Joe Cassady is Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Executive Director for Space in the company’s Washington Operations. He is responsible for strategy and capture activities related to many of the company’s NASA programs, including: the Space Launch System (SLS); the propulsion system for the Orion deep space capsule; Commercial Crew propulsion and power systems; advanced electric propulsion; the International Space System (ISS) power system, as well as AFRL and DARPA programs. He also is involved with research activities for next-generation space technology, including additive manufacturing, non-toxic propellants, modular propulsion for small satellites, and nuclear propulsion and power technology efforts.
Mr Cassady joined Aerojet in 1985 and was appointed to his present position in June 2013. Previously, he served in various Engineering and Business Development positions related to advanced propulsion for missiles and spacecraft. He began his career at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards AFB, where he performed research into the acceleration mechanisms of Magneto Plasma Dynamic (MPD) thrusters as part of an AFOSR graduate program. He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University. In addition he holds a Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering from the George Washington University. He is the recipient of several technical awards from Aerojet Rocketdyne and outside organizations. Mr. Cassady led flight project teams for the 26 kWe ESEX arcjet system (which still holds the record as the highest power electric propulsion system flown) and the EO-1 Pulsed Plasma Thruster system. In addition, he has served on a number of advisory groups for NASA and the DoD. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 papers dealing with mission design, space architectures, and propulsion technology and holds four patents for electric propulsion technologies.
His professional affiliations included the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, where he is an Associate Fellow; the American Astronautical Society; and the Electric Rocket Propulsion Society, where he serves as Vice President. He also serves on the board of ExploreMars, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to education, STEM activities and outreach related to the exploration of Mars. Mr Cassady lives in Vienna, VA with his wife Jann and their rescue dog Annie. He enjoys tennis, skiing, and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.