OEMF2017: 3rd OFF EARTH MINING FORUM, 20 - 21 September 2017, UNSW Sydney


Zero Launch Mass Space Pioneering

Tuesday, 19th September 2017
5:45pm for a 6pm start
Leighton Hall, Scientia Building, UNSW Sydney

Part of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Living with 21st Century Technology

Robert P. Mueller
Senior Technologist: Advanced Projects Development
Surface Systems Office
NASA, Kennedy Space Center

Up to this point in time the human race has been engaged in “Space Exploration” which can be defined as travel over new territory for discovery or adventure. In the future, in order to have an affordable, sustainable and safe endeavour, it will be necessary to adopt new “Pioneering” methods that can be described as space travel done for the first time using new methods: living off the land, in order to settle new territories with a permanent human presence. This lecture will discuss the risk posture and safety methods used in Exploration vs. Pioneering and then will identify technologies needed to make in-situ resource utilization a feasible reality in space.

Mr. Rob Mueller is a Senior Technologist for Advanced Products Development at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in the Exploration Research and Technology Programs Directorate. He is the co-founder of the NASA Swamp Works innovation labs and the KSC Granular Mechanics & Regolith Operations (GMRO) Lab. He is also the KSC lead for Autonomous-Robotic Systems involved with In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). Mr. Mueller is a former chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Committee for Regolith Operations, Mobility and Robotics, and former chairman of the ASCE Aerospace Division Executive Committee. He is a member of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space Resources Technical Committee. In 2010, Rob Mueller was the co-founder of the annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition for Universities and continues to this day as the Head Judge for this competition.

Technical expertise includes Robotics, Mechanical Systems Design, Composite Materials, In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), Planetary Outpost Construction, Surface & Ground Operations, Conceptual Systems Design and Mission Architecture Design. He has worked on the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, X-33, Atlas V, Orbital Space Plane, 2nd Generation Reusable Launch Vehicles, Mars Exploration Studies and Lunar Exploration programs.  More recently, Mr. Mueller has been leading the development of technologies required for Planetary Surface Systems including developing the specifics of Lunar, Asteroid and Mars Regolith Excavation, mining and other robotic Surface Support Equipment.

Rob Mueller has worked for NASA at Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Lab.  Mr. Mueller was awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Miami (1988) and a Master (MSSE) of International Space Systems Engineering from the Technical University of Delft (2006), in the Netherlands as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT, 1994).  Mr. Mueller has 28 years of engineering and management experience in the space industry and has been the recipient of numerous NASA awards including the Astronaut’s Personal Achievement “Silver Snoopy” award, a NASA Silver Achievement Medal and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. He has been awarded 4 US patents for new technology inventions.

Robert P. Mueller



AIAA Astronaut Stories 

21 September
6.30pm arrival for 7.00pm start
University of Sydney Abercrombie Business School
Panel Featuring Dr. Sandy Magnus and Dr. Pamela Melroy








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