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Art Thompson

Art Thompson

Red Bull Stratos Technical Project Director

Art Thompson was Felix Baumgartner's earliest collaborator in envisioning Red Bull Stratos. 

As technical project director for Red Bull Stratos, Art Thompson conceptualized and drove the design, engineering and fabrication of the flight vehicle including development of the life support systems, flight equipment and flight-testing program. He was responsible for program management and handling of the mission's critical technology as well as assembly and oversight of the entire Stratos project team.

Art possesses more than three decades of experience in innovating leading-edge design that has produced major milestones in aerospace history, including development of the B-2 "Stealth" aircraft. A California native, he studied engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, and attended the University of La Verne and Northrop University. It was while working for Northrop Corporation that he served on a team brainstorming ideas for an aircraft that could avoid radar detection; their design would become the B-2 Spirit. Art co-founded his own company, Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Inc., to provide a wide range of aerospace needs, from initial design and engineering to finished product, while a sister business, A2ZFX Inc., extends the benefit of Art's creative thinking to other fields - producing tools, molds, digital products, and more for clients from aerospace manufacturers to movie producers for films like "Batman & Robin", "Contact", "Total Recall", "Air Force One" and "Blade".

It's that combination of drive, vision, and excellence that led Felix to Art, entrusting him to lead the development of the Red Bull Stratos mission. While Art's Sage Cheshire crew designed, built, and tested the capsule to protect Felix and the mission's critical technology, his industry knowledge and stellar reputation have allowed him to hand-pick an unparalleled team for the other components of the project including directing all of the flight test operations. Art notes, "There are so many great stories among the people working on this mission; with Red Bull Stratos, we're writing another one."

Art is a member of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), National Aeronautical Association (NAA), Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP, corporate member), and the Air Force Flight Test Historical Foundation at Edwards AFB Board of Directors; He is International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) Space Safety 2013 Jerome Lederer Pioneer Award recipient; 2012 Collier Trophy nominee; 2012 Laureate Award nominee; 2013 Excellence in Aviation Award recipient from the Flight Test Historical Foundation; Hall of Fame 2013 Inductee, San Diego Air and Space Museum; Honorary U.S. Army Golden Knight; recognized by the New Mexico and California Senates for contributions in aerospace and human physiology for egress from high altitude.