Speakers and Presenters


Allison Barto

Allison Barto

Senior Program Manager, Ball Aerospace

Allison Barto is the Program Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope at Ball Aerospace, where she leads the team responsible for delivering the optics and electronics for the 22-foot-wide telescope. When it launches to orbit the Sun one million miles from Earth, the Webb Telescope will be the most sensitive, largest aperture space telescope ever flown, capable of imaging the first light in the Universe and detecting signatures of life in the atmospheres of extra-solar planets. In addition to over fifteen years as an optical systems engineer and program manager developing the Webb Telescope, Allison has previously contributed to the Hubble Space Telescope science instruments and also currently manages the Ball Aerospace contribution to the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, a large ground-based telescope under construction in Chile. Allison was the recipient of the 2014 Women in Aerospace Achievement Award for her technical contributions to the James Webb Space Telescope. When not building the next generation astronomical observatories, Allison is actively involved promoting her passions in education, inquiry based learning, STEM, and educational equity and opportunity.

Patrick Binning

Patrick Binning

NSS Mission Area Executive, JHU APL

Patrick Binning is the Mission Area Executive for National Security Space at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. In this role, Binning is responsible for APL programs that focus on space solutions to critical national security challenges. Binning has nearly 25 years of experience in program management, research and development, technology transfer, satellite operations and executive management in the aerospace field. Before his new post he managed intelligence community programs within the National Security Space mission area. Binning joined APL in 2014, after serving as head of the Mission Management Office at the Naval Research Laboratory. He has also managed programs and directed research for the Missile Defense Agency, Office of the Secretary of Defense and National Reconnaissance Office, and served as Fellow in the Department of Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship program. He holds doctorate and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder; he earned a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Binning is a recognized domain expert, and presents and speaks regularly at national and international space and missile defense symposiums and conferences.


Anand Biradar

Anand Biradar

Avionics and Flight Controls Engineer, Top Flight Technologies

Anand Biradar is currently working on Avionics and Flight Controls Systems for MIT Startup "Top Flight Technologies", building hybrid-electric Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for long endurance and heavy payload applications. Prior to this, he worked on propulsions systems design and testing for industrial UAVs. After finishing his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University, he joined Planet Labs. Where he worked on orbital power budget simulations for cubsats and later designed, simulated and integrated first thermal management system for cubsats which was launched in 2015. Anand was Chapter Representative at SEDS Arizona State University Chapter and worked on various rocketry, robotics and UAV projects. He is involved with SEDS national team since last 4 years and has worked on multiple projects which includes starting of SpaceTalks, regional chapter collaborations and currently leading Chapter Expansion initiative.

Ben Brockert

CEO, Able Space Co


Steven Brody

Steven Brody

Vice President, North American Operations, & Lecturer International Space University (ISU)

Steve is ISU’s Vice President for North American Operations, managing the North American office, located in the Washington, DC area. His principal activities include serving on ISU’s Executive Committee to help guide and further the University’s development, maintaining and enhancing ISU’s relationships and support to public and private organizations and individuals in the space community, and supporting alumni affairs and the conduct of ISU’s current programs. As a Lecturer for ISU, he has focused on “Inspiring the Next Generation: Techniques for K-12 Classroom Visits” (based on his classroom outreach experiences at NASA), “Space and the Arts”, “Space, Spirituality, and Interfaith Dialogue”, plus “Lessons Learned” from selected NASA human and robotic missions. Before joining ISU, Steve held numerous senior positions with NASA in Washington, DC, Houston, and in Europe. He actively participated in the Discovery Program of planetary science missions and the SOFIA Airborne Observatory. In earlier roles, he contributed to NASA’s Strategic Planning, its investment in in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), and its support of the commercial development of space. While working on the International Space Station Program, he spent four years in The Netherlands as NASA’s representative to the European Space Agency (ESA), during which time he also assisted the mission of the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, serving on staff to the U.S. Ambassador on protocol matters relevant to NASA and the space program in general. Before his NASA career, Steve worked in aerospace industry, performing systems engineering and project management for Space Shuttle integration & test (STS-1 thru STS-6), and he also served in a business development role. He was a participant in the first NASA-sponsored summer study of the Colonization of Space with Professor Gerard K. O’Neill which resulted in the “Stanford Torus." Steve has a Bachelors degree in Physics (Drexel University), and a Masters degree in Aeronautics & Astronautics (MIT), where he performed space science research supported by the NSF and NASA under the guidance of Prof. Irwin I. Shapiro. Steve is a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society and has served on its Board of Directors, is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Society of Satellite Professionals International, Women in Aerospace, the Washington Space Business Roundtable, The Planetary Society, and the National Space Society.

Kevin Cannon

Kevin Cannon

Planetary Sciences Postdoc, University of Central Florida

Dr. Kevin Cannon is a postdoctoral scholar in planetary science at the University of Central Florida. He received a B.Sc. in Geological Sciences from Queen's University in 2012, and a Ph.D. in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences from Brown University in 2017. Kevin's research focuses on planetary materials and space resources. He uses laboratory experiments to synthesize the most realistic stand-ins for actual planetary samples, and combines this with orbital-scale remote sensing in order to better understand surface and interior processes very early in solar system history. His graduate work focused on the formation and evolution of the Martian crust, and he has now branched out to look at asteroids, moons, and in-situ resource utilization. Kevin coordinated the campaign for the Nili Fossae Trough, a potential landing site that made it to the shortlist of 8 landing sites being considered for NASA's Mars 2020 rover.


