Dr. Leon Alkalai

Dr. Alkalai co-founded Explorer 1 in 2021 and is responsible for sourcing, evaluating and managing the investment portfolio.

Prior to co-founding Explorer 1, Leon was a JPL Fellow and a Full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics. As a senior member at JPL, Leon lead the following programs: Advanced Avionics Systems group (92-95), New Millennium Program (96-98), Center for Integrated Space Microsystems (CISM) (98-2001), Assistant Division Manager for Avionics Systems (2001-2002), Capture Lead for MoonLight, MoonRise and other proposals to the NASA Discovery and New Frontiers Program; Capture Lead for GRAIL (2005-2007); Capture Lead for MoonRise (2008-2010); Capture Lead for INSIGHT (2011-2012); JPL Fellow (2012); Manager Office of Strategic Planning (2016-2019), Office of Strategic Partnerships (2019-2021); Project Manager (VITAL Ventilator Project (2020). Leon joined JPL in 1989 after receiving his PhD from UCLA.

Leon is also a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Verrix LLC (2014). He has also advised numerous start-up companies, individual investor and venture capital companies on space investing such as Venrock, Greycroft, and many more.

Leon founded Mandala Space Ventures in 2021 to create Space start-up studio for founders to ideate, build and fund their bold space visions.

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