Mr. Benson is the founding
chairman, chief executive, and chief technology officer of SpaceDev, Inc., a publicly owned space exploration and development company headquartered in
Poway, California, near San Diego. After a highly successful career as a computer industry
entrepreneur, Mr. Benson decided to take on the challenge of starting an innovative space commercialization venture because it combined his lifelong interests in science, technology and astronomy with his successful business
experience. Mr. Benson and SpaceDev are working to develop the world's first private sector enterprise to profitably explore and develop space beyond earth orbit. SpaceDev's mission is to help
"make space happen" for all of humanity, through the development of a comprehensive private space program, by delivering innovative,
affordable, practical and responsive space technologies, products and solutions to SpaceDev's government and commercial
customers, while creating value for SpaceDev stockholders.
In 2004, unique hybrid rocket motors developed by SpaceDev powered Paul Allen's SpaceShipOne to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. In 2003, SpaceDev launched this country's
smallest, low-cost, high performance satellite, CHIPSat for NASA. CHIPSat is a suitcase-size science microsatellite that is also the world's first orbiting Internet
node, and the fist satellite whose mission control and operations center is any laptop computer located anywhere in the world. Upon founding SpaceDev in 1997, Jim Benson started the trend of successful computer entrepreneurs moving into the space development arena. SpaceDev was incorporated and went public in 1997. The trading symbol for SpaceDev is
Mr. Benson spent thirty years associated with the computer field, spanning the era from the introduction of modern mainframe
computers, to the dominance of the computer industry by microcomputers. Mr. Benson invented modern full text computer indexing and searching in 1984, and exploited the new field through companies he
founded: Compusearch and ImageFast of McLean, Virginia.
Benson was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the California Space
Authority, and was named one of the "50 People to Watch in 2005" by San Diego Magazine. He founded the non-profit Space Development Institute, and introduced the Benson Prize for Amateur Discovery of Near Earth
Objects. He is also Vice-Chairman and private sector representative on NASA's national Space Grant Review Panel. Mr. Benson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, in his home town.