Fully reusable launch vehicles

Creating Technologies for the Future of Space Travel


One of the biggest challenges the aerospace industry faces is not exploring space but getting their rockets to space, and back. RocketStar creates and improves rocket engine technologies to accomplish this feat.


The aerospace industry is still using technology that worked in the sixties, in which companies had to throw away the transport to get us to low-earth orbit. So, each time we build a 100-million-dollar rocket, it ends up in the ocean.

Aerospace companies have been trying to change this by working on returning the stages of the rocket they send up. However, as in most industries that strive to expand, these companies are approaching this issue the wrong way. What they need to do is fix the engine and not just the rocket.

Enter the Aerospike Engine!


How Old Engines Affect Flight Success

Companies such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation have amazing rocket designs that work and have great flight records. However, they use old engines that do not account for pressure changes when the altitude changes.

The pressure within the traditional bell nozzle remains constant while the outside pressure changes. This results in loss of thrust, causing existing rocket companies to use multi-stage rockets. They have to ditch the smaller bell nozzle that is effective at ground level for a larger bell nozzle that maintains thrust as they move higher.


Quality That Sets Our Engine Apart

Our engine has no difference in pressure because the combustion chambers are completely open to the outside air. We run the propellant down the sides of a truncated spike so that the plume can expand or contract depending on the pressure. This results in virtually no loss in thrust and 30% more thrust on the launch pad with up to 40% in weight savings.

About Our Team

The heart and soul of RocketStar is our team. We’re a small, focused, talented, and dedicated family of not just scientists but adventurers and explorers who won’t stop until space is truly democratized and open for everyone everywhere!

Christopher Craddock (Founder and CEO)

“I have had a diverse career on Wall Street, from trading bonds at Smith Barney to managing alternative portfolios for a private money management firm. I started my career at Gruntal & Co., attaining my series seven license during the start of the equities bear market. I worked with clients to have them invest in municipal bonds and diversify away from tech-heavy portfolios. I then continued on to Smith Barney to work with an investment group helping clients further diversify their bond portfolio in structured investment vehicles, collateralized debt obligations, and other forms of asset-backed paper.

Seeing the change in the market again, I attained my series 3 license and began my commodities career at a private money management firm dealing in managed futures and alternative investments, such as foreign real estate and sovereign bonds. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Stony Brook University.

I also have been planning man’s return to space for almost the last 20 years and, to that end, have been developing a new type of rocket engine through my company RocketStar and with the engineers at Stony Brook University. Using this technology, rocket companies can build a true single-stage-to-orbit rocket ship and streamline the process such that it becomes as seamless as servicing an airline.

I have the experience, passion, and vision to pull this off. I have been planning this for almost 20 years and have been collecting the necessary technical and business experience to complete a lifelong dream. My 15 years of Wall Street experience will contribute greatly to accessing future capital as well as navigating the complex financial labyrinths that exist in every company.

With a decade of running my own company, I know firsthand the pain of creating, running, and living a startup. My experience is not just paper but the real world, and this will get RocketStar across the line again and again. I hold a BS degree in Physics from Stony Brook University, hence I am a physicist at heart who evaluates things from first principles.”

David Peebler (Chief Marketing Officer)

David J Peebler (“Peebs”) is a veteran marketer with over 30 years of experience in marketing, business strategy and development, communications, branding, event planning, advertising, and public relations. His experience covers a broad swath of industries, including global entertainment, web strategy and development for Fortune 500 companies, publishing, strategic business consulting, and institutional finance.

David graduated from Occidental College with a BA in Anthropology, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Psychology. David is also a master photographer and has a lifelong passion for travel and discovery. He is married with two daughters.

Mike Cassandra (Director of Community Outreach)

Mike Cassandra, 32, originally hails from Upstate South Carolina where he acquired an associate’s degree in Journalism. After nearly a decade of experience in logistics, he finally achieved his dream of moving to New York City in 2013. Returning to his journalism roots, he became the resident tech blogger for The Rockstar Anthropologist, successfully kicking off and managing their social media campaign. Recently, he decided to spend less time covering the news and more time making it, by joining RocketStar as the director of community engagement!

Lee Wooldridge (Lead Engineer)

Lee has over 30 years of experience in designing, building, and testing rocket and missile technology. He also has decades of experience in artificial intelligence, which will be key in creating a reusable rocket that can take off, fly, and land appropriately while maintaining mission integrity.

He has won several government grants with his technical report writing skills and will work along with Don Platt to help RocketStar receive grants and awards. His insight and experience will be key in designing an effective launch platform that will serve our clients in the years to come.

Don Platt (Lead Engineer)

Don Platt has over a decade of experience in dealing with contractors and navigating the bureaucracy of NASA in a timely manner. His company, Micro Aerospace Solutions, has direct access to all of NASA's facilities across the country, and his warehouse and facilities are on base at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, which provides the much needed real estate that we can utilize cheaply and efficiently in the early days of RocketStar.

