photo of brendan o'connor

Vice President of Advanced Programs, Emergent Space Technologies

B.A. Chemistry 1981, New College of Florida
M.A. Chemistry 1989, The University of Texas at Austin
M.S. ASE 1993, The University of Texas at Austin

Brendan O’Connor served as Vice President for Advanced Programs at Emergent Space Technologies where he led a group of 21 engineers responsible for the development of unique software and engineering products for a variety of aerospace industry customers. His research interests included assured autonomy for spacecraft systems.

O’Connor received his B.A. degree in chemistry from New College of Florida and an M.A. in chemistry from The University of Texas at Austin before finding his true calling by earning an M.S. in aerospace engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

His professional career began at the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation in June of 1995 as a developer for the orbit determination software for the Iridium project. He went on to become the co-technical lead for Iridium’s mission planning software and stayed with the project through its initial operations. McDonnell-Douglas was soon purchased by Boeing and he worked on a number of satellite missions at the Boeing Corporation before he joined Emergent Space Technologies in 2008. O’Connor’s primary focus was on developing flight software for spacecraft and he worked on missions for the DoD, DARPA and NASA. He was the Software Architect for the DARPA System F6 Cluster Flight software and developed and promoted autonomy for multi-satellite missions in follow-on programs including DARPA’s Blackjack program and on classified programs.

O’Connor was involved in developing innovative techniques for producing reliable flight software and flight software for mission autonomy. He produced Emergent’s processes for developing flight software, which were appraised at CMMI Maturity Level 3. He was the PI or technical lead on a range of technology development efforts mainly focused on spacecraft autonomy and was involved in NASA GSFC’s Common Operations Facility planning and on NASA’s Starling mission.

O’Connor served as an adjunct lecturer the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UT Austin. He was awarded 16 US Patents.

He was an instrument rated pilot who enjoyed flying the skies of central Texas.

Brendan O'Connor passed away on Sept. 27, 2020.