Speakers and Guests
Tory Bruno CEO, United Launch Alliance
Salvatore T. “Tory” Bruno is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) for United Launch Alliance (ULA). In this role, Bruno serves as the principal strategic leader of the organization and oversees all business management and operations. Prior to joining ULA, he served as the vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, a leading provider of ballistic missile and ballistic missile defense systems supporting U.S. Department of Defense customers, as well as the U.K. Royal Navy and Ministry of Defense. Bruno joined Lockheed Martin in 1984, and his earlier positions there included leadership of FBM, ICBM, THAAD and Strategic Missiles Programs, as well as engineering positions involving FBM Rocket Propulsion, design and analysis for control systems, rockets and hypersonic reentry vehicles. He holds several patents. Bruno has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, and has completed graduate courses and management programs at Harvard University, Santa Clara University, the Wye River Institute, San Jose State University and the Defense Acquisition University.
Robert Bell Executive Director, Society of Satellite Professionals International
Robert Bell is Executive Director of the Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI), where he is responsible for the programs, finances and operations of the Society. Under his leadership, SSPI has introduced new programs focusing on advancing satellite industry workforce practices and promoting enormous contributions of satellite to the world economy, governance, human welfare, peace and security. His team has also established effective partnerships with educational institutions and associations to attract young people to careers in the first and most successful business operating in space today. A frequent speaker and writer on satellite topics, Robert has contributed content to Via Satellite, Satellite News, Asia-Pacific Satellite, Satellite Executive Briefing and Telecommunications, and has appeared in segments of ABC World News and The Discovery Channel.
Ben Brockert Founder and CEO, Able Space Co.
Mr. Brockert has been a member of five "new space" startup companies, with roles on both the founder and management side as well as engineering, rocket propulsion design, testing, and hands-on technical work. A specialty has been working on nearly a dozen Vertical Takeoff/Vertical Landing (VTVL) rocket vehicles, with three of them winning four prizes totaling $3,125,000. While attending Iowa State University Ben was the Vice Chair of SEDS-USA and Vice President of the Iowa State Space Society.
Steve Brody Vice President, North American Operations, International Space University
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”, “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-situresource utilization, and its support of the commercial development of space. While working on the ISS 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. He was a participant in the first NASA-sponsored summer study of the Colonization of Space with Professor Gerard K. O’Neill (“Space Settlements”, NASA SP-413). 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 Society of Satellite Professionals International, Women in Aerospace, the Washington Space Business Roundtable, The Planetary Society, and the National Space Society.
Barrett Caldwell Professor, Purdue University
Dr. Barrett Caldwell is a Professor in Industrial Engineering, and Aeronautics & Astronautics, at Purdue University. Barrett's research team focuses on how people get, share and use information… well. What is needed, and what Barrett's work highlights, is an engineering approach to explore and develop units of knowledge sharing that help improve productivity, safety, and effectiveness of teams on earth and in space. Barrett has been an author on over 150 scientific publications and graduated over 12 PhD and over 30 MS thesis students. Over his 15 years as Director of the NASA-funded Indiana Space Grant Consortium (INSGC), he has managed over $10 million in NASA education and outreach funds, and helped support over 250 STEM students in undergraduate and graduate programs across 25 INSGC academic and outreach affiliates. Barrett serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments, an open-access peer-reviewed scientific and practitioner journal, published and supported by Purdue Libraries / Purdue Scholarly Publishing Services. He is a Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), and a Purdue University Faculty Scholar (2011-16).During the 2016-17 year, Barrett is serving as a Jefferson Science Fellow based at the US Department of State in Washington, DC.
Rob Chambers Systems Engineering Senior Manager, Lockheed Martin
Rob Chambers 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, and Orion. Rob has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University, and over the years has led the development of guidance and controls subsystems, avionics, and flight software. Rob has been with Orion since 2006 and is currently the program strategy lead for Orion production, focused on defining the capabilities and timelines for Orion’s future exploration missions.
