Meet our Team

ExoTerra specializes in developing and optimizing solar electric propulsion systems. In addition to our own Courier system and Halo thruster, we have worked on SEP systems such as the Asteroid Redirect Mission, Mars Aerosol Tracker, Agile Inspector and the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter. Beyond SEP systems, we have a broad background with operational spacecraft. Our team has worked programs including Mars Exploration Rover, Mars Global Surveyor, Orion, Dream Chaser, Osiris-Rx, GOES-R, Genesis, XSS-11, Stardust, Space Shuttle Main Engines and Atlas. We have held contracts with NASA, Lockheed, Sierra Nevada, and the Air Force.

Owner / President

Mr. Michael VanWoerkom founded ExoTerra in 2011. Since then, he has grown the company to a team of over 40 engineers, and led dozens of NASA, Air Force and Commercial contracts related to solar electric propulsion and in-situ resource utilization. This includes serving as the Principal Investigator for the Asteroid Redirect Mission Study, as a NASA Fellow for our NASA Innovative Advanced Concept project (NIMPH), and as the lead electric propulsion engineer for our Halo thruster. Prior to founding the company, he spent 14 years at Lockheed Martin, where he was awarded over a dozen performance awards, including a Nova Award and Stellar Award. He was part of the original Orion proposal team and served as the Mechanical Manager for the Orion Crew Module for 6 years. Prior to Orion, he was the Structures Certified Principal Engineer for both the Genesis and XSS-11 missions, and was the Spacecraft Architect for Lockheed’s Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter proposal, a nuclear electric propulsion mission to 3 of Jupiter’s moons. Mr. VanWoerkom holds 3 degrees: a BSME from Calvin University, a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering focused on advanced propulsion from the University of Michigan, and an MBA with an entrepreneuring focus from the University of Colorado.