Payload Pioneers 2023: Adam Kall

Adam Kall cofounded Kall Morris, Inc. in 2019 at the age of 23 because he knew the old way of cleaning up space wouldn’t cut it.

“I started KMI with an attitude of ‘We can’t wait for the way things have been done,’ as the company is focused on solving debris—and that problem is increasing exponentially,” said Kall, who is now 27 years old and the director of science at the company.

KMI is developing a spacecraft with octopus-like tentacles that will be able to collect and dispose of multiple pieces of debris during a single mission. The startup will demonstrate the technology in microgravity aboard the ISS next year under a contract awarded in June by CASIS, which manages the national lab aboard the space station.

The company also won a Space Force contract this year to test its TumblEye system, which can determine how a piece of debris is spinning and allow it to be captured.

Diversity matters: Kall noted that even in its earliest days, KMI focused on diversity in hiring and that today, women make up 47 percent of its workforce, despite space being a male-dominated field. 

Star light, star bright: KMI was founded in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a remote area characterized by cold temps and dark skies—something that Kall hopes will fascinate the next generation of space innovators. 

“I’ve taken time to volunteer at the local middle schools, high schools, and universities to talk about space and use my telescope to inspire the next generation to want to explore,” he said.

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