Brad Cheetham CEO, Advanced Space
Bradley Cheetham is the CEO and President of Advanced Space, LLC where he leads company operations and strategy to deliver software and services related to flight dynamics and operations to clients across the space industry. Mr. Cheetham also serves as the COO of Black Swift Technologies, a commercial unmanned aircraft and avionics development company and 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 for 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.
Jeff Feige CEO, Orbital Outfitters
Jeff Feige is the CEO of Orbital Outfitters and has been in that role since 2007. Over the course of his career, he has worked exclusively for NewSpace entrepreneurial space companies as a consultant for both government affairs and government marketing. Prior to his work at Orbital Outfitters, he worked for Polispace, a consulting firm focused on supporting entrepreneurial spaceflight firms. He was also the Assistant to the Executive Director of the Aerospace States Association, an organization devoted to developing the aviation and space industries through the tools available to state governments. Today, he also serves as chairman of the Board of the Space Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to opening the space frontier for all humanity. In addition to his work in the NewSpace industry, he helped found Talon Aerospace, an LED lighting firm that develops internal and external lighting solutions for the commercial air transportation industry. He is an avid sailor, SCUBA diver, sky diver, and pilot.
Ambarish Gouriseth Engineering Analyst, O3b Networks
Michael Grant Professor, Purdue University
Dr. Michael Grant joined the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University in 2012 as an assistant professor. He leads research and educates in the areas of hypersonic performance, multidisciplinary design, guidance development, and pinpoint landing to support planetary exploration and missions of national interest. He is responsible for graduate and undergraduate eduction in aerospace design, optimal control, and hypersonic performance. Dr. Grant developed a new, integrated methodology to enable rapid simultaneous hypersonic aerodynamic and trajectory optimization to support conceptual design while at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 2006-2012. Dr. Grant received his BS in Aeronuatical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University in 2005, MS in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008, and PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012.
Farshid Jafarpour Postdoctoral Researcher, Purdue University
Dr. Jafarpour received his undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Physics from North Carolina State University in 2010. Then, he moved to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he received his master's degree in Mathematics and Ph.D. in Physics under supervision of professor Nigel Goldenfeld. During his Ph.D., he worked on several different problem such as dynamics of topological defects in plastic deformation of crystalline material and pattern formation in nonequilibrium chemical systems before joining NASA Astrobiology Institute for Universal Biology where he worked on mechanisms for open-ended growth of complexity in evolution and origin of life based on self-referential dynamics. In addition, he proposed a new mechanism for the origin of biological homochirality based on the stochasticity of the chemical reactions that lead to the origin of life. Dr. Jafarpour is a recipient of Scott Anderson Award for his work on the origin of biological homochirality. He was a long term visitor in Earth-Life Science Institute at Tokyo Institute of Technology working on open-ended growth of complexity. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in professor Iyer-Biswas lab in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University performing experimental and theoretical research on biophysics of stochastic single cell dynamics and bioenergetics.
Hannah Kerner PhD Student, Machine Learning, Arizona State University
Hannah Kerner is the elected Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit that works to enable human settlement by fostering the commercial space industry. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Exploration Systems Design at Arizona State University, researching machine learning applications for planetary science and robotics. She is the flight software lead for the Lunar polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map), a cubesat that will be launched to the Moon in 2018. Previously, Hannah worked as an embedded software engineer for Planet Labs, at NASA's Langley Research Center and Goddard Space Flight Center, and served as the Chairman of Students for the Exploration & Development of Space. Hannah earned her B.S. in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When she's not working in the lab or on a computer, she can be found learning to fly airplanes, scuba diving, hiking, or exploring a good book.
Jane Kinney Assistant Director, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Jane Kinney is the Assistant Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Her main focuses for CSF include Export Control, Standards, the Suborbital Research Applications Group, and the Research & Education Affiliates Program. She has previously worked as a flight controller in Mission Control for the International Space Station Program at NASA Johnson Space Center. At the time she was a contractor who was employed by United Space Alliance. Previously, she worked as a Systems Engineer Co-op for Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation in both the Boulder and Westminster, Colorado offices. During her time at BATC she worked on a range of programs including Kepler, the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite (OMPS), and the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). Kinney received a B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University with a minor in English Literature. Her degree technical focuses were Propulsion and Dynamics & Controls.
