Radian One
Radian Aerospace is developing the Radian One spaceplane intended to carry people and "light cargo" to orbit, taking off and landing from runways. Credit: Radian Aerospace

LOS ANGELES – Radian Aerospace, a startup developing a reusable spaceplane, announced March 30 that Jeff Matthews, a founding member of Deloitte Consulting’s space sector practice, would become the company’s director of strategy.

Matthew met Radian’s founders in 2016 when he produced the initial market study for the Renton, Washington, company.

“Having known the Radian founders and helping them with due diligence, Radian has always been a favorite of mine,” Matthews told SpaceNews.

Radian raised $27.5 million in a seed funding round announced in January for development of a fully reusable, single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane that takes off and lands horizontally.

“The cost of transporting humans to orbit is at an inflection point that will create large-scale change in the market,” Matthews said. At the same time, Radian’s cargo capability will be one of the keys to development of a vibrant low Earth orbit economy, he added.

To date, spaceplanes have tended to launch vertically and have not shown the level of rapid reusability that Radian seeks.

“It will take a lot to get there, but we’re up for the challenge,” Matthews said.

As Radian’s strategy director, Matthews will be in charge of assessing the market and Radian’s competition. Matthews also will be tasked with building relationships with U.S. government customers and establishing strategic industry partnerships.

“Jeff is an incredibly well-respected and accomplished leader in the space sector and his work around the commercialization of LEO directly shaped the industry,” Richard Humphrey, Radian CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “The expertise and knowledge he brings to the table is unparalleled and we are confident Jeff will add significant value to the work we are doing to transform the industry and succeed in our mission.”

Matthews led Deloitte’s work on the 2018 NASA study on commercializing low Earth orbit and on the Vandenberg Space Force Base Commercial Master Plan. He also contributed to an independent analysis of commercial high-speed transportation for NASA and to Deloitte’s updated report on commercialization of low Earth orbit.

Prior to Deloitte, Matthews served as the director of venture strategy and research for the Space Frontier Foundation. He was also on the Space Frontier Foundation board of directors.

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...