photo of Kevis Sagis

Chief Engineer and Senior Vice President, Reliable Robotics

B.S. ASE 1988, The University of Texas at Austin

Kevin D. Sagis is the chief engineer and senior vice president at Reliable Robotics, where he is driving the engineering vision and execution of remotely operated aircraft systems that will make air transportation even safer, increase efficiency, add operational flexibility and transform the way we move goods and people around the planet. He holds a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

Sagis began his multi-faceted career in 1988 with the Space Transportation Systems Operation Contract (STSOC) where he supported NASA’s Johnson Space Center in the first Space Shuttle return-to-flight campaign. In 1990, Sagis joined Lockheed Martin to support Advanced Programs for NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center, making contributions to the design of the National Launch System (NLS), which subsequently formed the basis of the Space Launch System (SLS) for the Artemis program and NASA’s historic return to the moon.

After his early career experience supporting NASA, Sagis changed his focus to the commercial sector, where he and a skunk-works team rapidly created multiple versions of the Athena launch vehicle that repurposed existing technologies to provide cost effective launch opportunities for the very early emerging small-satellite market. In 2000, he pivoted into the high-tech industry and founded a start-up that architected and deployed wireless internet capability for Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch; later he joined American Express Business Finance to create mission-critical, small-business end-to-end multi-tier applications.

Sagis returned to aerospace with Lockheed Martin in 2007 and was the Chief Engineer of the Extended Medium Range Ballistic Missile that was designed with unique air-launching capability to enable testing of critical scenarios for the Missile Defense Agency. In 2012 as one of the original visionaries of Virgin Orbit, Sagis partnered with Richard Branson to reimagine how a Boeing 747 carrier aircraft could be used to launch liquid-engine orbital rockets. As the chief engineer at Virgin Orbit, he was directly responsible for numerous new technologies that significantly advanced the field of aerospace engineering and set the foundation for taking the company public.

Sagis has been awarded the Lockheed Martin Mission Success Award and has received recognition and awards from NASA for innovations on trajectory simulation. His achievements have been featured numerous times in Aviation Week and Space Technology and he holds multiple patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Outside of work, Sagis is the founder of Paragon Labs and has led various NewSpace (Space 2.0) efforts such as building a Vertical Takeoff, Vertical Lander (VTVL) and competing in the Xprize Lunar Lander Challenge.

Sagis regularly sources unique internship opportunities for UT aerospace students, mentors the Texas Rocket Engineering Laboratory (TREL), has provided highly specialized ground support equipment to numerous universities’ space launch efforts (Princeton, Duke, Operation Space, etc.). He also founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit to provide hands-on aerospace learning opportunities to students of all ages. He relishes restoring vintage items and is currently modifying a classic 1972 Ford Bronco and rebuilding HP41 calculators.