Space company Kepler Communications has announced that Stephen (Steve) Bennett will be joining the company as Chief Operating Officer, effective September 20th.
This key executive hire follows closely behind Kepler’s successful Series B round, announced in June of 2021. At that time, Kepler announced that the funding would advance the company mission of delivering connectivity to other satellites and on-orbit assets, specifically identifying the start of Kepler’s GEN2 satellite program. The formation of a second international subsidiary, Kepler Communications US Inc., was also highlighted.
Steve Bennett is an aerospace industry veteran whose most recent role as SVP with Blue Origin saw him leading the team working on the New Shepherd program. He possesses an extensive track record showcasing successful aerospace programs. Prior to Blue Origin, Steve was VP and GM at L3Harris, where he had overall responsibility for critical programs ranging from autonomous systems to radar platforms for some of the most demanding customers in the world.
Steve spent over 14 years with Raytheon, progressing from his initial role as Chief Engineer through a series of roles and programs to ultimately take on the role of Executive Director and President of the Raytheon KTech group in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Possessing a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Arizona, Steve has demonstrated he can assemble successful programs and teams to deliver against challenging corporate objectives.
“Kepler continues to aggressively execute against our plan and Mission, and the rate of growth will continue to ramp,” Kepler CEO and Co-Founder, Mina Summitry, said. “With all activities fueled by our recent Series B, now is the appropriate time to bring on a senior leader of Steve’s caliber. The coming weeks and months will continue to see Kepler scale to the next level, and we look forward to benefiting from Steve’s expertise and experience.”
Commenting on his decision to join Kepler, Steve said, “The opportunity to join Kepler as this point in their journey speaks to me on multiple levels. The goal of delivering a LEO network that will provide real-time connectivity to other orbital missions is a bold one, but one that this team has demonstrated they are on track to achieve. While many other companies in the sector have struggled, Kepler has achieved a remarkable amount in a short amount of time, with a solid technical and economical approach. The challenge ahead is to scale effectively and deliver not only a world class technical solution, but also a world class customer experience. I believe my experience and passion for solving these types of challenges will help the team do just that.”
At a recent trade industry event, Kepler unveiled Aether, the name the company has given to their orbital connectivity service. With Aether, Kepler will solve one of the key challenges LEO missions face, that being limited or irregular connectivity with the ground. Without a consistent link, other operators must contend with the ongoing risk that the data they generate or collect is dated and stale by the time it is able to be relayed to Earth.
There is an ever-present risk that the operation of their asset may be put at risk due to situations they may learn about – and thus be able to respond to – too late. By providing a consistent and direct link to satellites and other stations, Kepler’s Aether service provides an important new service to the space community, while opening up a new market for Kepler’s satellite technology.
“Aether is the embodiment of Kepler’s primary mission, which is providing in -space connectivity.” Wen Cheng Chong, Kepler’s CTO and Co-Founder, said. “As such, there is nothing more important to the su,cess of Kepler than delivering on this mission. I look forward to Steve’s arrival and leveraging his previous successes to accomplish our goals. But more importantly, I look forward to working with Steve and our Team to deliver Aether to fellow space enterprises and directly helping them achieve their missions.”
Kepler is a satellite telecommunications provider based in Toronto, Canada, and is backed by Tribe Capital, Canaan, Addition Capital, Costanoa Ventures, IA Ventures and other leading investors. Kepler’s mission is to bring the Internet outside of Earth. To this end, Kepler is building an in-space telecommunications network through an incremental deployment of products and technologies. The first to launch and operate a Ku-band satellite service in Low Earth Orbit, Kepler has expanded its capabilities with the successful launch of 15 satellites in their constellation and the commissioning of a satellite production facility at their Toronto headquarters.