Startups

Phantom Hires Chris Thompson as CTO

Graphic: Phantom

Phantom Space Corp. said today that longtime space exec Chris Thompson has joined the company as CTO. In the chief technologist role, Thompson will oversee the development of Phantom’s rockets and satellites. Thompson’s résumé, in reverse-chronological order:

  1. Chief engineer of advanced projects at Astra 
  2. VP of advanced programs at Virgin Orbit 
  3. 2nd “official” employee at SpaceX, with the formal title of VP and senior director of structures production development 
  4. Stints at Boeing, McDonnell Douglas (acquired by Boeing), and the US Marines

Phantom 101: The Tucson, AZ company has ambitiously set its sights on becoming the “Henry Ford of space.” Phantom is developing satellites, propulsion systems, and two launch vehicles: Daytona and Laguna.

  • Phantom is targeting 2023 for Daytona’s maiden flight. 
  • In September, Phantom announced a deal worth up to $240 million with Ingenu, an industrial Internet of Things (IoT) provider. Phantom’s side of the bargain: building, integrating, and launching a 72-satellite constellation. 

Why Phantom? “I like the idea of a simple, low-cost two-stage launch system that fills the void left by Falcon 1,” Thompson told Payload. “I like Phantom’s approach of not vertically integrating every aspect of the rocket system, but [leveraging] key suppliers.”

On competition: Asked about launch getting more crowded, Thompson said: “The market has room for additional players. No doubt there will be some consolidations, reductions, and pivots over time.”

SpaceX mafia spread their wings…
“From our work together in the early years of SpaceX, to his innovative leadership at Astra, Chris has repeatedly proven himself to be an invaluable asset with a wealth of knowledge and perspective,” Phantom CEO/cofounder Jim Cantrell said in a statement. 

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