Our people

Our world-class team

Jaret Matthews
Jaret Matthews
Founder & CEO

Jaret is the founder and CEO of Astrolab and has spent his 20-year career creating revolutionary space systems.  He spent seven years at SpaceX as manager of the Dragon Spacecraft Mechanisms development team where he conceived of and led the development of the novel docking system that the Crew Dragon spacecraft uses to dock to the International Space Station. Prior to SpaceX, Jaret spent a decade in the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) Robotic Vehicles Group designing and operating robots for the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Rius Billing
Technical Fellow

Rius is the Technical Fellow at Astrolab with more than 30 years of space flight project experience and unparalleled experience in Mars robotic and mobility systems. He has been technical lead and/or Chief Engineer on numerous programs to Mars including all of the robotic arms that have operated on the planet’s surface. Across his high-profile NASA and private sector career, Rius has participated in over 20 spaceflight projects including missions to all planets, the Sun’s orbit, asteroids and comets.

Priscila Ayala Udell
Business Operations & Project Management

Priscila specializes in the introduction of new technologies in austere environments, business development and government affairs. She comes to Astrolab from a global business and US government background most recently building frameworks of consent for a multi-national firm in Iraq in support of Fortune 500 clients. Priscila previously served in the US Central Intelligence Agency, working as an operations officer conducting human and technical intelligence operations worldwide.

Andrew Welter
Mechanisms Engineer

Andrew is a Mechanisms Engineer at Astrolab bringing expertise in mechanical design and analysis along with a background in dynamics, robotics and controls.  He spent the last 5 years at SpaceX working on mission-critical flight hardware across a number of projects. He was a key contributor to all facets of the development of the Crew Dragon docking system from the early stages through the first flight demonstration. Andrew was also accountable for the reliability of mechanisms flown on 13 successful Cargo Dragon ISS resupply missions.

Karl Buchka
Avionics Engineer

Karl is an Avionics Engineer at Astrolab with extensive aerospace and robotics experience.  Karl spent the last six years at SpaceX where he worked on every item in the SpaceX product line, from first stage engines to manned spacecraft and satellites. He designed and built fault tolerant avionics in support of Crew Dragon parachute qualification which included record setting balloon flights to the edge of space. He also designed the avionics architecture for the SpaceX recoverable payload fairing and made Go/No-Go calls in mission control for almost a dozen Falcon 9 launches.

Craig Western
Mechanisms Engineer

Craig is a Mechanisms Engineer at Astrolab who combines technical depth in mechanical systems design, cross-disciplinary leadership and demonstrated success in planning and executing field test operations. He joined Astrolab from Kitty Hawk Corporation where he led teams in the engineering of aerodynamic and electromechanical subsystems for all-electric aircraft, including the Project Heaviside eVTOL vehicle. Earlier in his career, Craig worked at SpaceX where he contributed to development of the Crew Dragon vehicle - designing and qualifying hardware for the primary structure and docking system.

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