Charles "Chuck" Beames is the former president of Vulcan Aerospace and former Defense Department principal director for space and intelligence systems. Credit: SpaceNews/Kate Patterson.

SAN FRANCISCO – Charles Beames is the new executive chairman of the board for TrustPoint, a Dulles, Virginia, startup developing a global navigation satellite constellation to complement GPS.

GPS, established decades ago to provide position, navigation and timing (PNT) for the U.S. military, has become a commercial utility, underpinning aviation, trucking, rideshare applications and delivery services.

“I’ve always thought that the PNT mission could be enhanced with the quicker-paced tech innovation that’s going on generally,” Beames, a former U.S. Air Force officer and chairman of the SmallSat Alliance, told SpaceNews.

Plus, Beames said commercial services that complement GPS will provide resiliency.

“Much like other space missions originated by the Defense Department decades ago, the current GPS system has become critical infrastructure that needs increased resilience through a Hybrid Space Architecture approach,” Beames said in a statement. “The current wars in Ukraine and Israel highlight the limitations of current systems and how they could impede continued expansion of the commercial utility of precision navigation and threaten our ability to fight future wars. We are eager to complement the Space Force’s venerable GPS system to ensure the US’s ability to lead in exquisite navigation and timing in this newly contested domain.” 

PNT Backups

TrustPoint, founded in 2020, is one of a number of companies developing products and services to complement GPS and other global navigation satellite systems like Europe’s Galileo and China’s Beidou.

“TrustPoint began with an entirely new ‘clean sheet’ approach that leverages commoditized space hardware and a unique service frequency to avoid the high capital and protracted regulatory battles that have too often hobbled the sector over the years,” Beames said.

Late last year, TrustPoint announced plans to work with SpiderOak to provide cybersecurity for its network. Beames also serves as executive chairman of the board for SpiderOak and small satellite manufacturer York Space Systems.

“Chuck Beames has demonstrated across his portfolio of space companies his unique ability to partner closely with founders,” Patrick Shannon, TrustPoint CEO and founder, said in a statement. “His specific experience and insights unique to TrustPoint’s mission and operations will be integral to accelerating our next phase of growth. And his extensive background in aerospace and investment management are already unlocking new opportunities, guiding our strategic direction.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...