This episode will highlight breakthroughs from leading space system manufacturers in building autonomous robots that inspect, service, assemble, build, and refuel in orbit. Speakers will explain advances in additive manufacturing, share lessons learned from major in-space demonstrations, and outline demand for commercially built robotics.

60-minute webinar
Thursday, August 1, 2024 · 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (US & Canada) (GMT -4:00)
Jeffrey Hill
Executive Editor, Via Satellite
Al Tadros
Chief Technology Officer, Redwire
Al Tadros is the Chief Technology Officer of Redwire. In this role, he is focused on making strategic investments that support Redwire’s customers, advancing technology development and commercialization, and maintaining a nimble and collaborative technical culture. With three decades of experience in space systems engineering and as an aerospace executive, Al is a thought leader in AI-enabled autonomy, machine vision, rendezvous and proximity operations, and robotics. He has a proven track record in maturing satellite and space systems programs for exploration, national security, and commercial missions.

Previously, Al was Chief Growth Officer and Executive Vice President of Space Infrastructure at Redwire. In this role, he oversaw the company’s long-term growth strategy and business development activities, and was responsible for advancing development, increasing adoption, and building momentum for Redwire’s mission-enabling capabilities.

Prior to Redwire, he served as Vice President of Space Infrastructure and Civil Space at Maxar Technologies, where he led significant innovation in next-generation spacecraft design and space infrastructure, integrating robotics and in-space satellite manufacturing, servicing, and assembly capabilities. Over the course of his career at Maxar, Al contributed to 13 missions and launch campaigns, many of which deployed cutting-edge communications and remote sensing systems. Al has worked with both commercial enterprises and government agencies to develop space systems for communications, satellite servicing, remote sensing, and exploration.

Al leads Redwire’s involvement in Stanford University’s Center for AEroSpace Autonomy Research (CAESAR), which is working to advance autonomous reasoning capabilities in space with artificial intelligence and machine vision. As an authority in robotics, Al also holds patents in the field of attitude control systems and was responsible for early telerobotics research for the International Space Station.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Holly Johnson
Vice President of Robotics and Space Operations (RSO), MDA Space
Holly Johnson is the Vice President of Robotics and Space Operations (RSO) at MDA Space, Canada’s leading space company that has provided robotic technology and operational support for space missions including Space Shuttle, International Space Station (ISS), and now Gateway in lunar orbit.

In her role, Holly has overall responsibility for the RSO business area, which includes strategy, business development, and delivery of in-space robotic technologies for the global space market. The RSO business has experienced tremendous growth under Holly’s leadership, more than doubling in size as it scales to complete key developments such as Canadarm3 for the NASA-led Artemis program, and a variety of emerging commercial space projects.
Kevin Smith
Chief Engineer, Orbit Fab
Kevin Smith is an engineer with a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduation he worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Utah with a focus in thermal and fluid systems specializing in Renewable Energy. After that he joined AVOX Systems (Now a part of Safran) as an Oxygen System Design Engineer specializing in the design of gaseous oxygen equipment for aircraft. He then moved to Moog Space and Defense where he spent 5 years in various roles of Design, Business Development and Project Execution on a variety of propulsion systems and types of propulsion components including solenoid valves, torque motor valves, ball valves, poppet valves, window valves and fill/drain valves for all propellant types. He also worked on Bipropellant thrusters as well as full propulsion systems including filters, measurement equipment, and propellant/pressurant tanks. He then joined Astrobotic as a Senior Propulsion Engineer working engine development and propulsion systems for the Peregrine and Griffin missions. Since summer 2023 he has led the engineering department at Orbit Fab as the Chief Engineer. He steered RAFTI to a successful qualification in March 2024 and will continue to push the state of the art in space refueling technology forward as they progress to in orbit fuel transfer demonstrations in 2026.
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