S Astrobotic selects space industry veteran as mission director

Astrobotic, which is building a service to make the moon accessible to the world, has named Sharad Bhaskaran as mission director, the company said.

A nationwide search was conducted for the new position and Bhaskaran stood out as a clear fit to lead the team, with 25 years of experience at Lockheed Martin successfully developing and managing payload projects for spaceflight applications.

Bhaskaran started his career at Lockheed Martin in 1989 as a payload systems engineer, where he performed spacelab payload structural analysis for three integrated racks that flew and operated on shuttle missions SLS-1 and SLS-2. In addition, he led negotiation and testing of more than 30 U.S. payloads onto the Mir Space Station.

When the Mir program concluded, he supported the International Space Station (ISS) human research facility in various project and leadership roles, contributing to successful launch and operation of the system on ISS. He would go on to contribute as a prime technical volume writer for the winning Bioastronautics proposal, worth more than USD1.0 billion to the prime contractor. On Bioastronautics he became the Lockheed Martin department manager for systems integration & development, developing and managing payload concepts for ISS science and operations support.

Bhaskaran rounded out his career with Lockheed Martin when he was selected by his business unit to take over as program manager for the West Coast portfolio, which included the USD300 million NASA Ames Research Center programs and projects engineering and science services contract and shuttle operations support contracts at Armstrong Flight Research Facility and White Sands Space Harbor.

Astrobotic Technology is a lunar logistics company that delivers payloads to the moon for companies, governments, universities, nonprofits and individuals. The company´s spacecraft accommodates multiple customers on a single flight, offering lunar delivery at an industry-defining price of USD1.2 million per kilogram. Astrobotic is a partner with NASA through a space act agreement under the Lunar CATALYST program, and has 21 prior and ongoing NASA contracts.