Cody Knipfer Associate, PoliSpace
Cody Knipfer is an Associate at PoliSpace, an D.C.-based independent space policy consultancy serving clients in the commercial space industry. He concurrently serves as the Policy Assistant of the Space Frontier Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit working to open the space frontier for the permanent settlement of humankind. Prior to joining PoliSpace, he was a space policy intern with the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. A 2015 graduate of McDaniel College in Maryland, where he received his B.S. in political science and international studies, Cody is now pursuing his graduate degree at George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute, where his research focus is on public-private partnerships in the space industry and international space policy. A prolific painter, he anticipates becoming a starving artist if his space policy career aspirations don’t pan out.
Kris Lehnhardt Assistant Professor/Attending Physician, George Washington University
Dr. Kris Lehnhardt is an Attending Physician and Assistant Professor at The George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine and Health Sciences who specializes in Emergency Medicine, Extreme Environmental Medicine, and Aerospace Medicine. He is the Director of the Introduction to Human Health in Space graduate course at GWU and the Chair of the Human Performance in Space Department at the International Space University Space Studies Program. In addition, Dr. Lehnhardt is a reservist in the Royal Canadian Air Force, an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), a private pilot, and a PADI advanced open water SCUBA diver.
Ryan McLinko Co-Founder, Astranis
Ryan McLinko is a Co-Founder of Astranis, which is building small, low-cost telecommunications satellites. 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.
Jay Melosh Distinguished Professor, Purdue Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Melosh is a Distinguished Professor of EAPS and also holds appointments in the departments of Physics and Astronomy and Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering. He received his PhD in Physics and Geology from Caltech. His principal research interests are impact cratering, planetary tectonics, and the physics of earthquakes and landslides. His recent research includes studies of the giant impact origin of the moon, the K/T impact that extinguished the dinosaurs, the ejection of rocks from their parent bodies, and the origin and transfer of life between the planets. He was a science team member of NASA’s Deep Impact mission that successfully cratered comet Tempel 1 and flew by comet Hartley 2, and he is a Co-Investigator of the GRAIL mission that returned detailed data on the Moon’s gravity field. Asteroid #8216 was named “Melosh” in his honor. He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the McCoy award of Purdue University.
Kevin Metrocavage Executive Officer, NASA Education Office
Kevin Metrocavage is a former NASA Flight Controller, Instructor, and Manager for the International Space Station (ISS) Motion Control Systems. As an Attitude Determination and Control Officer (ADCO), he planned, coordinated, monitored, and executed maneuvers in support of a variety of complex operations from the Mission Control Centers in Houston, TX (NASA Johnson Space Center) and in Korolev, Russia. Kevin supported 18 ISS Assembly Missions and numerous ISS Expeditions in a diverse set of roles. He has been recognized by NASA with multiple individual and team awards, most notably as a NASA Spaceflight Awareness Honoree, one of the highest awards presented to NASA and industry personnel. Prior to joining NASA, Metrocavage worked as a counselor at U.S. Space Camp and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University, where he recently served on the Alumni Board of Directors. He currently serves as the Executive Officer to the Associate Administrator of Education at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. In this role, Metrocavage provides advice and support to NASA Education senior leadership on a broad spectrum of functional management issues. Kevin enjoys spending his free time with family and friends, playing/watching sports, exhibits an eternal passion for human spaceflight, and strives to inspire the next generation of space explorers.
Mike Mongo Author, The Astronaut Instruction Manual
"Astronaut teacher" Mike Mongo is author of children's book The Astronaut Instruction Manual. As a STEM/STEAM educator, Mr. Mongo works to encourage young students to pursue careers in space science and space-related fields. Additionally, he is a proponent of interstellar space science and exploration, and is chief brand & culture officer for Icarus Interstellar and strategic director of interstellar space science summit Starship Congress. Presently, Mr Mongo is the oldest active student member of SEDS; he proudly serves as At-Large Board Member on the board of SEDS USA. Mike is co-founder of the BUILD A STARSHIP and Space is for Everybody initiatives, and is based out of Key West, FL, where he lives with his wife Leonie Thompson-Mongo and a family of five semi-feral cats.
