Raytheon deputy director joins SAR startup Umbra Lab

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SAN FRANCISCO – Marcus Chevitarese was the deputy engineering director for Raytheon Vision Systems when he met David Langan and Gabe Dominocielo, co-founders of Umbra Lab, a Santa Barbara, California, startup building synthetic aperture radar (SAR) microsatellites.

After hearing of Umbra’s plan to capture SAR imagery with a resolution of 25-centimeters from 50-kilogram satellites, Chevitarese was curious. “I’ve been around long enough to know people come up with creative solutions,” Chevitarese told SpaceNews.

Langan and Dominocielo invited Chevitarese to see their SAR prototype. “It was an elegant design,” Chevitarese said. “I felt like when you’re trying to solve a problem and someone gives you the answer.”

Umbra announced Dec. 5 that Chevitarese is the firm’s new engineering vice president.

“At Raytheon Vision Systems, I saw hundreds of development programs and got a good feel for what is going to work,” he said. “It seemed like if I didn’t join Umbra, I would regret it later.”

Joining a startup is still risky, Chevitarese said, but since he manages Umbra’s rapidly growing technical team and is responsible for project management, he can systematically reduce the risk. “I can help build a good team” and because it’s a startup “we can move quickly,” he said.

Langan, Umbra co-founder and CEO, said in a statement, “Marcus and the engineering team as a whole are exceptional and have exceeded every expectation.” Langan and Chevitarese are working together to develop Umbra’s technical strategy and technical roadmap.

Prior to working at Raytheon, Chevitarese held engineering posts at Ericsson, Takata’s Automotive Systems Laboratory and Autoliv Electronics. Chevitarese also worked in the late 1990s for another startup. He was an electrical engineer at AstroTerra, an optical communications company.

“Marcus is the kind of guy people stand up for when he walks into a room,” Dominocielo, Umbra co-founder and chief strategy officer, said in a statement. “He is someone for whom we have tremendous respect. Umbra is very fortunate to have him.”