Rob Chambers

Rob Chambers

Director of Human Spaceflight Strategy and Business Development, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

Rob Chambers is the director of Human Spaceflight Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin’s Corporation’s Space Systems Company. In this role, he is focused on Lockheed Martin’s blueprint for deep space exploration, leveraging the company’s proven heritage in robotic and human spaceflight to extend humanity’s understanding of our solar system to answer fundamental questions about where we come from, where we’re going, and whether we’re alone in the universe. Rob has been with Lockheed Martin since 1993 and has worked on a variety of Space Systems Company programs including Earth remote sensing satellites, the Space Shuttle, Orion, and deep space habitats. Rob has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University. Throughout his career, Rob has led the development of guidance and controls subsystems, avionics, and flight software.

Brad Cheetham

Brad Cheetham

CEO, Advanced Space

Bradley Cheetham (CEO and President of Advanced Space LLC) leads company operations and strategy, delivering flight dynamics and operations software and services to clients across the space industry. Mr. Cheetham is a cofounder of Advanced Space, which was created to support the sustainable exploration, development, and settlement of space. He is the lead instructor and curriculum developer for a graduate level two-course sequence in Commercial Spaceflight Operations at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Future Space Leaders Foundation, is a member of the Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee of the International Astronautical Federation, and serves on the Board of Advisors and the Board of Trustees of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). Mr. Cheetham earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he has also conducted significant research on spacecraft navigation in support of a Doctorate of Philosophy.


John Conafay

John Conafay

Analyst, Bryce Space and Technology

John Conafay is a graduate of the design school at Arizona State University and veteran of the United States Air Force. John started his space career with the NewSpace Initiative and CubeSat laboratory in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU, and eventually worked for the Director of the school. He then went on to work as Business Operations Intern at Spire Global in San Francisco, CA where he worked to make operations more efficient and fostered his love for CubeSats. While working and pursuing his degree full-time, Conafay was Treasurer and then Executive Director of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, USA. While in these roles he, with his phenomenal team, streamlined operations, finance, and accounting systems, invested the national endowment, spearheaded the first national rebrand in over 35 years, and raised over $500,000 for the organization. John is currently an analyst with Bryce Space and Technology, formerly working on performance and budget analysis for NASA Headquarters before being asked to join the Bryce business development team.Space Generation Advisory Council. John is passionate about the economic development of low-income countries through the utilization of space, learning about the economic impacts of space weather, and is a huge comic nerd.

Nicholas Day

Nicholas Day

Mechanical Engineer, Jacobs

Nicholas Day is a Mechanical Design Engineer with Jacobs out of NASA Kennedy Space Center, working on the Test and Operations Support Contract (TOSC), sustaining and upgrading the Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) effort for the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. Mr. Day is currently the Co-Chairman for the Space Coast chapter of the Jacobs Future professional development group, responsible for submitting expense reports for corporate reimbursement, and acting as a representative in quarterly meetings with upper management. He is also working on a Lean 6 Sigma Green Belt project to improve the labor estimation process for design engineering work, as quoted by the department, to our NASA and commercial contractor customers. Nicholas was a member of the University at Buffalo Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) chapter from 2007-2011, holding several leadership positions, and subsequently earning a Dual Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. He is currently enrolled in the MBA in Aviation graduate program through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide, and is on track to hit an anticipated completion date of Summer 2018.


Marcia Fiamengo

Marcia Fiamengo

Founder, TouchSpace

For 17 years Marcia has been an advocate for space exploration and science education as an employee, contractor, and volunteer of NASA. As a U.S. citizen, she has been deeply committed to communicating with legislators on a state and national level concerning science progress and space exploration. These communications have consisted of letter writing and phone campaigns, DC office visits, and testifying in front of a Senate subcommittee. As a board member of Galactic Unite, Marcia worked with a group of executives and high-value financial contributors to develop the charitable STEM education foundation of Virgin Galactic. Before that, Marcia served as an executive for a space education non-profit, where she managed a group of volunteers, grew their programs nationally and pushed for minority inclusion and financial support. While there, Marcia secured funding and support to fly two experiments on the last shuttle mission and on the ISS, updated curriculum, and established strong partnerships with other space-focused entities. Since the non-profit was located in the D-M-V area, she is intimately familiar with the logistics and requirements of operating within federal and DC regulations. Marcia also co-produced a documentary about youth space involvement, called Generation eXplore, and has worked with Yuri’s Night as the director of special projects and San Francisco Bay development lead. Currently, Marcia is modelling galactic cosmic ray interference with the central nervous system and studying advanced economics with applications in space science education at Oregon State University. Also, she is a NASA JPL-CalTech Solar System Ambassador. Her non-profit, TouchSpace, is in the preliminary stages of developing a metric based evaluation platform for space outreach programs.

The Honorable Lori Garver

The Honorable Lori Garver

General Manager, Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l.

