Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards is a space entrepreneur and futurist. He is a Co-Founder of the International Space University, Singularity University, SEDS, the Space Generation Foundation and Moon Express, where he currently serves as CEO.
As Director of the Optech Space Division from 2002-2009, Bob led the company’s technology into orbit in 2004 and to the surface of Mars in 2008 aboard the NASA Phoenix Lander, making the first discovery of falling Martian snow.
Bob studied aerospace and industrial engineering at Ryerson University; physics and astronomy at the University of Toronto; and space science at Cornell University where he became special assistant to Carl Sagan. In 1987 Bob co-founded the International Space University (ISU); today a global institution with a central campus in Strasbourg, France. While a student in the 1980’s he also co-founded the Space Generation Foundation and the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS).
In 2008 Bob joined Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil and other leading thinkers in the founding of the Singularity University, an institution based at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley dedicated to preparing humanity for accelerating technological change.
Bob is an evangelist of the NewSpace movement and has been a catalyst for a number of commercial space ventures. He is the recipient of a number of international space awards, including the K.E. Tsiolkovski Medal (Russia, 1995), the Space Frontier “Vision to Reality” Award (USA , 1994), the Arthur C. Clarke Commendation (Sri Lanka, 1990) and Aviation & Space Technology Laurel (USA, 1988). He is a contributing author of Blueprint for Space (Smithsonian Institution 1992); Return to the Moon (Apogee Books 2005) and The Farthest Shore (ISU Press 2009).
In 2005 Bob received a Doctorate of Space Achievement (honoris causa) from the International Space University for “distinguished accomplishments in support of humanity’s exploration and use of space.”