photo of brendan o'connor

Brendan M. O’Connor

Vice President of Advanced Programs, Emergent Space Technologies

BA Chemistry 1981, New College of Florida
MA Chemistry 1989, The University of Texas at Austin
MSE ASE 1993, The University of Texas at Austin

Brendan O’Connor is Vice President for Advanced Programs at Emergent Space Technologies. He leads 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 include 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 joining Emergent Space Technologies in 2008. O’Connor’s primary focus has been on developing flight software for spacecraft and he has worked on missions for the DoD, DARPA, and NASA. He was the Software Architect for the DARPA System F6 Cluster Flight software and has continued to develop and promote autonomy for multi-satellite missions in follow-on programs including DARPA’s Blackjack program and on classified programs.

O’Connor has been 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 has been the PI or technical lead on a range of technology development efforts mainly focused on spacecraft autonomy. He was involved in NASA GSFC’s Common Operations Facility planning and on NASA’s Starling mission.

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

He lives in Austin, Texas with his two sons, Sean and Liam, and is an instrument rated pilot who enjoys flying the skies of central Texas.