Dependable Engineering Solutions
For Any Environment

Who We Are

30+ Years Combined Experience

Founded by former National Geographic engineers, Mike Shepard and Eric Berkenpas, Second Star Robotics has over 30 years combined experience developing reliable tools to collect never-before-seen imagery and data from the deepest places in the ocean to the highest mountain peaks.

Creative Innovation

Second Star Robotics was founded to apply this unique set of world-class engineering and R&D skills towards the creation of innovative, field-ready systems for any terrestrial or marine environment. We are passionate about creating solutions for tough problems and apply a ‘nothing is impossible’ approach to obstacles.

Unique Consulting Services

To do this, Second Star Robotics provides unique consulting services from advice on sub-system design to deployment of complete end-to-end products.  We combine state-of-the-art mechanical, electronic, and software development practices with the latest manufacturing techniques to deliver solutions to our customers at any scale, on time, and at low cost. Second Star Robotics serves a spectrum of markets from academic research and media production to utilities and energy and are always hungry for new challenges.

Our Services

Engineering and
R&D Consulting

Embedded Systems Development

Advanced Technology
Field Support

Custom Automated Test &
Data Acquisition Design

Dynamic Simulation
and Modeling

Design for

New Product


Meet The Founders

In 2019 Eric Berkenpas and Mike Shepard departed National Geographic and Co-Founded Second Star Robotics in order to bring their extensive knowledge and experience to a new client audience. To see more, click HERE.

Charles ‘Mike’ Shepard received a bachelor of science. degree in mechanical engineering from George Washington University. Mike is formerly the senior engineer in the National Geographic Exploration Technology Lab.

Mike Shepard

Eric Berkenpas received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering with a computer science minor from South Dakota State University and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maine.

Eric Berkenpas

Technical Publications

“Second Star Robotics creates innovative, dependable engineering solutions and products for any environment.”

Get In touch

About us

Founded in 2019, Second Star Robotics combines the knowledge and in-field experience of both Eric Berkenpas and Mike Shepard.

Get In Touch

Use the form about to get in touch or feel free to email us at:

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Engineering and R&D Consulting

We apply industry best practices and engineering expertise in a wide spectrum of disciplines to enable our clients to create new products.

We provide services from the creation of fully designed solutions to a technical ‘gut-check’ to inform our clients on solution viability.

Embedded Systems Development

With extensive experience developing embedded system.  We provide our client’s with state of the art solutions for any platform from embedded unix-based systems to assembly language code running on bare metal.

We apply the latest RTOS and state flow development paradigms to quickly deliver reliable high-performance solutions.

Advanced Technology Field Support

From the Antarctic Peninsula to the world’s most remote islands we have successfully deploying complex technologies, drones, and sensor systems all over the world. 

We have extensive experience developing field support kits and providing for basic logistics to deploy anything anywhere.

Custom Automated Test & Data Acquisition Design

Using the latest automated test environments, tools, hardware-in-the-loop development paradigms we can create test and measurement systems to evaluate systems in any environment.

From basic benchtop performance analysis to full simulation-in-the-loop hardware testing of dynamic systems.

Dynamic Simulation and Modeling

In order to create reliable systems that can operate in extreme environments, we apply state-of-the-art simulation and modeling techniques and tools for analyzing electromechanical systems.

We simulate individual components all the way up to full vehicle dynamic simulations to allow us to test the full envelope of a system’s performance characteristics before we ever build it.

Design For Manufacture

We tailor every design to meet the client’s manufacturing needs. From a one-off demonstration prototype to a 10,000 unit manufacturing build.

We will make sure that our solution is designed to meet our client’s cost and time requirements to maximize yield and ensure successful delivery of product.


In addition to providing design services we provide a full spectrum of manufacturing services including circuit-board fabrication, circuit board assembly, to CNC machining, injection molding, additive manufacturing techniques, and final system assembly and packaging.



Mike is formerly the senior engineer in the National Geographic Exploration Technology Lab. With over 18 years of experience developing systems for National Geographic, he has lead numerous field expeditions, designed deep-water camera systems that have returned from the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Developed technologies for unobtrusively drilling into sensitive archaeological survey sites and filming from inside forest fires. He has discovered lost shipwrecks and new species. He has created methods for attaching instruments to wildlife and has come face-to-face with a great white shark in the process.

His work has been featured on several National Geographic films and television productions.



Eric is formerly the Senior Director of the Exploration Technology Lab at the National Geographic Society.  While there he developed technology programs in both terrestrial and marine conservation.

He established critical partnerships with technology companies and worked to provide National Geographic grantees, collaborating researchers, and initiatives with novel technology solutions in the field.  An engineer first and foremost he built a novel high-reliability real-time operating system for low-power microcontrollers, created control systems for deep diving underwater robotics, and new methods for surveying archaeological sites with radar.

He has been around the world from Antarctica to King Tut’s tomb in support of National Geographic expeditions and projects.