Former SpaceX engineers create robotic pizza-making machine; Stellar food truck hits LA's streets in 2022

Dec. 22, 2021

A new robotic pizza concept is the works, this time from a team of former SpaceX engineers who are taking their innovation on the road. Stellar Pizza is preparing to launch in Los Angeles in spring 2022. 

Stellar Pizza was conceived by Benson Tsai, the new company's chief executive, and Brian Langone and James Wahawisan, all former engineers at Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

The rocket scientists' brainchild uses cutting-edge technology and robotics to enable an automated, contactless process that can bake a pizza from scratch in minutes – from a box-style food truck.

Stellar's culinary division is led Ted Cizma, former executive chef and director of culinary services at SpaceX, and pizza consultant Noel Brohner. The two chefs created a recipe for pizza that is affordable, consistently produces high-quality results and lends itself to mass production.

The pizza revolution

Stellar Pizza concoction transforms raw pizza dough and fresh toppings into a fully baked pizza in under five minutes. With the maximum capability to produce a pizza every 45 seconds (about 100 per hour), Stellar's pizza truck will be able to deliver a larger quantity of fresh, gourmet pizzas more consistently than its brick-and-mortar counterparts, the creators boast.

The robotic pizza-making process starts with a freshly prepared ball of raw pizza dough, which gets pressed and shaped into a round pizza crust. Then, house-made sauce and fresh toppings are added. Lastly, the raw pizza is inserted into one of four high-temperature custom-designed ovens to bake to perfection.

Tsai, Brian Langone and James Wahawisan founded Stellar Pizza in May 2019. Tsai, who has a background in technology, education and entrepreneurship, spent six years in the burgeoning electric truck and bus industry, first as a cofounder of Motiv Power Systems and then as an early employee at Lucid Motors.

In this new endeavor, Tsai draws from his five years’ experience at Elon Musk’s revolutionary space company, designing advanced battery systems for spaceships, rockets and satellites. In addition to Langone and Wahawisan, another 23 previous SpaceX engineers are part of Stellar Pizza's design and development team.

Tsai launched Stellar Pizza in his hometown of Los Angeles. Following the 2022 launch there, Tsai said he plans to bring the pizza innovation to other markets.

A slice of life

Stellar Pizza’s concise menu is designed to offer traditional pizza toppings and flavors at the highest quality.

Entirely assembled by robotic machinery, the core ingredients for each pie include homemade dough and tomato sauce, followed by Grande East Coast Mozzarella, along with seasonings.

Pies will be baked with toppings to create such classics as pepperoni or supreme pizzas, among other varieties. A build-your-own-pizza choice is also available, and will offer fresh topping options like onions, bacon, chicken, green peppers and olives.


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