phantom space jim cantrell
So began Cantrell’s 18-month adventure with Musk. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture. In the nearly two decades since Cantrell left SpaceX, the company has completely reshaped the space industry, which today is worth $366B a year. “I was particularly interested in the company because of one of its executives, Bob Zubrin. James Cantrell is the founder of Strategic Space Development, a business development consulting firm which deploys over 40 aerospace professionals to help aerospace companies develop capture and bid strategies. The Mars project continued to progress, with Cantrell heading to Latvia in early 1991 to prepare the snake. The resistance was successful and the episode heralded the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire, in a mostly peaceful manner. To complete the mission, Musk decided that he would need cheap Russian rockets, and Bob Zubrin — the former Martin Marrieta executive and Mars-phile — said Cantrell was the man who could deliver the goods. The story that follows tracks Cantrell’s incredible journey through some of America’s most storied space institutions, the fall of the Soviet Empire, and the early days of today’s private space industry. “Since the 1950s, the JPL had built the majority of the US deep space probes to Mars, Mercury, Venus, and the other planets,” he says. “I was in Riga (Latvia) on August 20th, 1991,” Cantrell remembers. In his senior year, Cantrell discovered a new course: Mechanical Engineering 595 (Space Systems Engineering). With no more Soviet threat, defense spending dried up and the aerospace industry saw jobs vanish overnight. , During his tenure at Strategic Space, Cantrell also became involved in the technical and financial development of several startups including Skybox Imaging, Atlas Ground Systems, Iceye, PlanetIQ, York Space Systems, and Black Sky. To navigate the treacherous terrain of the Red Planet, he created the Mars Snake, a 30-foot titanium exoskeleton. The period was very important, Cantrell told us: “It was the birth of citizen-led space efforts pioneered by The Planetary Society, the beginning of US-Russian space cooperation that would lead to the International Space Station (ISS), and the seeds that led to SpaceX.”. “My previous experience served me well during this mission,” he recalls. While the Russian rockets were never procured, Cantrell introduced Musk to many of the space sector’s key players and helped to build out the early SpaceX team.  At JPL, he worked on Mars exploration technologies including Mars Rover and Mars Balloon missions. Cantrell traveled to Moscow and saw “stunning displays of flowers in tank barrels” and — more amazingly — “an abundance of Russian flags” which foreshadowed the nationalist movements that would arise from the ashes of the Soviet empire. This was the voice that had a decisiveness to it.  One of the significant projects undertaken by Strategic Space was the Light Sail project headed by The Planetary Society where Cantrell served as project manager from 2008 through 2012. Moon Express was selected by Forbes as one of the "Names You Should Know" in 2011.
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