Monday, September 14, 2015

UTIAS-SFL Mission Manager Grant Bonin Joins Deep Space Industries

          By Glen Strom

The outgoing Grant Bonin. Photo c/o Deep Space Industries.
Another experienced, Canadian trained aerospace engineer has moved to milder climates with greater opportunities. 

Grant Bonin has joined asteroid-mining company Deep Space Industries (DSI) of Moffett Field, California, as chief engineer.

Mr. Bonin had been the manager of satellite missions at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) Space Flight Laboratory (SFL). In his new role at DSI, he will lead the development of new space systems and technologies for both the company's satellite customers, and for DSI's long-term plan to mine asteroids. 

As outlined on the UTIAS-SFL website, the organization has contributed to a great many satellite programs over the last decade. These include the Greenhouse Gas Satellite Demonstrator (GHGSat-D), the Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Microsatellite (M3MSat), the Microvariability and Oscillations of STars (MOST) satellite (widely known as the "Humble" space telescope) the NORSAT-1 micro-satellite (hailed in Norway as its "first scientific satellite"), the various AISAT's and the CAN-X program of micro-satellites and quite a number of others. 

As outlined on the September 9th, 2015 DSI press release, "Respected Nanosat Leader Joins Asteroid Mining Team," Mr. Bonin's has experience managing "11 successful spacecraft in Earth orbit." These include "the SFL’s highly successful CanX-4&5 mission, which demonstrated sub-meter autonomous formation flight on orbit. Grant (Bonin) also assisted with SFL’s business development activities and the design of new mission concepts, and leading all propulsion R&D activities."

A screenshot from the DSI website showing the sort of projects the company is attempting to generate. As outlined on the website, DSI  is "changing the economics of the space industry by providing the technical resources, capabilities and system integration required to prospect for, harvest, process, manufacture and market in-space resources. These resources, found on easily accessible near earth asteroids,  will provide unlimited energy and supplies for a growing space economy." Graphic c/o DSI.

Grant is the perfect person to lead our team on this monumental effort,” said Daniel Faber, another ex-Canadian who is currently the CEO of DSI. According to Faber, Mr. Bonin "brings a level of experience and a reputation for cutting edge spacecraft innovation and he will not only help us complete a resource assessment of an asteroid before 2020, but also assist the company to develop a new suite of space systems and technologies for DSI’s satellite customers along the way.”

Glen Strom.
Although Mr. Bonin's departure is a loss for Canadian space, we can be confident that bright young minds from programs like UTIAS and other universities in Canada will step up and carry on.
Glen Strom is a freelance writer and editor with a background in business and technical writing. He's also the editor of The Gazette Weekly, the newsletter of the Canadian Space Society.

1 comment:

  1. It is sad that we are seeing another brain drain similar to that experienced post Avro Arrow. All the best and brightest are heading out of country because our government refuses to support space. For Mr Strom to blithely state "we can be confident that bright young minds from programs like UTIAS and other universities in Canada will step up and carry on." is beyond belief, in my mind. Just where does he think these capable minds will go? Is it not odd that ALL of the space mining companies are established in jurisdictions OTHER than Canada? In mining hotbeds such as Austin, San Diego, Seattle and the vine covered slopes of Tuscany, to name a few!


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