Team

Juan Arrieta

Founder and CEO

Juan holds a BSc (2002) in chemical engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico City, Mexico) and a PhD (2007) from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA). His academic work focused on numerical optimization applied to spacecraft trajectory design.

Upon concluding his PhD, Juan joined McKinsey & Company as a management consultant, where he served clients in various industries, including automotive, oil and gas, banking, and local government. In 2009, Juan left McKinsey to pursue his life-long dream of working for NASA; he joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

From 2009 through 2012, Juan served JPL as a Navigation Engineer with the Flight Path Control Group, where his responsibilities included the design, analysis, and optimization of orbit trim maneuvers for the Cassini Spacecraft. In 2012, he transitioned roles and became a Mission Design Engineer with the Outer Planet Mission Analysis Group, where his responsibilities included the design of trajectories for Europa Clipper, NASA’s upcoming mission to Europa.

In 2016, Juan left JPL and founded Nabla Zero Labs.

Jonathon Smith

Chief Engineer

Jonathon holds a BSc (2004) in engineering physics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL) and a MSc (2012) in astronautical engineering from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA).

From 2005 to 2008, Jonathon served as an Orbit Determination and Maneuver Analyst with KinetX, Inc, where he performed orbit determination and maneuver design for NASA’s New Horizons and Messenger missions.

He then joined the Outer Planets Navigation Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where his responsibilities included orbit determination for the Equinox and Solstice segments of NASA’s Cassini Mission, the EPOXI encounter with comet Hartley-2, and the return-to-earth leg of JAXA’s Hayabusa mission. From 2013 to 2017, he served additional roles. First as a Software Engineer in the Mission Design and Navigation Software Group as a lead software developer on the MONTE astrodynamic computing library and providing navigation support for the Rosetta encounter with comet CG. Later he served as Technical Group Supervisor of the Mission Design and Navigation Systems Engineering Group, where he led a group of technologists, infrastructure, and system engineers.

From 2017 to 2018, Jonathon served as the Deep Space Flight Dynamics Lead at Planetary Resources, where led a group of astrodynamics specialists designing orbits and navigation strategies to and around near-Earth asteroids.

From 2018 to 2019, he joined Advanced Space as the Navigation Lead performing navigation analysis and operations, including navigation support for the New Horizons flyby of Ultima Thule. He also served as a technical lead in the development of the Cis-Lunar Autonomous Positioning System.

In 2019, Jonathon joined Nabla Zero Labs as Chief Engineer.