Payload Pioneers 2023: Halen Mattison

Halen Mattison is helping the space industry gas up—both on Earth and in space—in a greener way.

Mattison, 25, is the CEO and cofounder of a stealth space company that is developing a carbon-neutral fuel for spacecraft on Earth in addition to providing refueling operations on the Moon or Mars that are a key missing piece for long-term exploration of the solar system.  

“I believe space exploration is the greatest opportunity of our time, and climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. I also believe these are not mutually exclusive,” Mattison said. “Developing more efficient, sustainable, and reliable hardware is a common theme of both efforts.”

How he got here: Mattison didn’t have an easy start in the space industry as a “low-income student from a non-traditional background, growing up in a region of the country without considerable aerospace heritage.” Things began looking brighter, however, after his college essay on how the commercial space industry could help life on Earth earned him a full scholarship to North Carolina State.

He went on to intern at SpaceX on the Crew Dragon program, and later worked on Starship’s crew life support system after finishing grad school. While at SpaceX, he spent nights and weekends working on what would become his own company. 

What’s next: Mattison led his company’s pre-seed round as it works towards a demonstration of their renewable fuel generation system.

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