Research Professor of Astronautics
University of Southern California / Information Sciences Institute
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 1001
Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695
Research Interests: Spacecraft design, bus architecture, mission concepts and testing.
David Barnhart has over 27 years of direct spacecraft and space mission project management experience. His experience in Industry, Government and academia has spanned spacecraft and technology development, upper stage build, and launching spacecraft on a number of different vehicles including Delta-II, Pegasus and Scout. David was most recently a senior space Project Manager at DARPA, pioneering cellular spacecraft morphologies, “satbotics” and space robotics on the Phoenix and SeeMe projects, presenting the first DARPA space project at the United Nations COPUOS in Vienna, Austria. Prof. He worked with NASA directly on transitioning the SPHERE’s ISS flight operations from MIT to NASA Ames researchers and engineering personnel, and expanded the SPHERE's flight platforms for more advanced testing capabilities. He has extensive industry experience in both traditional and entrepreneurial startups. He helped initiate two commercial space companies; co-founded and served as Vice President and CFO of Millennium Space Systems, which has grown into a sustainable aerospace business with both Government and commercial customers in Los Angeles, CA; and was the youngest elected member of a three-person international Executive Management board for a German startup in Bremen, Vanguard Space. He was the architect for a blue force tracking mission using small satellites for the US DoD, a PM on the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Modular Bus IDIQ contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory which completed a PDR level design for a small satellite bus in 3 months. He helped to create and lead the XSS Small-Satellite Project Series for the Air Force and both the XSS-10 & XSS-11 vehicles successfully flew and fulfilled all their objectives. As a junior engineer he helped to build and operate a unique national test capability that served to perfect and field today's National Theater Missile Defense system. His project management experience has taken him across the globe to direct and manage efforts in the former Soviet Union, Europe, and the Middle East. As Chief of the Air Force Phillips Laboratory Spacecraft Development Branch, David was the key Project Engineer and Program Manager to foster the build and launch of three independent spacecraft within 3 years under the $100 Million MSTI project series. He and his team were also honored at the 25th Anniversary of Apollo 11 for a unique and dramatic demonstration of a miniature lunar lander vehicle that was modified from a high energy weapon system. He is an Associate Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), has served on the Space Systems Technical Committee and is currently serving on the Space Logistics Technical Committee for AIAA.