Dr. Kevin Parkin is the founder of Parkin Research and the inventor of the microwave thermal rocket. In 2005, he was awarded the Korolev Medal by the Russian Federation of Astronautics and Cosmonautics for his ground-breaking work in microwave thermal propulsion.
In 2007, Kevin founded the Mission Design Center at NASA Ames and developed its software architecture, having previously created the ICEMaker software used by NASA JPL and others.
From 2009 to 2015, Kevin was a Research Faculty member at the Silicon Valley campus of Carnegie Mellon University. In this role, he served as Principal Investigator of a $5M NASA-funded project to conduct innovative research, and as Principal Investigator and Chief Engineer of a $3M DARPA project to build a small millimeter-wave thermal rocket and launch it. These projects resulted in the first millimeter-wave absorbent refractory heat exchanger, the first millimeter-wave thermal rocket, and the first high power cooperative target millimeter-wave beam director. Together, they combined to achieve the first millimeter-wave thermal rocket launch in early 2014.
Since 2016, Kevin has served as the Systems Director of Breakthrough Starshot, a $100M initiative to send a beam-driven probe to Alpha Centauri within the next generation.
Kevin is a member of the Institute of Physics and received his M.Phys. in Physics with Space Science and Technology from the University of Leicester in 1999, his M.S. in Aeronautics from Caltech in 2001, and his Ph.D. in Aeronautics from Caltech in 2006.