Astral's Team

Talmon Firestone

Co-Founder & CEO

20+ Years of experience in both the fusion and defense industries. 

As co-founder & CEO of Astral Systems, Talmon draws upon decades of experience in commercialization of fusion technologies and driving projects, large and small, within the defense industry with a focus on B2B and B2G engagement.

Notably, he was a partner at NSD-Fusion GmbH which earned the distinction of being first company to commercialize a fusion reactor technology in the mid 2000s.

Dr. Tom Wallace-Smith

Co-Founder & CTO

Inventor of Astral’s core innovation and patent lead author.

As the leading co-inventor of Astral's MSF fusion technology, his role is critical in steering the technical aspects of the company. Dr. Wallace-Smith acquired hands-on experience in core design and manufacture at Rolls-Royce Submarines, which included extensive Monte-Carlo neutron transport modelling as well as onboard assignments on HMS Victorious and HMS Triumph for reactor dynamics monitoring. During his PhD, additional expertise in research reactors was developed whilst working in Osaka, Japan.

Dr. Mahmoud Bakr

Chief Scientist

10+ Years of IEC Fusion experience developing ultra-compact systems

Our Chief Scientist has a PhD in Energy Science from Kyoto University and has been involved in R&D for particle generation applications, fusion technology, and advanced nuclear systems design for two decades. In the area of nuclear security, he developed a 1st of a kind portable interrogation system for special nuclear materials. While in the medical sector, he developed a novel analysis method for Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) pharmacokinetic evaluation.

Dr. Tom Haywood

Director of Market Development - Nuclear Medicine

10+ Years of experience in Radiochemistry. 

With extensive knowledge in the field, Tom will lead Astral's stakeholder engagement in the nuclear medicine industry. 

Tom has held positions in both the UK and USA, in top ranking academic institutions and world leading industry.  

Eytan Cerasi

Director of Finance & Accounting

15+ years of experience in industry

Eytan Cerasi is an accomplished finance and accounting professional with a proven track record of success in implementing robust financial management strategies and driving sustainable financial health. 

Eytan brings a wealth of expertise in auditing, accounting, financial analysis, and asset management.

Tracey Archer

Executive Assistant to the CEO & CTO

25+ years of experience

Tracey brings a high degree of proficiency, knowledge, and experience in supporting Board and C Suite Executives in multiple industries at international, private, and public sector organisations (including FTSE and ASX listed companies).

She leverages strong communication skills and a results-driven, proactive mindset to work autonomously in our fast-paced environment. 

Astral's Board of Advisors

Prof. Tom Scott

Tom Scott is a Professor of Materials Sciences and Director of the Interface Analysis Centre at the University of Bristol, and Executive Co-Director of the Bristol-Oxford Nuclear Research Centre. 

He is an accomplished leader both in academia and industry and was recently awarded the distinguished Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in fusion energy. 

Craig Lester

Craig Lester is Strategic Development Director at DBD International, covering the Nuclear Energy (fission and fusion) and Medical Radioisotopes business areas. Prior to joining DBD, for 5 years he was the policy lead for the UK Government on Advanced Nuclear Technologies, and has wide experience of the SMR and AMR sectors both in the UK and internationally. Craig has previously sat on a number of Boards, including the UK National Nuclear Laboratory. 

Dr. Richard Thornley

Richard has forty years’ experience in the Aerospace and Defence field, twenty-seven years of which have been in Japan. He is recognised and trusted by Japanese and foreign governments as someone who seeks and delivers mutually beneficial results. In June 2022, he joined the Board of Eisai Pharmaceutical, who specialise in cancer and dementia drugs. Richard headed all Rolls-Royce in Japan, including its nuclear business. He was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for Japanese industrial relations and business in the 2012 Queen’s birthday honours, an Honorary Doctor of Technology from Loughborough University in 2016.

Lawrence P. Forsley

Lawrence Forsley is Deputy PI and senior lead experimental physicist with NASA GRC; research fellow at the University of Texas, Austin, Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory; Co-PI, Naval Surface Warfare Centers and CTO of Global Energy Corporation.

During the past 48 years, he has worked in hot fusion with the University of Rochester, Laboratory for Laser Energetics (Group Leader, Omega laser fusion); Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (consultant, TMX-U and MFTF-B mirror fusion); Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmphysik (IPP) (visiting scientist, ASDEX tokamak). He specialized in temporally, spatially, or spectrally resolving infrared through gamma-ray energy photons, charged particles, and neutrons.