Advanced Rockets Corporation: An Aerospace Company Pioneering Novel Vehicle and Propulsion Solutions
In the journey of life, we learn several lessons and gain different experiences, but only a few people can channel that learning in the right direction to achieve great success. There is no doubt that Kelli Kedis Ogborn, the President and Chief Operating Officer at Advanced Rockets Corporation (ARC)—an aerospace company— is one of them. While currently this technology commercialization expert is well known in the tech realm, her journey started on a different note altogether.
With an International Security and Conflict Resolution B.A. degree from San Diego State University and a Master’s Degree in Government and Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University Kelli started her career by designing aid packages for humanitarian crises. “I came to Washington DC and started working in the U.S. Senate. But defense—broadly—was always my area of interest. I was looking for an opportunity to jump into that field but didn’t know exactly where to start,” said Kelli. The chance finally came about a year later when Kelli was contracted as the Congressional Liaison to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—the R&D wing of the Department of Defense—through Booz Allen Hamilton and Spire Communications. Her role entailed both guiding senior leadership and providing advice to technical offices on Congressional engagement strategies to maintain the agency’s position and reputation as a premier science and technology organization.
Entrepreneurial Origins and the Journey with Advanced Rockets Corporation (ARC)
“While at DARPA, I had an interesting epiphany and realized that many of the same principles used to design and implement aid packages could be utilized to ‘sell’ and commercialize radical R&D and innovations. It all comes down to understanding people, their motivations and needs, and then providing a solution that is easy to adopt and delivers maximum impact.” remarked Kelli. This understanding drove her to lay the foundation of a consulting firm—H.S. Dracones LLC—which guides organizations that are transitioning from developmental ecosystems to market capitalization. “I work closely with scientists, engineers, and innovators to help them position their technology for mass adoption, taking into account the necessary steps they need to embark on to scale and be successful,” she noted.
While leading H.S. Dracones, ARC contracted her firm to conduct a commercialization study. At its conclusion, the company’s leadership was so impressed by her performance and knowledge that they approached Kelli to become a part of their mission to drive the aerospace industry into the future. She accepted the offer and joined ARC as President and Chief Operating Officer.
Today, leveraging her extensive experience in R&D for cutting-edge technologies and positioning companies for growth, she ensures the seamless execution of ARC’s daily operations while aligning those actions with the long-term vision of growth for the company. This involves both working closely with the internal teams to ensure all tasks are being performed according to schedule and educating external stakeholders, partners, and potential customers about the company’s specific mission sets and capabilities to expand the launch market and enable the future space economy.
Kelli informed us that, “The key to success is to be deadline-driven and pivot where necessary. To achieve this goal, we essentially understand our team’s work patterns, put the right processes in place, and make everyone understand how their work impacts the bottom-line.”
Current technology enabling space access is prohibitively expensive, operationally fickle, and resource wasteful. The launch industry has room to grow and our launch solutions allow for efficiency gains that far surpass the limits of traditional rocketry
Revolutionizing Launch Services
By ingraining this style of work into the ARC culture, Kelli is driving the company towards rapid growth and success. She reveals that the space industry is witnessing a watershed moment and ecosystem boom. Every day, new space entrants are joining the industry and redefining the landscape. Affordable and routine point-to-point launch cadence is required for all participants-both current and future players—to realize the full economic viability of the industry. “Current technology enabling space access is prohibitively expensive, operationally fickle, and resource wasteful. The launch industry has room to grow and our launch solutions allow for efficiency gains that far surpass the limits of traditional rocketry,” she added. ARC’s hybrid air-breathing rocket engine allows its vehicles to reach new heights of performance, flexibility, and reusability.
ARC’s primary goal is to make space routine by providing launch services to companies looking to build and sustain the space ecosystem in LEO, MEO, GEO, and beyond. Kelli commented, “This capability is vital for all future space research, commerce, economic activity, transportation, and exploration.” While executing on this company goal, ARC is also exploring opportunities to work with the U.S. government on technology development and mission integration with missile systems, air-breathing hypersonic R&D, experimental payload testing, and point-to-point transportation vehicles for defense applications.
“We focus on providing affordable and reliable access to space for new market players that plan to reach LEO, Cislunar, and beyond,” In the next 5 years, ARC will be providing routine launch capabilities for free-flying spaceports, space stations, and their unique customer bases. The company is also partnering with various players from the aerospace and defense industry to grow its capabilities for fulfilling the needs of various missions. “Being a young and nimble company, we can go the extra mile to address the diverse needs of the industry and grow to meet its demands,” concluded Kelli.