The Honorable Lori Garver serves as the General Manager of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l., the largest airline pilot union in the world. Prior to joining ALPA, Lori served as the Deputy Administrator of NASA. Her efforts at NASA focused on advancing U.S. aeronautics and space activities through technology development, partnerships and innovation. Other public roles have included being the lead civil space policy advisor to Mr. Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and the head of his transition team for NASA. She also served as the lead space policy advisor for the Hillary Clinton and John Kerry presidential campaigns. Lori started her career in Washington, DC working on Senator John Glenn's Presidential campaign. She has served as Executive Director of the National Space Society and as a Vice President at the Avascent Group. Lori is a co-founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship and a member of the Board of Directors of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA). Lori earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from Colorado College and a master’s degree in Science, Technology and Public Policy from George Washington University.


Chris Gebhardt

Chris Gebhardt

Assistant Managing Editor, NASASpaceflight.com

Chris Gebhardt is the Assistant Managing Editor of NASASpaceflight.com. Born and raised in Central Florida, space exploration has been a part of his life since birth, with numerous fond memories of watching Space Shuttle launches in his backyard and from Titusville with his parents. Chris is a graduate of Stetson University, where he studied English Composition and Rhetoric as well as American Cultural Studies. A writer at heart, Chris began his spaceflight reporting career in 2008 and has also written short movies and participated in writing projects and programs in Hollywood. A driving part of his desire to report on the space program isn’t just to keep people informed, but to share his passion, joy, and emotions surrounding space exploration.

Patrick Gray

Patrick Gray

PhD Student, Duke University

Patrick is currently a PhD student within the Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab at Duke University. Patrick's vision is to bridge the ocean and space exploration communities and solve the diverse yet surprisingly similar challenges faced in these two extreme environments. His current research uses drones and satellite remote sensing to monitor endangered species in the Antarctic. Previously Chief Technology Officer at WayPaver Foundation, an organization dedicated to pushing the boundaries of human exploration - both here on Earth and beyond, Patrick now serves on the Foundation's advisory council. Having served for three years as the Alumni Coordinator for Students for the Exploration and Development of Space he is an avid supporter of SEDS and their mission to empower young people to make an impact in space exploration. Patrick previously worked at Harvard University as a research technician in the Girguis Lab as well as at Moon Express as a Software Engineer developing their ground data systems and engineering team tools. Patrick graduated from the University of North Carolina as a Morehead-Cain Scholar with a degree in Computer Science where he founded UNC SEDS, co-founded the Sigma Phi Society, researched computer vision in humanoid robotics, and had two startup projects within the Chapel Hill incubator The 1789 Venture Lab.


Elaine Gresham

Elaine Gresham

Senior Program Manager, Bryce Space and Technology

Elaine Gresham is a Senior Program Manager at Bryce Space and Technology, with twenty years of experience focusing on civil space and technology assessment. Elaine has developed an expertise in leading and conducting projects in advanced space technologies, strategic technology planning, technology portfolio management, and strategic market assessments for NASA, the FAA, DoD, and commercial industry. Elaine has worked at Bryce Space and Technology (and its predecessor Tauri Group Space and Technology) for more than ten years, and currently manages a suite of projects providing portfolio management, technology assessment, and market analysis to NASA and customers in the commercial space industry. Before working at Bryce, Elaine worked at Futron Corporation for over seven years where she managed and participated in market forecasting, analysis, and advanced technology studies. Elaine has a Masters Degree in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from the George Washington University and currently lives in Chicago, IL.

Jennifer Gustetic

Jennifer Gustetic

Program Executive for SBIR/STTR, NASA HQ

Ms. Gustetic is the Program Executive for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR/STTR) at NASA Headquarters. The NASA SBIR and STTR programs fund small businesses approximately $200M annually for research, development, and demonstration of innovative technologies that fulfill NASA needs and have significant potential for successful commercialization. Ms. Gustetic worked at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2014-2016 as the Assistant Director for Open Innovation where she was responsible for scaling the use of open innovation approaches like prizes, crowdsourcing, and citizen science across the Federal Government. Among other accomplishments, in this role she co-founded GSA’s citizenscience.gov program and oversaw a cumulative doubling of the use of incentive prizes government-wide (from 350 total prizes conducted from 2010-2014 to 700 total prizes from 2010-2016). This White House role built on her previous experience as NASA’s Prizes and Challenges Program Executive where she served as NASA’s principle advocate, advisor and strategist for open innovation methods, As described by Popular Mechanics in August 2014: "In 2012, [NASA] also hired Jenn Gustetic, a vivacious woman with an aerospace engineering degree and a master's in technology policy from MIT, to engage the public as the first-ever Challenges and Prizes program executive. In this role, Gustetic, 32, uses her brains, charm, and wicked networking skills to increase grassroots participation in NASA's far-ranging mission. In the process, she's breaking down the wall that once separated a massive bureaucracy from the people it was supposed to serve." Ms. Gustetic also led NASA’s formulation efforts for its Grand Challenges including the Asteroid Grand Challenge to “find all asteroid threats to human populations and know what to do about them”. Additionally, Ms. Gustetic has consulted several Federal Government agencies on open government issues such as the Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development as the Associate Director for Strategic Engagement and Communications at Phase One Consulting Group. She also served as a Federal employee at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the senior program analyst for $400 million in annual transportation security grant programs. Ms. Gustetic holds a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in technology policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Sharon Hagle

