Space Relays, Debris, & Traffic

Karen Rucker

Spacecraft Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer

Ball Aerospace

Karen Rucker is a Spacecraft Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer at Ball Aerospace. Her background in antenna design helps ensure successful spacecraft communication for various missions. Rucker is also currently working toward a master’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, focusing on remote sensing and RF engineering for aerospace.

Previously, Rucker was a 2017 Brooke Owens Fellow at HawkEye 360 and has also interned at NASA Kennedy Space Center and Lockheed Martin. She is a two-time analog astronaut at the Mars Desert Research Station and served as the first student commander of a mission for McLennan Community College, where she was also the college’s first female student to earn an associate’s degree in electrical engineering.

Additionally, Rucker volunteers for AIAA Diversity Scholars, American Astronautical Society CanSatm, Brooke Owens Fellowship, Space Generation Advisory Council and other intiatives. She is particularly committed to amplyfing and advocating for gender minorities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and the LGBTQ+ community.

Ryan Mclinko

CTO & Co-Founder

Astranis

Ryan McLinko is CTO and Co-Founder of Astranis, which is building small, low-cost, Geostationary, telecommunications satellites to bring the rest of the world online.  Astranis was started in 2015, launched a demo satellite last year, and will be launching its first commercial spacecraft to triple capacity over Alaska at the end of this year.  He is also a member of the Board of Trustees and Board of Advisors for SEDS-USA.  Prior to this, he was a Spacecraft Engineer and Mechanical/Electrical Teams Lead at Planet Labs, where he designed and built a fleet of cubesats that will re-image the entire planet’s surface every day, a Systems Engineer at Sierra Nevada Corporation, where he was developing flight control systems for the Dream Chaser vehicle and previously interned at SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, and InfoScietex Corporation. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering; his Master’s thesis was entitled “Structural Design of Low Cost, Rapid Development Satellites” and he was heavily involved with many projects while there, many of which were connected with the MITSEDS chapter.

Moriba Jah

Director, Computational Astronautical Sciences and Technologies (CAST)

Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, University of Texas Austin

Moriba Jah is the director for Computational Astronautical Sciences and Technologies (CAST), a group within the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Lead for the Space Security and Safety Program at the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Moriba came to UT Austin by way of the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory prior to that, where he was a Spacecraft Navigator on a handful of Mars missions. Moriba is a Fellow of multiple organizations: TED, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Astronautical Society (AAS), International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). He has served on the US delegation to the United Nations Committee On Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS), is an elected Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and has testified to congress on his work as related to Space Situational Awareness and Space Traffic Management. He’s an Associate Editor of the Elsevier Advances in Space Research journal, and serves on multiple committees: IAA Space Debris, AIAA Astrodynamics, IAF Astrodynamics, and IAF Space Security.

Lisa Locke

Deep Space Network Antenna Engineer

NASA-JPL

Lisa Locke, VE6LSW, was born north of the 60th parallel in Canada’s Northwest Territories, a region known for dark skies and aurorae. Spellbound by math and physics and ignoring a high school counsellor’s warning that “engineering is too hard”, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alberta. Volunteering at the campus observatory, a poster caught her eye – an electrical diagram of the 7-elemtn synthesis radio telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, BC drawn by her electronics professor, which led to a life-long fascination with the intersection of engineering and astronomy.

She has held astronomy instrumentation positions at the Canadian Space Agency, Caltech’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory, Cornell’s Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, and three National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) sites; Green Bank Observatory, the Very Large Array in Socorro, NM, and the Central Development Lab in Charlottesville, VA. Rounding out the on-site work experiences with some research, she earned a Master’s degree at the University of Cape Town, then a PhD at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. In 2018, Locke was the first engineer to ever win NRAO’s Jansky Fellowship, an honor previously only granted to astronomers. 

She is currently employed at NASA JPL’s Deep Space Network division, still fascinated by antennas and the night sky.

Ben Corbin

Research Staff Member

Science and Technology Policy Institute

Dr. Ben Corbin has a research background that touches on a wide variety of subjects related to space science and exploration. As a Research Staff Member at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, Ben has worked on a wide variety of topics in the past five years, including: planetary defense, small satellites; on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing; civil and commercial space program technical and economic evaluation, including private space stations, human spaceflight, and steroid mining; position, navigation, and timing systems; and critical infrastructure security and resilience. 

He has helped write numerous federal strategies and R&D plans for the Office of Science and Technology Policy. His doctoral research at MIT focused on the design and evaluation of distributed satellites and how to leverage the emergent capabilities of distributed satellites in space science missions.

Outside of work, Ben is an avid motorcycle rider, skydiver, sailor, and musician. He is the bass guitarist in a D.C.-based 80s heavy metal cover band and has played in Latin, funk, and jazz groups. Recently, he has been learning Anglo concertina and recording sea shanties for his niece and nephew.

Tyghe Speidel

Co-founder and Senior VP, Technology & Strategy

Lynk

Tyghe Speidel is the Co-founder and Senior VP, Technology & Strategy at Lynk. Tyghe manages and coordinates Lynk’s technology development activities, and coordinates internal engineering resources and priorities. Prior to Lynk, Tyghe was the Principal Spacecraft Systems Engineer at NexGen Space where he was responsible for system design and technology application on NexGen Space technical projects. Tyghe also worked as a Management Consultant for Accenture developing supply chain analytics and simulation capabilities for the DoD.

While at Accenture, Tyghe founded and was the global lead for Accenture’s commercial space community of practice, which he created to develop a portfolio of projects and clients for the firm in the commercial space sector. Tyghe gained his experience in orbital mechanics, satellite navigation and control, and spacecraft systems design as a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on terrestrial satellites and a Mars rover. He holds a BS and M. Eng in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University.