David Barnhart is currently CEO and Co-Founder of Arkisys Inc, a Research Professor in the Department of Astronautical Engineering at USC, and the Director/Co-Founder of the USC Space Engineering Research Center at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI).
At Arkisys he is leading a team to break through to true commercial operations in space with a unique scaleable business platform called The Port. Arkisys recognizes best in class companies in key functional areas required to provide a long duration stable platform with manipulation, arrival and departure capabilities, and power/data/control for commercial business to operate in space with no prior experience. The Port provides operational realization for commercial companies to build their business on assembly, manufacturing, new concept test in power/propulsion/pharmaceuticals/biologics, all with the goal to accelerate Global innovation into Space.
At USC David has specialized in developing innovative technologies and architectures for 2nd generation space morphologies, rendezvous and proximity operations technologies/techniques, and hands-on projects with students, faculty and staff through an “engineering teaching hospital” construct. Over 250 students have graduated through the SERC’s hands on training capabilities and every summer hosts US and international student interns. SERC has supported multiple spacecraft engineering efforts including launching USC’s first satellites in its history, technical analysis for global standards development in commercial rendezvous and servicing missions (CONFERS), created a re-usable multi-purpose Lunar Lander prototype project, and building technologies in space robotics and separable interfaces for small satellites to be tested on the ISS in 2023.
David has served as a senior space Project Manager at DARPA, pioneering cellular spacecraft morphologies, satbotics, space robotics and low cost high volume manufacturing on the Phoenix and SeeMe projects. He represented the first DARPA space project at the United Nations COPUOS in Vienna Austria addressing new technology pushing the need for updates to space regulations and policy issues for next generation missions.
David’s entrepuenerial ventures helped initiate two commercial space companies; co-founding and serving as Vice President and CFO for Millennium Space Systems in Los Angeles CA (now a Boeing Co subsidiary); and was the youngest elected member of a three-person international Executive Management board for a German startup in Bremen, Vanguard Space, one of the first companies working commercial spacecraft servicing.
David started his career as a civilian for the Air Force Research Labs spending over 13 years helping to birth several notable innovations in micro-miniature electronic technologies, micro-chemical/electric propulsion systems, some of the first small satellites for remote observations, and the first independent RPO missions. David has a Bachelors from Boston University and Master of Engineering from Virginia Tech both in Aerospace and Ocean engineering. He has published over 60 research papers and articles and speaks on 2nd generation space technologies nationally and internationally.