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Judges

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.

Professor Alan Wells, 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.

Craig Peterson, VICE CHAIRMAN (U.S.)

 

An employee at Elite Aviation Products, Craig previously worked for Boeing on the Space Shuttle, Space Shuttle-Mir, Shuttle-International Space Station, Sea Launch, and Land Launch programs in varying management capacities. His professional background includes a long history in of managing multinational Engineering and Operations teams for launch services under both US and Russian regulatory regimes.  He has worked on 18 Sea Launch campaigns as mission manager for most and managed 3 Land Launch campaigns, and had worked integrating payloads into the shuttle bay on over 60 Space Shuttle missions.  Craig holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Sciences from the University of California, Irvine.

Derek Webber, VICE CHAIRMAN (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 Founder 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.

Elisabeth Morse (U.S.)

 

Elisabeth is a senior member of the Space Systems Group at Orbital ATK working on concept development and Systems Engineering process improvements.  A space flight systems engineer with years of experience at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), she 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. Her experience also includes independent consulting 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 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an Engineer's degree from Ecole Polytechnique in France with a Physics major.    

Jeff Hoffman (U.S.)

 

Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman is a professor in MIT’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department. He received a BA in Astronomy (summa cum laude) from Amherst College (1966); a PhD in Astrophysics from Harvard University (1971); and an MSc in Materials Science from Rice University (1988). As a NASA astronaut (1978-1997) Dr. Hoffman made five space flights, becoming the first astronaut to log 1000 hours of flight time aboard the Space Shuttle. He was a member of the spacewalking team that repaired the optics of the Hubble Space Telescope. His primary research interests are in improving the technology of space suits and designing innovative space systems for human and robotic space exploration. He is Deputy Principal Investigator of the MOXIE experiment on the Mars2020 rover. MOXIE will for the first time produce oxygen on the surface of Mars using local Mars resources. Dr. Hoffman is director of the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium. In 2007, Dr. Hoffman was elected to the US Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Bérengère Houdou (France)

 

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.

Professor John Zarnecki (U.K.)

 

President of the Royal Astronomical Society and Emeritus professor at the U.K.’s Open University. 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.

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