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Robert P. Mueller

Robert P. Mueller

Senior Technologist, Exploration Research and Technology Programs

Rob Mueller is a senior technologist for Advanced Products Development in the Exploration Research and Technology Programs Directorate at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He is the co-founder of the NASA Swamp Works innovation labs and the Kennedy Granular Mechanics & Regolith Operations (GMRO) Lab. He is also Kennedy’s lead for Autonomous-Robotic Systems involved with In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU).


Mueller is a former chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Committee for Regolith Operations, Mobility and Robotics, and former chairman of the ASCE Aerospace Division Executive Committee. He is a member of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space Resources Technical Committee. In 2010, Rob Mueller was the co-founder of the annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition for Universities and continues as the head judge for this competition to this day.

Technical expertise includes robotics, mechanical systems design, composite materials, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), planetary outpost construction, surface and ground operations, conceptual systems design and mission architecture design. He has worked on the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, X-33, Atlas V, Orbital Space Plane, Second Generation Reusable Launch Vehicles, Mars Exploration Studies and Lunar Exploration programs.

More recently, Mueller has been leading the development of technologies required for planetary surface systems, including developing the specifics of lunar, asteroid and Mars regolith excavation, mining and other robotic surface support equipment. He has worked for NASA at Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


Mueller has 28 years of engineering and management experience in the space industry and has been the recipient of numerous NASA awards, including the astronaut’s personal achievement “Silver Snoopy” award, a NASA Silver Achievement Medal and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. He has been awarded four U.S. patents for new technology inventions.


Mueller received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Miami in 1988 and a Master (MSSE) of International Space Systems Engineering from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands in 2006, as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1994.

Biography last updated August 2017