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Former DARPA Official Fred Kennedy Creates Space Company to Pursue Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine Development

Fred Kennedy, former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s tactical technology office, has formed a company with the goal of developing nuclear thermal rocket engine technology to support cislunar space programs.

Dark Fission Space Systems aims to work with government and industry partners in efforts to accelerate the on-orbit demonstration of an NTR engine over the next five years, Kennedy wrote in a LinkedIn post published Tuesday.

Kennedy leads the startup company as its CEO. He previously served as president of Momentus (Nasdaq: MNTS) and inaugural director of the Department of Defense’s Space Development Agency.

He formed Dark Fission with Michael Jacox, former vice president of engineering at Space Micro, and Gregory Loboda, principal and owner of Sirius Partners.

Jacox serves as president of Dark Fission. He founded and led StarVision Technologies and served as deputy director of the spacecraft technology center at Texas A&M University. He also led the Air Force Reserch Laboratory’s Solar Bimodal demonstration program.

Loboda is Dark Fission’s chief operating officer. He held leadership roles at Vector Launch, SARA, Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems and Raytheon.

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