Founder, Space Kids Global

Tina Harrington

Tina Harrington

Director of Signals Intelligence, National Reconnaissance Office

Ms. Tina Harrington, a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, is Director, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Systems Acquisition Directorate and Cadre Executive Director at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), Chantilly, VA. As SIGINT Director, she leads a joint team responsible for the design, development, and acquisition of United States Signals Intelligence Space Systems for the Intelligence Community, military services, and allied partners. Ms. Harrington grew up in Southern California and Colorado. She began her career as a technical staff member undergraduate with The Aerospace Corporation. She supported multiple programs in this role including Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) and MILSTAR. Upon graduation from college in 1991, Ms. Harrington became a full-time Member of the Technical Staff (MTS). Her initial assignments in the Engineering Technology Group included GPS and RADCAL, an experimental satellite. She also supported several NRO programs including multiple architecture studies that determined the SIGINT path. In 1995 she transitioned full time to the NRO where she served in a system engineering role on the development of the next generation of SIGINT systems. She also performed as a mission thread lead, coordinating and executing all aspects of the initialization and checkout of a new satellite. In 2002 Ms. Harrington transitioned to a management position with the Aerospace Corporation, continuing to support the NRO. Ms. Harrington joined the Central Intelligence Agency in May 2006 assigned to the Directorate of Science and Technology, with duty in the NRO SIGINT Directorate, Low Earth Orbit System Program Office (LSPO). Upon entry, she served as Deputy Director, Systems Engineering, LSPO. In 2007, as part of the NRO larger transformation, Ms. Harrington stood up and directed the new LSPO Missions Department. This role included responsibility for all payload hardware, mission analysis, payload software development, and mission engineering in support of future and ongoing initiatives. In 2009 Ms. Harrington became the Deputy Director of LSPO where her responsibilities were program management of the acquisition and development of a state-of-the-art satellite collection system to include technical, operations, budget, schedule, and personnel. In 2010 Ms. Harrington joined the Air Force as a Defense Intelligence Senior Leader to take the role of the Chief Scientist Signals Intelligence Systems Acquisition National Reconnaissance Office where her responsibilities included leading Intelligence Community and Department of Defense studies on satellite based signals intelligence architectures for 2020 and beyond. In 2012 Ms. Harrington was assigned as Director of the Systems Engineering Directorate, NRO, where her role was to lead the requirements, interfaces, and schedule development for the NRO future architecture to ensure that the new integrated system would accomplish mission needs.


Steve Harrison

Steve Harrison

Business Development Lead for Civil & Defense Space, Made In Space

Dr Steve Harrison is Business Development Lead for Civil & Defense Space. He retired from the Army in 1993 as Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary (Research and Technology). During his varied career Dr Harrison twice served on the White House Staff(Office of Science and Technology Policy; National Space Council); managed programs at the Defense Nuclear Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization; and, was an Assistant Professor of Physics at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. Dr. Harrison had the honor of commanding US Army Combat Engineer units in the US and Germany. Dr. Harrison received his Bachelors’ degree in physics from the United States Military Academy in 1971. Subsequently he was certified as a Registered Professional Engineer in 1975; received a Masters’ degree in nuclear engineering from Renesslaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1980; and, a Doctorate in nuclear engineering from RPI in 1984. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College and the Defense Systems Management College. Made In Space (MIS) is the space-based manufacturing company. MIS specializes in leveraging the unique properties of the environment to develop solutions to commercial, industrial, research and defense challenges. MIS sees a future where life and work is space are commonplace.

Phil Larson

Phil Larson

Chief of Staff and Assistant Dean, CU Boulder Engineering

Phil Larson is the assistant dean for strategy, planning, and communications for the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. Phil was the senior advisor for space and innovation at the White House, where he served from 2009 to 2014. Before joining CU Boulder, Larson was part of Elon Musk's SpaceX team, supporting communications efforts as well as managing corporate projects. At CU Boulder, Larson leads overall strategy and planning for the college. He also oversees engineering communications efforts internal to the College, across campus, and with external stakeholders. Larson is a member of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Commercial Space Operations advisory board, as well as the Science and Entertainment Exchange at the National Academy of Sciences. He received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace studies, with minors in space studies, psychology, human factors and communications, from Embry-Riddle. He completed graduate coursework in science and technology policy from The George Washington University before taking a job in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2009.


