Google Lunar XPRIZE is privileged to work with an expert set of judges who will ensure a fair and rigorous competition. Their professional insight will be imperative as we look to award teams who have successfully demonstrated innovative solutions that will advance essential lunar exploration technologies.
David Swanson, CHAIRMAN (U.S.)
As Orbital Sciences Corporation's Senior Director of Safety and Mission Assurance, David brings to the panel a strong understanding of successful space mission systems. After nearly 25 years of commissioned service in the U.S. Air Force, David retired out of the Space and Missile Systems Center as its Director of Engineering. His space experience includes space system development, operations, procurement, education, surveillance and senior leadership. David's education started with a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Illinois University in 1986. He currently holds Master's degrees from Air University in Military Arts & Sciences, the University of Colorado in Electrical Engineering, and the Air Force Institute of Technology in Operations Research in Space Operations. Orbital Sciences Corporation is aware of David's participation but has no affiliation with or responsibility in the Google Lunar XPRIZE Program.
Professor Alan Wells, VICE CHAIRMAN (U.K.)
Emeritus Professor at the UK’s University of Leicester and Founding Director of that University’s Space Research Centre, Alan has worked on ten space missions in space astrophysics, planetary science and earth observation. Highlights included NASA's SWIFT mission to observe gamma ray bursts, for which he was U.K. Lead Investigator for the X-ray Telescope and also Co-Science Operations Director post launch. He has participated in and chaired numerous critical project reviews for space science and exploration missions. His long career has involved close collaboration with international space agencies, serving on numerous committees and boards, as well as extensive teaching and research. He has received three achievement awards from NASA, two from ESA and the 2013 Sir Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award for services to space.
Elisabeth Morse, VICE CHAIRWOMAN (U.S.)
A space flight systems engineer, Elisabeth has worked on multiple planetary science missions from the proposal phase to the verification phase, including accommodation of science instruments and cameras on the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) Rover. She has recently been working as an independent reviewer for technical, management and risk issues for NASA, the FAA and the private sector. She holds a Master’s of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and an Engineer's degree from Ecole Polytechnique in France with a Physics major.
Bérengère Houdou (EU)
Head of the Lunar Exploration Office at the European Space Agency (ESA), Bérengère Houdou is responsible for the development of European capabilities for lunar landing missions and manages the related technological, scientific and mission activities. She has worked as a system engineer on various projects for human and robotic spaceflight at ESA, covering technology development, in-flight demonstration and end-to-end mission design. She graduated from Supélec France in Electrical Engineering and holds a Master of Science from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics. ESA, while supporting Bérengère's participation, has no affiliation with the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
John Jay Kurtz (U.S.)
An Engineering Manager at General Dynamics Robotic Systems, John has directed numerous advanced robotics technology programs. His expertise includes assessing performance requirements of camera and video systems for robotics applications including autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance. He holds an ASCS degree in computer systems and a Master’s degree in systems engineering, both from George Washington University.
Dr. Derek Lang (U.S.)
A space industry consultant with experience in technical and programmatic issues for satellites, launch vehicles satellites, government regulations and policy, Derek has held important roles related to a number of U.S. launch vehicles and in small startups. He has had extensive dealings in the international environment, including launches and mission integration with Russians and Europeans and spacecraft development with the Middle East and Asia. He holds a PhD in Aero/Astro Engineering from the University of Washington, and a Master’s of Science in Aero/Astro Engineering from Stanford.
Dr. Charles Reynerson (U.S.)
Dr. Reynerson has a long track record of working in technical and project management roles on advanced space projects for NASA, DoD, NRO, Boeing, Ball Aerospace and DigitalGlobe. He was designated as an Associate Technical Fellow at Boeing, Chief Engineer for the Orbital Express Program at Ball, and an Engineering Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy. His areas of specialization include spacecraft attitude & orbital control, power subsystem, command and data handling subsystem, communications subsystem, trajectory and landing analysis, system design and analysis, system engineering, and test verification. He has participated in all phases of space mission development from feasibility studies to mission operations. He holds a Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.) in Mechanical Engineering from George Washington University, two Advanced Professional Engineer degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics and Naval Engineering from MIT, a Masters of Engineering degree in Embedded Systems from Arizona State University, and a B.S. degree from U.C. Berkeley.
Derek Webber (U.S.)
Derek Webber is the former Head of Procurement at the international satellite mobile communications operator, Inmarsat, where he was responsible for acquiring around $2 billion of satellites and launch vehicles. He is a former satellite and launch vehicle design engineer, and was Managing Director for the European operation of Tachyon, a U.S.-based satellite broadband provider. He is currently Executive Director of Spaceport Associates, where for over a decade he has been a strong advocate for space tourism, specializing in developing business cases and regulatory requirements, and demonstrating how commercial human spaceflight can contribute to space exploration development. He is author of the book “The Wright Stuff: the Century of Effort Behind your Ticket to Space”, providing a parallel history of aviation and rocketry, and has served as a docent at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. He has joint U.S./U.K. nationality and holds a BS in Physics/Math, as well as postgraduate qualifications in Management, Space Studies, and Accounting and Finance.
Professor John Zarnecki (U.K.)
A Director at the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland, and Emeritus professor at the U.K.’s Open University, he also holds a part-time Chair at the Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics. He has over 30 years of experience of world-leading space research, including developing instrumentation for the Hubble Space Telescope, the Giotto mission that flew past Halley’s comet in 1985, and the Cassini/Huygens mission to the Saturnian system. For the Huygens probe, he led the team that provided one of the scientific instruments that landed on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. He has also served as Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society. Asteroid 17920 was officially named after him in recognition of his contribution to space research.