David Barnhart

Director, Space Technology and Systems Group

Research Professor, Department of Astronautical Engineering

David Barnhart leads ISI’s Space Systems and Technology group, which combines disruptive research with a hands-on, small-satellite design and launch program for USC Viterbi students. Barnhart’s specialties include second-generation space morphology design, robotics applied to and with satellites, and application-based engineering capabilities.

He works with space experts both on USC’s main campus, via the Space Engineering Research Center (SERC), and with government and commercial space entities. A SERC founder and current director, he previously developed new aerospace and satellite systems and technologies, design tools that dramatically reduce project time-to-completion, and contact dynamic surface platens for full-size space simulation solutions.

Barnhart recently returned to ISI from DARPA, where he was a senior space project manager. Before USC he helped found and lead two space companies, Millennium Space Systems and Germany-based Vanguard Space. Barnhart earned his BSAE from Boston University and his master’s degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, both in aerospace engineering. Including his previous tenure, he has been with ISI for 5 years.