Sandy Magnus

Sandy Magnus

Executive Director, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Dr. Sandra H. “Sandy” Magnus is the Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. Born and raised in Belleville, Ill., Dr. Magnus attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, graduating in 1986 with a degree in physics and in 1990 with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She also holds a Ph.D. from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech (1996). Selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April, 1996, Dr. Magnus flew in space on the STS- 112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board. Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office. While at NASA, Dr. Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), as well as with Brazil on facility-type payloads. She also spent time in Russia developing and integrating operational products and procedures for the International Space Station. Before joining NASA, Dr. Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company from 1986 to 1991, as a stealth engineer. While at McDonnell Douglas, she worked on internal research and development and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program, studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques. Dr. Magnus has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 Award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX)

Celinda Marsh

Celinda Marsh

Consultant

Celinda Marsh is a consultant and space policy subject matter expert, currently exploring affiliation with several aerospace organizations. Her in-depth knowledge of the space budget process was developed while working in the Science and Space Branch of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a division of the White House that is staffed by career civil servants. Celinda’s portfolio centered on Space Technology investments at NASA, but she also worked with almost every corner of Headquarters at some point or another. In addition, Celinda managed the reporting process for Research and Development programs at all Federal Agencies. She frequently worked in collaboration with the staff of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, spearheading work on technology commercialization policies, and several interagency collaborations. Celinda was a mentor and Asteroids subject matter expert for the first year of the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program. As an undergraduate, Celinda was only briefly involved in the UT-Austin chapter of SEDS, as the activities didn’t align well with her studies in Geology and Geography. However, she wore her SEDS t-shirt advertising the “Asteroid Belt School of Mines” throughout her graduate studies at the University of Arizona. Celinda completed her Master’s degree in Planetary Science in 2007, with a thesis project on meteorites and asteroid geochemistry.


Ryan McLinko

Ryan McLinko

Cofounder, Astranis

Ryan McLinko is a Co-Founder of Astranis, which is modernizing space-based telecommunications. 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 InfoScietex Corporation, United Launch Alliance, and SpaceX. He also 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.

Phil Metzger

Phil Metzger

Associate Planetary Scientist, Florida Space Institute

Dr. Philip Metzger is a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida, performing research related to solar system exploration and space resources. He co-founded the Kennedy Space Center's Swamp Works technology development lab, and he is a founding member and the current chair of the ASCE Technical Committee for Regolith Operations, Mobility and Robotics. He received the astronaut’s Silver Snoopy award in 2010 and was selected as the Kennedy Space Center’s NASA Scientist/Engineer of the Year for 2011.


Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer

Mars Exploration Program Lead Scientist, NASA

Michael Meyer is a Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters in the Science Mission Directorate. He is the Lead Scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, responsible for the science content of current and future Mars missions, and Program Scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity mission. Dr. Meyer has also served as the science liaison for the Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee (Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation). In 2009, Dr. Meyer was awarded Exceptional Service Medal and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Professional Service. Meyer was the Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and Program Scientist for the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission, which was launched in 2001 and is still orbiting Mars. The Astrobiology Program, started in 1997 with Dr. Meyer as the Discipline Scientist, is dedicated to the study of the life in the universe. Since 1993, Dr. Meyer managed NASA’s Exobiology Program and from 1994 to 1997, Dr. Meyer was also the Planetary Protection Officer for NASA, responsible for mission compliance to NASA's policy concerning forward and back contamination during planetary exploration. Dr. Meyer was the Program Scientist for the Mars Microprobe mission (DS-2) and for two Phase I Shuttle/Mir experiments. Meyer was detailed from the Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada, where he was an assistant research professor from 1989-97. From 1985 to 1989, he served as associate director and associate in research for the Polar Desert Research Center, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University. In 1982, he was a visiting research scientist at the Culture Centre for Algae and Protozoa in Cambridge, England. Dr. Meyer's primary research interest is in microorganisms living in extreme environments, particularly the physical factors controlling microbial growth and survival. He has conducted field research in the Gobi Desert, Negev Desert, Siberia, and the Canadian Arctic. He is also a veteran of six research expeditions to Antarctica, to study microbial ecosystems in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (1985/87), investigate krill- phytoplankton relations (1978/81), and research primary productivity in the Weddell Sea (1977). His experience also includes two summers working as a treasure salvager off the coasts of Florida and North Carolina. Dr. Meyer earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in oceanography from Texas A&M University (1985 and 1981) and his B.S. in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1974).

Rob Mueller

Rob Mueller

Co-Founder, KSC Swamp Works

Rob Mueller is a senior technologist for Advanced Products Development in the Exploration Research and Technology Programs Directorate at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He is the co-founder of the NASA Swamp Works innovation labs and the Kennedy Granular Mechanics & Regolith Operations (GMRO) Lab. He is also Kennedy's lead for Autonomous-Robotic Systems involved with In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). Mueller is a former chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Committee for Regolith Operations, Mobility and Robotics, and former chairman of the ASCE Aerospace Division Executive Committee. He is a member of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space Resources Technical Committee. In 2010, Rob Mueller was the co-founder of the annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition for Universities and continues as the head judge for this competition to this day. Technical expertise includes robotics, mechanical systems design, composite materials, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), planetary outpost construction, surface and ground operations, conceptual systems design and mission architecture design. He has worked on the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, X-33, Atlas V, Orbital Space Plane, Second Generation Reusable Launch Vehicles, Mars Exploration Studies and Lunar Exploration programs. More recently, Mueller has been leading the development of technologies required for planetary surface systems, including developing the specifics of lunar, asteroid and Mars regolith excavation, mining and other robotic surface support equipment. Rob Mueller has worked for NASA at Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Miami in 1988 and a Master (MSSE) of International Space Systems Engineering from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands in 2006, as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1994. Mueller has 28 years of engineering and management experience in the space industry and has been the recipient of numerous NASA awards, including the astronaut's personal achievement "Silver Snoopy" award, a NASA Silver Achievement Medal and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. He has been awarded four U.S. patents for new technology inventions.