He has worked on obtaining and has been awarded grants from NASA and the US Air Force. This experience will be extremely useful as we seek to optimize our revenue stream with research grants from NASA and government entities.

Robert Briskman (Advisory Board)

He was the chief technical officer and executive vice president of Engineering of Sirius Satellite Radio since its founding in 1991.

Briskman has been involved with communication satellite systems since their inception. Briskman, the technical innovator of mobile satellite radio services, was responsible for the development, implementation, and operation of Sirius Satellite Radio’s broadcast distribution system. His technology development responsibilities included the design of low-cost satellite receiving terminals for automobiles and of broadcast sound programming, earth station, terrestrial repeaters, and satellite control facilities.

In 2000, Briskman launched three Sirius Satellite Radio satellites, which he designed, into a unique operational orbital constellation. The mobile subscriber radios use his patented space and time diversity technology.

Prior to COMSAT, Inc., Briskman joined the NASA during its founding in 1959. At NASA, Briskman was chief of program support for the Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition. He was involved with the development of ground instrumentation for projects, such as Apollo, Gemini, Ranger, Mariner, and Echo. Briskman received the Apollo Achievement Award from NASA for the design and implementation of the Unified S-Band system.

Before NASA, he was employed by the International Business Machines Corporation in 1954 and worked on the design of the first asynchronous buffer system. After two years of military service as an electronic countermeasures analyst officer, for which he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Briskman was employed by the US Army Security Agency. He was engaged in communications systems development and analysis.

As a founding member of NASA, Briskman has the perspective and the experience that literally makes him a living legend. He worked on the entire Apollo program, and when Neil Armstrong radioed that he was on the Moon, it was with Briskman’s technology that made it possible. His real-world experience in complex systems management, personnel, and all things space related will help RocketStar achieve its myriad of goals as he helps us usher in the next space age. Out of all of us, he is the only one that can claim and prove direct work with Wernher von Braun and the original Mercury Seven. Briskman is an invaluable member of our team.

Dr. Joel Hurowitz (Advisory Board)

Dr. Hurowitz is a geochemist and planetary scientist working at the forefront of the exploration of Mars and the solar system. Specializing in understanding the processes of sedimentary rock formation and evolution, Dr. Hurowitz has worked extensively on the ongoing Mars Exploration Rover mission, which launched in 2003, and on the more recent Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission, which was launched in 2012.

Dr. Hurowitz has played a variety of key roles on these missions, such as scientist, rover instrument design and operations specialist, and science and engineering operations team leader.

Dr. Hurowitz is the deputy principal investigator of one of the seven instruments recently selected for the science payload of the Mars 2020 Rover mission (out of nearly 60 submitted proposals), which is expected to operate on Mars at least through the year 2023. This instrument, called “PIXL” for “Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry”, is a micro-focus x-ray fluorescence instrument that will produce high-fidelity maps of the distribution and abundance of chemical elements within rocks and soils at the Mars 2020 rover landing site.

Dr. Hurowitz has held positions at prestigious institutions, such as the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, 2007-2013), the California Institute of Technology (Caltech, 2006-2007), and, most recently, the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University where he has joined the faculty as an assistant professor (tenure-track).

Dr. Hurowitz continues to work extensively with JPL on the MSL and PIXL projects. Over the course of his approximately 10-year Ph.D. and post-graduate career, Dr. Hurowitz has authored or co-authored 50 papers in peer-reviewed scientific literature, including papers in high-profile journals, such as Science, Nature, and Nature Geosciences.

Dr. Timothy Glotch (Advisory Board)

Timothy Glotch is an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University where he has been since 2007. He completed his Ph.D. in Geosciences at Arizona State University in 2004 and was a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech from 2005 to 2007.

His research is focused on using laboratory spectroscopic techniques and sophisticated light-scattering models to enable more quantitative interpretation of spectroscopic data sets. This work includes using laboratory visible or near-infrared reflectance, thermal infrared emission, and Raman spectroscopies, both on remote sensing platforms and in the laboratory, to determine the composition of geologic materials on the surfaces of the Moon, asteroids, Mars, and its moons.

He has received NASA Group Achievement awards for his work with the Odyssey Mission Thermal Emission Imaging System and Mars Exploration Rover Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer instruments that have flown to Mars and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment. He is a co-investigator of Diviner, which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009.

In 2012, he was awarded the National Science Foundation Early Career award. He is the principal investigator of the $5.5M Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration (RIS4E) team, which is part of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

Dr. Deanne Rogers (Advisory Board)

Dr. Deanne Rogers is an assistant professor of Geosciences at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY. Her work focuses on the use of remote sensing techniques, statistical methods, and laboratory spectroscopy to investigate planetary surface processes.

