote planetary exploration.
Recognized for his expertise and dedication, Platt is praised for his extensive knowledge in physics, aerospace engineering, and space systems.
In the realm of entrepreneurship, Platt founded Micro Aerospace Solutions (MAS) Inc. in 2000, a company dedicated to providing consulting and engineering solutions for space and commercial products. Before founding MAS, he worked at Boeing, where he specialized in making propulsion systems smaller.
As an educator, Platt is committed to expanding the reach and scope of the Florida Tech Space Systems Master’s Degree program, with aspirations to grow its international presence and offer it online, reflecting his dedication to advancing commercial and orbital space operations
Meet Our Team
Dedication. Expertise. Passion.
Vice President - Business Development
Member of the Arizona Spaceport Alliance, Masters in Entrepreneurship of Space Systems in a Global Marketplace, University of Nebraska and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Awarded Project Management Certification (PMP) with +1M project.
Elizabeth brings her unique experience and perspective to BlackStar Orbital servcing as a critical team member working to establish an operational foothold in the State of Arizona.
General Council / Executive Strategist
James Wolff is a seasoned
space industry entrepreneur and lawyer based out of New York who has been a founder or cofounder of multiple space companies to include Orbital Assembly Corporation, Deep Space Industries, High Frontier Mining Corporation among others.
James has an active presence volunteering with the United Nations and was recently given a national award as one of America's top lawyers. Attorney and graduate of Johns Hopkins and New York Law School and member of the Space Court Foundation.
Chief Commerce Officer
Formerly a Systems Engineer at Kennedy Space Center, Sean was a critical member of the Artemis team. Seans various roles in the commercial aerospace and online digital services industries allows him to efficiently manage critical workflows and key performance requirements.
Holding a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Central Florida, Sean balances a deep understanding of technical fundamentals and the value driven needs of the spaceflight customer.
Chief Financial Officer
An accomplished accountant with experience in financial operations and process management. Start-up Financial Advisor. He has held executive management roles at The Space Frontier Foundation, Deep Space Industries, Cogworks and Trivium.
Public and Media Affairs
Media relations with AT&T, HBO, Johnnie Walker, Turner Sports, The Atlanta Falcons, Discovery, and Warner Bros. Graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg. 9 years at CNN.
Aerospace engineer with Dragon, Falcon-9, Satellite (GEO + LEO), and UAS experience. SpaceX, Made In Space, Spire Global, Inc, UAV Collaborative, Subsystem Architect Avionics, Aerospace Engineering B.S. with UC San Jose.
In the vast and dynamic realm of space development and exploration, the journey of BlackStar Orbital Technologies Corporation began with a fortuitous encounter among a group of driven individuals. United by a shared passion for innovation, Chris, Kit, and Sean formed a strong bond while working as the American contingent of a Norwegian Space Startup. Their journey of pioneering development in ocean-launched systems eventually led them to cross paths with Terry Virts, a former Astronaut and International Space Station Commander, whose valuable insights into hypersonic technology proved pivotal to their vision.
Drawing upon their diverse backgrounds and expertise, the team embarked on a stealth mission from 2018 to 2023, nurturing a breakthrough in hypersonic technology that would lay the foundation for the BlackStar spaceplane-satellite hybrid. Anchored by their dedication and fueled by a relentless pursuit of excellence, the team emerged from stealth with a transformative spacecraft - the BlackStar.
At the helm of BlackStar Orbital is Chris Jannette, a seasoned lead systems engineer at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, where he manages the hypergolic propellant servicing program and has supported the monumental achievements of various key launch companies, including manned missions. Prior to his role at the Cape, Chris played a pivotal role in SpaceX's Starship program and had a distinguished career in the US Air Force, where he was honored with the humanitarian medal for his squadron's committed response during the 2011 earthquake in Japan and the subsequent disasters that followed in the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. These moments were galvanizing and sparked a commitment to develop technologies which could improve the lives of people. The journey to a better future runs through space technology and it's derivatives, which have the greatest opportunity to impact the maximum number of people possible.
Joining Chris is Kit Carson, our Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, formerly the owner and Principal Engineer of Carson & Associates. Presently a Product Manager and sourcing engineer on Amazon Project Kuiper; Kit is contributing his expertise in shaping the future of satellite communications with an eye towards the future in reusability. Complementing the team is Chris Cunnington, the spaceflight operations manager, whose experience as a lead integration engineer for SpaceX's Dragon program at Area 59 has been invaluable. Chris's extensive background in spacecraft operation, including work with SSL and Redwire, further strengthens the team's capabilities. Elizabeth Christensen, our VP of Business Development is a passionate spaceflight professional with a Masters of Science in Entrepreneur Management in Space Technology from Embry Riddle she also holds a Project Management Professional Certificate.
Our COO James Wolff is a seasoned space industry entrepreneur and lawyer based out of New York who has been a founder or cofunder of multiple space companies to include Orbital Assembly Corporation, Deep Space Industries, High Frontier Mining Corporation among others. He has an active presence volunteering with the United Nations and was recently given a national award as one of America's top lawyers. Paul Fuller, our CFO is currently the lead financial officer at a Silicon Valley based financial services firm that provides financial management for companies in the tech sector.
Rounding out the leadership team is Sean Hollis, the Chief Commercial Officer, who brings a wealth of experience from his role as Director of Operations at an online reputation management firm. Sean's prior experience as an engineer on the Artemis program at the space center has instilled him with invaluable insights into the intricacies of space missions. Finally, we have Phil Hoegel, our Public and Media Affairs lead has over 9 years of experience at CNN.
Guiding and mentoring the team is Terry Virts, the esteemed former Astronaut and International Space Station Commander, who imparts his profound knowledge and experience to train remote operators on the art of flying the BlackStar spacecraft.
At its core, the BlackStar spacecraft is a revolutionary spaceplane-satellite hybrid, designed to seamlessly execute a diverse range of mission functions. From Earth observation, enabling environmental monitoring and weather forecasting, to providing robust communication solutions for both commercial and military applications, the BlackStar is a true game-changer. Its unparalleled technology and reconfigurability render it ideally suited for defense applications, including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and vital support for military operations.
Beyond its defense capabilities, the BlackStar Satellite is an invaluable asset for scientific research, contributing to vital studies on Earth's climate, atmosphere, ocean floor mapping, and celestial body exploration. Additionally, its commercial potential is boundless, offering services such as remote sensing for agriculture, forestry, and mining, while providing critical imagery for mapping and navigation applications.
As BlackStar Orbital Technologies Corporation continues to chart its course into the cosmos, the passion, expertise, and vision of its team stands resolute. With the BlackStar Satellite poised to redefine the boundaries of space exploration, BlackStar Orbital embraces its mission to revolutionize access to space and usher in a new era of discovery and utilization.
Inquiries and partnerships are welcome as we embark on this extraordinary journey together.