James Muncy

James Muncy

Founder and President, PoliSpace

James A. M. Muncy is the founder and president of PoliSpace, an independent space policy consultancy that helps space entrepreneurs and company executives succeed at the intersection of business, space technology, and public policy. Working in space policy for over 35 years, for the past two decades Muncy has worked both inside Congress and for industry to enact into law several major revisions to the Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984. In 2015, he led industry’s participation in crafting and advocating for enactment of Title I of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-90), established federal jurisdiction over spaceflight accident liability and a required crosswaiver by spaceflight participants, as well as support for industry self-regulation via consensus safety standards. Previously, in 2011-2 he managed the successful legislative campaign to extend the original regulatory “learning period.” And in 2003-4 he led industry’s proposal, negotiation, and support for enacting the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-492). Among Muncy’s other DOT-relevant client achievements: architecting a policy approach that enabled the FAA Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation to authorize via launch license the first commercial mission beyond Earth orbit, Moon Express’ proposed robotic lunar lander; securing multiple extensions of federal space launch indemnification authority; and developing a reform agenda for commercial space regulation in support of a U.S. Air Force study of ultra-low-cost access to space. Additionally, Muncy has extensive experience working with commercial space transportation projects for NASA civil programs and for military space initiatives. Muncy’s most recent government service was from 1995 into 2000 in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served on the Professional Staff of the House Science Committee’s Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee as Chairman Dana Rohrabacher’s staff designee. A long-time leader in the space advocacy community, Muncy co-founded the Space Frontier Foundation in 1988 and served as its Chairman of the Board for six years. He is a frequent speaker, writer, and media source on space policy issues and commercial, civil, and military space programs. Muncy holds an MS in Space Studies from the Center for Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota and a BA from the University of Virginia, where he was an Echols Scholar. He is a native of Washington, D.C., and lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife Maureen and their feline adoptees, Sasha and Mia.

The Honorable Dr. Dava Newman

The Honorable Dr. Dava Newman

Professor, MIT

The Honorable Dr. Dava Newman is the Apollo Program Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 2015 - 2017, she served as the Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the Obama Administraation. In that role, she and then-Administrator Charles Bolden were responsible for providing overall leadership, planning, and policy direction for NASA. She was responsible for articulating the agency's vision and representing NASA to the Executive Office of the President, Congress, heads of federal government agencies, international space agencies, and industry. During NASA’s 58–year history, Dr. Newman was the first female engineer and scientist to serve as NASA Deputy Administrator, and she focused on articulating the human Journey to Mars, highlighting scientific missions, advocating for transformative aeronautics capabilities, developing and implementing a strategic innovation framework, and advocating for diversity and inclusion for NASA and the nation’s STEM initiatives by changing the conversation to include science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and design, or STEAMD. Dr. Newman’s research expertise is in multidisciplinary aerospace biomedical engineering investigating human performance across the spectrum of gravity. She is a leader in advanced space suit design, dynamics and control of astronaut motion, leadership development, innovation and space policy. Newman was the principal investigator on 4 spaceflight missions. The Space Shuttle Dynamic Load Sensors (DLS) experiment measured astronaut-induced disturbances of the microgravity environment on mission STS-62. An advanced system, the Enhanced Dynamic Load Sensors experiment, flew on board the Russian Mir Space Station from 1996–1998. Dr. Newman was a Co-Investigator on the Mental Workload and Performance Experiment (MWPE) that flew to space on STS-42 to measure astronaut mental workload and fine motor control in microgravity. She also developed the MICR0-G space flight experiment to provide a novel sensor suite and study human adaptation in extreme environments. She is the MIT PI on the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Suit, or Skinsuit, onboard the International Space Station as an ESA technology demonstration 2015-2017. Best known for her second skin BioSuit™ planetary EVA system, her advanced spacesuits inventions are now being applied to “soft suits” to study and enhance locomotion on Earth. Newman is the author of Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design, an introductory engineering textbook and has published more than 300 papers in journals and refereed conferences, and holds numerous compression technology patents. She has supervised 90 graduate student theses and supervised and mentored over 200 undergraduate researchers.


Carlos Niederstrasser

Carlos Niederstrasser

Master Systems Engineer, Orbital ATK

Carlos is a Master Systems Engineer with Orbital ATK, and currently supports corporate strategic activities, new business pursuits, and a number of special initiatives. Some of the programs Carlos has supported at Orbital ATK include the Antares Accident Investigation Board, the Dawn interplanetary spacecraft, the OrbView remote sensing system, and the Cygnus CRS resupply mission. Carlos leads a number of cross-group activities and outreach efforts. He is a member of the three-party steering committee for the first-of-its-kind Space Systems and Technology Program in the United Arab Emirates. Carlos is also responsible for Orbital ATK’s Warp 10 program – an innovation incubator established for the development of new employee-driven ideas. Prior to joining Orbital ATK, Carlos served as program manager for Stanford’s student-built satellite – OPAL. OPAL demonstrated the feasibility of launching multiple picosatellites from a mothership satellite, and served as the direct predecessor to the CubeSat standard. He also served as chapter President and National Vice-Chair for SEDS. Carlos earned a BSE in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University, an MS and an EAA in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He is also a graduate of the International Space University.

