“I grew up watching the Viking landing on Mars. I loved space, but I never wanted to be an astronaut.”
Dr. Robert Kursinski is the co-founder and Chief Scientist, PlanetiQ. As a quintessential “idea guy” his principal responsibilities include guiding and conceptualizing PlanetiQ’s next generation systems and technology. His overarching goal for PlanetiQ is to build a small, nimble environment where great minds have the freedom to build cutting edge tech, get it up into space, and start working with the data, in real world applications, to further intellectual understanding and combat climate change.
Before Rob started PlanetiQ, he worked as the Chief Scientist at Moog Broad Reach Engineering where he met and worked closely with co-founder Chris McCormick. Prior to that, he was an Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Associate Professor of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona, where he conceptualized, developed and built a successful prototype of the ATOMMS (Active Temperature, Ozone and Moisture Microwave Spectrometer) system.
Earlier in his career, Rob served as a Systems Engineer for GPS Radio Occultation Receiver development, then as a primary Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology. His most significant accomplishment there was his work on the Mars Atmosphere Climate Observatory mission – a weather prediction, communications, and navigation system that could someday make it possible to land people on Mars.
His experience and holistic approach to research have resulted in a long and impressive list of published scientific papers. He has also earned a host of awards and accolades that recognize his innovations in GPS Occultation Analysis systems, radio systems, atmospheric profiling, and GPS Earth Observatory Mission Ops and Data Analysis.
Rob earned his Masters in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California and his Ph.D. in Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology, where he was nominated for the Klauser prize for Best Thesis. Losing his home to the most destructive fire in Colorado history (driven by unusually dry weather and high winds) has only deepened his conviction to actively fight climate change. He hopes that he can leave the world a better place than he found it. In addition to his engineering and science degrees, he also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory, inspired by his father who was a professional musician.
Board of Directors
Chris McCormick, Chairman
George Ugras, PhD
Managing Director, AV8 Ventures
Partner, New Science Ventures
Principal, Valo Ventures