Dr. Rogers obtained her Ph.D. at Arizona State University and worked as a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech. During this time, she served as an Athena collaborator and payload uplink/downlink lead on the Mars Exploration Rover missions. She also has had significant involvement on the Mars Odyssey mission and is a co-investigator within the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) subnode at Stony Brook University.

She was named a NASA Planetary Science Division Early Career Fellow in 2008 and served as a strategic analysis group member for the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) Goals Document update in 2010. She teaches courses in remote sensing and natural hazards.

Steven Sorensen (Advisory Board)

Steven Sorensen is the US and Asia-Pacific global strategy and operations vice president with business development, project execution, product management, negotiation, research, and diplomacy success.

John Howie (Advisory Board)

John R.R. Howie serves on our advisory board with a focus on capital management and financing. He is currently a member of the investment team at Willett Advisors LLC, which is Mayor Bloomberg’s family office.

His previous experience includes investment management (JPMorgan Chase & Co., Carbon Capital Corp.), strategy consulting (Monitor, Palladium), and private equity (Treacy & Company). John also serves on the board of directors for Trail Blazers, a 125-year old nonprofit focused on youth development.


Hypersonic Consulting

RocketStar develops, tests, and implements all manners of propulsion and propulsion-related products for clients. Whether it’s as complex as a fully integrated rocket engine, with cooling systems, avionics, and pump systems or as simple as a second look by an experienced team of engineers that have worked on the X-33, X-34, and other hypersonic aircraft, RocketStar has the experience, judgment, and speed of execution to get the job done. Below are some examples of our research and development for clients. Please contact us for our other services.


Aerospike Engine

RocketStar has done extensive research on the aerospike rocket engine, both with solid fuel and with liquid hypergolics. We have developed toroidal spikes for use in boosters and missile technology as well as in larger rockets to support low-earth orbit insertion.

RocketStar has also developed linear aerospikes for fixed-wing aircraft use in a wide range of payload sizes. From something as small as an XCOR EZ-Rocket to something as large as the space shuttle, RocketStar has developed and tested engines to support these and many other aircraft. We look forward to working on your specifications to help get your spacecraft into orbit.

Fusion Thruster

RocketStar has consulted on a new type of plasma thruster that uses a novel type of fusion to produce an engine that is at least four times better than any thruster out there with the capability to be as small as a nickel. We feel that this breakthrough will lead to a sea change in interstellar transportation and make planetary colonization not just feasible but also comfortable as the time it will take to move to and from will be days not months. Please contact us for more information.


Please also see our article in the DSIAC Journal for more information about the Fusion Thruster here.

RocketStar in the Press


Defense Systems Information Analysis Center

Space Travel Aided by Plasma Thrusters: Past, Present, and Future
Although the basic concept of operation for plasma thrusters has not changed since their first demonstration, much advancement has been made over the years due to extensive research, design, testing, and engineering. Goebel and Katz consider ion and Hall thrusters “more modern electric engines that are finding increasingly more applications.”

Further understanding the principles of operation and seeking ways to improve the technology for future advanced applications continue to be the challenges facing many private companies, government institutions, and universities across the world.


New York Post

Are reusable rockets the key to creating more jobs?
By John Aidan Byrne
Chris Craddock has a dream, and it’s out of this world.

The Wall Street money man is on the cutting edge of advances in cost-saving and reusable rockets, which land safely and are ready quickly for the next launch.

“It doesn’t drop a piece as it flies into orbit like the Saturn 5 did on the Apollo mission,” Craddock told The Post as he prepares for the next test. “It’s like a commercial airplane that flies to the destination, lands, refuels, then flies to the next destination.”

Craddock, 38, says he has leapfrogged his rivals, recently moving from concept to launch within six months with his proprietary, the 3-D-printed “aerospike” engine.

“If I get my way, thousands of jobs will be created,” said Craddock, who grew up in Babylon, Long Island, sadly watching military aerospace industrial players like Northrop Grumman shed thousands of middle-class jobs.

“This will bring manufacturing back to Long Island in a big way,” added Craddock, now a Manhattan resident. “It won’t be just building some nameless widget for a company. People will have pride that they are advancing humanity through rockets.”


Popular Mechanics

RocketStar Wants to Make Going to Space a One-Step Process
RocketStar has its sights set on "single stage to orbit," building a rocket that can leave the planet without requiring multiple stages. That's one of the big goals of rocketry that could make reaching space cheaper and more accessible for everybody, but so far, no one has been able to do it.


Defense Systems Information Analysis Center

Affordable Access to Low Earth Orbit
The last decade has seen a resurgence of NASA’s bold visions, from returning humans to the moon after a 50-year hiatus to colonizing Mars.

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