Jillianne Pierce

Jillianne Pierce

Federal Government Relations Manager, Space Florida

Jillianne Pierce is the Federal Government Relations Manager for Space Florida. In this capacity, she regularly interfaces with industry, the United States Congress, the Administration, and various federal and international departments and agencies to effectively convey and clarify Space Florida initiatives and priorities. Prior to working at Space Florida, Jillianne worked as Government Affairs Associate for the Space Foundation, and Government Relations Coordinator for Walt Disney World. A member of the Florida bar and the International Institute of Space Law, Jillianne earned a J.D. from the University of Miami and a B.A. from the University of Central Florida.


William Pomerantz

William Pomerantz

VP Special Projects, Virgin Orbit

Will Pomerantz is the Vice President for Special Projects at Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, the innovative launch company for small satellites. Working in the same role at Virgin Galactic from 2011 - 2017, he helped start Virgin Orbit, as part of his remit to extend Virgin Galactic's efforts beyond space tourism. He is also the Chair of the Board of Advisors of SEDS-USA and Co-Founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program, a prestigious mentorship and work experience program for women pursuing aerospace careers. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of ROOM, a Space Journal, among other activities. In addition to countless presentations he has given on behalf of his employers, a TEDx talk explaining why humans explore space. Will is a graduate of Harvard, the NASA Academy, and the International Space University. From 2005 - 2011, he worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, serving as the primary author and manager of the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE. He has also worked at Brown University, the Futron Corporation, and the United Nations, among others. Will was the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of SpaceAlumni.com, an early social network for space professionals. Additionally, Will has served on a US Federal Advisory Committees, on for the National Academies of Science and Engineering and one for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Kristine Ramos

Kristine Ramos

Space Launch System Design Engineer, Boeing

Kristine Ramos is a design engineer for Boeing’s Space Launch system (SLS) program, designing parts for the Purge, Vent, Hazards and Gas (PVHG) System and the Thermal Protection System (TPS) for the Core and Upper Stages of the SLS rocket -- a key NASA human spaceflight initiative on America's journey to deep space. Ramos has expansive experience with the Boeing Company. In addition to numerous space programs like SLS, Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station – she has also contributed to the Aviation Enginneering Directorate’s Black Hawk and Chinook Rotorcrafts as an corrosion and composite engineer. Ramos graduated from Florida State University in with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering. At Boeing, she serves as a site chair and member of a number of key leadership development programs and initiatives.


Victoria Richmond

Victoria Richmond

Aerospace Engineer, Harris Corporation

Victoria Richmond received her PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Caltech in 2014 with a focus on material strength analysis using shock waves. She also holds a MS degree in Aerospace Engineering from Caltech and a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from MIT. Since joining Harris Corporation upon the completion of her graduate studies, Victoria has worked with commercial and classified satellite systems, starting her career in the analysis of unfurlable mesh reflectors. In her current role as a Mission Analyst and Principle Investigator in the ISR Business Unit she leads cross-functional teams to develop and analyze next generation satellite missions. She is also the lead of the Smallsat and Hosted Payload training initiative which gives employees insight into the development of Small Satellite systems as an end-to- end solution.

Todd Romberger

Todd Romberger

VP of Commercial Space, Space Florida

Todd Romberger is Vice President of Commercial Space at Space Florida, where he leads sector-focused business development, deal formation, and investment for Space Florida, specializing in high growth commercial space markets including small satellites, small launch vehicles, in-space manufacturing, and suborbital spaceflight. Prior to joining Space Florida, Todd held operational roles throughout the space industry including as a satellite operator of the Genesis I and Genesis II experimental expandable spacecraft at Bigelow Aerospace, and as a weightless flight coach for ZERO-G where he has accumulated over 500 weightless parabolas on commercial flights. Todd was the first person to taste test beer designed for consumption in space in a microgravity environment, and served on Crew 46 of the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. He has also held engineering roles at Lockheed Martin and ASRC Aerospace, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Central Florida, where he served as President of SEDS-UCF and Vice Chair of SEDS-USA.


Emilee Speck

Emilee Speck

Journalist, WKMG-TV

Emilee Speck is a digital journalist for the Orlando CBS station, WKMG. She has covered the space industry since 2014, first for the Orlando Sentinel and now for WKMG, writing about spacecraft missions to Pluto, Jupiter, Mercury and more. Emilee regularly covers launches at Kennedy Space Center and the effects the commercial space industry boom is having on the Space Coast. Emilee is a Brevard County native and daughter of a NASA engineer who grew up watching launches from her Merritt Island backyard. She is an alumna of the University of North Florida journalism program.

