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Our Mission

Enable the growth of space exploration and commercialization through high-quality, reliable products and services that reduce the cost of gravity.

ExoTerra specializes in developing and optimizing solar electric propulsion systems. In addition to our own Courier system and Halo thruster, we have worked on SEP systems such as the Asteroid Redirect Mission, Mars Aerosol Tracker, and Agile Inspector.


We also have a broad background with operational spacecraft. Our team has worked programs including Mars Exploration Rover, Mars Global Surveyor, Orion, Dream Chaser, OSIRIS-REx, GOES-R, Genesis, XSS-11, Stardust, Space Shuttle, and Atlas. We have held contracts with NASA, Lockheed Martin, Sierra Space, and the United States Air Force.


Our Team

Our Founder

Mr. Michael VanWoerkom founded ExoTerra in 2011. Since its founding, ExoTerra has won dozens NASA, Air Force, and Commercial contracts related to solar electric propulsion and in-situ resource utilization. Mr. VanWoerkom has served as the Principal Investigator for the Asteroid Redirect Mission Study, as a NASA Fellow for our NASA Innovative Advanced Concept project (NIMPH), and as the lead electric propulsion engineer for our Halo thruster.

Before starting ExoTerra, Mr. VanWoerkom spent 14 years at Lockheed Martin, where he was awarded over a dozen performance awards, including Nova and Stellar awards. He was part of the original Orion proposal team and served as the Mechanical Manager for the Orion Crew Module for 6 years. Prior to Orion, he was the Structures Certified Principal Engineer for both the Genesis and XSS-11 missions and the Spacecraft Architect for Lockheed’s Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter proposal, a nuclear electric propulsion mission to three of Jupiter’s moons.


Mr. VanWoerkom holds three degrees: a BSME from Calvin University, a Master in Aerospace Engineering focused on advanced propulsion from the University of Michigan, and an MBA with an entrepreneurial focus from the University of Colorado.

Photo of the founder Michael VanWoerkom
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