Mark Cantrell

Visiting Instructor


Today, I lead the digital transformation insertion effort for Space. In this role I am collaborating with experts from each Lockheed Martin business area and across Space to make the company more agile and more competitive. I am leading change for Lockheed Martin by driving digital transformation, embracing agile management, and shaping the future by working across the enterprise to select innovative projects to maximize value at Space and our partner business areas. I effectively advocate for change by providing the technical and business cases to support change; forming and leading Space teams to communicate these benefits to target audiences.

I began my career developing af amily of Al-Li alloys including 2195 used for the Space Shuttle External Tank (ET). Al-Li 2195 enabled completion of the ISS by transferring6,000 lbm from the ET structure to payload mass. I was awarded my first patent at this time for determining the mechanism of corrosion resistance in aged aluminum alloys.

After developing the Al-Li alloys for the External Tank I led the friction stir welding program and partnered with NASA to successfully implement friction stir welding for production of theSpace Shuttle ET.

I assisted in the return to flight activity for the External Tank by leading a team to discover the cause of the thermal protection system failure that led to the Shuttle Columbia accident. I then proved to experts from NASA and otherSME’s appointed to oversee the return to flight effort that, with process control and new nondestructive evaluation, the Space Shuttle was safe to return to flight.

When LM submitted our Orion proposal, I was asked by the proposal team to brief the NASA JSC SME’s on the risks associated with use of Al-Li alloys and friction stir welding for theOrion build. NASA cited the meeting with me as one of the discriminators in awarding the Orion program to LM.

I led material and process development for the Orion program and built the team that developed processes to build the space craft. My team developed noveljoining and composite build processes to meet the challenges of human spaceflight. Using uncertainty quantification methods, my team set the standard for what is possible with friction stir welding today. Today, the Orion team haswelded 6 entire shipsets with zero defects. This defect free welding accomplishment is unknown elsewhere in aerospace industry.

Over the course of my career, I regularly lead diverse teams to solve critical technical issues while intentionally developing my management skills. Myteams regularly outperform other teams at Lockheed Martin, even when my team is less experienced than other teams.


  • MS, Physics, and B.A., Math & Physics at Miami University;
  • PhD, University of Virginia, Materials Engineering