Eric Stallmer

Eric Stallmer

President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Eric Stallmer is the President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. The CSF is the largest trade organization representing over 75 organizations, dedicated to promoting the development of commercial spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. As CSF President, Stallmer develops the strategy, plans and communications for the organization and works closely with CSF member companies to advocate for the commercial space industry. Prior to joining CSF, Stallmer served as the Vice President of Government Relations at Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI). Stallmer joined AGI in 2002, during his time at AGI, Stallmer represented AGI’s commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products and technology to defense, intelligence, Congress, and civil government sectors within the aerospace industry. Stallmer came to AGI from The Space Transportation Association (STA), a nonprofit, industry trade organization providing government representation to companies with a vested interest in the U.S space launch industry. Prior to that, Stallmer worked on Capitol Hill in the office of then Congressman Tom Coburn. For over two decades, Stallmer has served as an Officer in the United States Army and Army Reserves. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service while engaged in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is currently assigned to the Pentagon in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff Army for Logistics, G-4. Stallmer earned a Masters of Arts Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and History from Mount Saint Mary College. He and his wife Amy live in McLean, Virginia with their three children, Charlie, Billy and Catherine.


Nicole Stott

Nicole Stott

Artist / Astronaut (ret)

Nicole has explored from the heights of outer space to the depths of our oceans. She marveled at the awesomeness of our planet experienced through these vantage points, and she believes that sharing this perspective has the power to increase everyone’s appreciation of and obligation to care for our home planet and all who inhabit it. Nicole is a veteran NASA Astronaut with two spaceflights, one spacewalk, and 104 days living and working in space as a crewmember on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She is also a NASA Aquanaut and was a crewmember on the longest duration saturated dive mission on the Aquarius undersea laboratory. Always an Artist, Nicole was the First Astronaut to Paint in Space. Nicole combines her spaceflight experience and artwork to inspire audiences to think creatively about solutions to our planetary and personal challenges, and to increase awareness of the outstanding work being done every day in space to improve life here on Earth. She uniquely shares the impression of our planet from the orbital and undersea perspectives, while stressing the significance of our planetary community and environment, a renaissance approach to education and wellness, and the surprising interplay between science and art.

Joel Vinas

Joel Vinas

Executive Director, Center for Space Commerce and Finance

Joel Viñas was raised in Florida, in the shadow of the Space Coast. After service in the U.S. Marine Corps as an avionics calibration technician, Joel transitioned from technical proficiency towards a business focus. A Star Trek fan, Joel was torn between "engineering gold" or "command red" – so decided to do both. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in business management at the University of Central Florida, Joel began advising entrepreneurs in college, taking a leadership role as the vice president of both the entrepreneurship club and the economics club. Upon graduating, Joel’s dormant passion for space was renewed by the progress of the commercial space market. Since then, he’s been an ardent supporter of human space settlement while honing his unique business and analytical insight through various roles as marketing, business and operations analyst. A certified project manager, Joel has been an integral part of the NewSpace Business Plan Competition, ensuring smooth operations and applying his tight tolerances to the presentations. Joel is an Advocate for the Space Frontier Foundation, and a member of the National Space Society, Planetary Society and Chicago Astronomical Society. In addition to his role with The Center, Joel serves as co-founder of Chicago’s space-centric networking organization, NewSpace Chicago.


Colonel Z. Walter Jackim

Colonel Z. Walter Jackim

45th Space Wing Vice Commander, United States Air Force

Col. Z. Walter Jackim is the 45th Space Wing Vice Commander at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. He is responsible for the processing and launching of U.S. government and commercial satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. He serves as a Launch Decision Authority with final approval for launches on the Eastern Range, a 15-millionsquare-mile area which supports an average of 20 launches per year aboard various launch vehicles. He leads more than 13,000 military, DOD civilian and contractor personnel assigned to operating locations in Florida, Ascension, and Airmen deployed worldwide in support of contingency operations overseas. Col. Jackim received his commission through the United States Air Force Academy in 1996. He has since held a variety of command, staff, and operations positions across the space and nuclear enterprises. Some of these positions include: Commander, 6th Space Warning Squadron, Cape Cod, Mass.; Operations Planner, US Strategic Command; Senior Space Duty Officer, Joint Space Operations Center; Chief, Defense Satellite Communications System Engineering Branch; and Senior Evaluator, Peacekeeper ICBM. He also served on the Air Force Nuclear Task Force, and the US Delegation to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty Joint Compliance and Inspection Commission. Col. Jackim is a graduate of the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.; the School of Advanced Military Studies and the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; and Webster University, Colo.

Loretta Whitesides

Loretta Whitesides

Founder Astronaut and Consultant, Virgin Galactic

Having dreamed of space since she was a little girl, Loretta wants to use the power of space to shift our perspectives, connect us with each other and become the kind of species we would be proud to send to the nearest star. After studying astrobiology at Stanford and Caltech, Loretta worked in the Astronaut Office in Houston Texas, did research on plant life in the Canadian Arctic, dove to the bottom of the ocean with Titanic Director James Cameron to film the IMAX “Aliens of the Deep,” floated weightless as a Flight Director for Zero Gravity Corporation, studied terraforming Mars with Dr. Chris McKay, worked for the X Prize during the $10M Ansari X Prize flights in 2004, helped launch the Space Generation Advisory Council in 1999, and Co-Created Yuri’s Night, The World Space Party in 2001. Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides has been a Future Astronaut with Virgin Galactic since 2005. She currently lives outside Los Angeles with her husband George and their two kids and leads leadership development training for Virgin Galactic staff.