Michael Mosier HR Generalist, DigitalGlobe
Cornelia Naumof HR Manager & Business Partner, Americas, O3B Networks
Colin Nugen Orion Systems Engineer, Lockheed Martin
Colin Nugen is a systems engineer on the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) working for Lockheed Martin in Denver, Colorado. He is part of the European Service Module (ESM) integration team, responsible for ensuring the ESM integrates with the rest of the MPCV and fulfills its requirements. His primary responsibilities are ESM-MPCV interface design and definition and ESM mass management. Colin also works on expanding the role and planned missions for Orion, by advocating space travel to the government, industry and public, with the aim to bring humans to Mars aboard Orion in the next 10 – 15 years. He began his career with Lockheed Martin the summer of 2014. Colin is a proud alumni of the University of Colorado – Boulder, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2014. During his time there, he worked for Space Grant and was involved with SEDS, which included serving as VP of the Boulder chapter for a year. Colin is still involved with SEDS and CU, and hopes to continue to foster a strong relationship between Lockheed Martin, the university, and SEDS.
Antonio Paris Chief Scientist, The Center for Planetary Science
Antonio Paris is a Professor of Astronomy at St. Petersburg College, FL. Additionally, he is an Astronaut Candidate for Project PoSSUM's Suborbital Mission supported by NASA's Flight Opportunities Program; the Director of Planetarium and Space Programs at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, FL; and the Chief Scientist at the Center for Planetary Science – a science outreach program promoting astronomy, planetary science, and astrophysics to the next generation of space explorers. Prof. Paris, moreover, is a 2015 graduate of NASA’s Mars Education Program at the Mars Space Flight Center, Arizona State University. He is currently the Primary Investigator at Site B 10-meter Radio Telescope in Central Florida.
Grace Polhemus HR Manager, SES
Will Pomerantz VP of Special Projects, Virgin Galactic
Will Pomerantz is the Vice President for Special Projects at Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. In that role, Will helps extend Virgin Galactic’s business beyond suborbital space tourism, developing efforts such as the LauncherOne orbital launch vehicle for small satellites as well as suborbital research campaigns on board SpaceShipTwo. Will also serves as a Trustee and the Chair of the Board of Advisers for the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), the world's largest student space organization; as the co-founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program, designed to train women pursuing careers in aviation or space exploration; as an advisor to WayPaver Labs, a nonprofit dedicated to pushing the boundaries of human exploration; and as a member of the Professional Development Committee of Women in Aerospace. Will is a graduate of Harvard University, the NASA Academy, and the International Space University. Prior to joining Virgin Galactic, he worked at the non-profit XPRIZE Foundation, where he served as the primary author and manager of the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE. Will has also worked at Brown University, the Futron Corporation, and the United Nations, and was the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of SpaceAlumni.com, an early social network for space professionals. He previously served on the Federal Aviation Administration's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee and on a National Academies committee studying issues impacting the national aerospace workforce.
D. Marshall Porterfield Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University
D. Marshall Porterfield is a Professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering with a joint appointment in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Dr. Porterfield received his B.S. from the University of South Alabama in biology with a focus on cell biology and his Ph.D. at Louisiana State University. Dr. Porterfield conducted post-doctoral research at the Marine Biological Lab at Woods Hole in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Before joining the ABE faculty in 2005 he was an assistant professor in Biological Sciences & Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla.
Sian Proctor Professor of Geology, South Mountain Community College
Sian Proctor is a geology professor at South Mountain Community College (SMCC) in Phoenix, Arizona. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science, M.S. in Geology, and a Ph.D. in Science Education. Both her master’s and doctoral research involved the use of technology to understand how individuals learn. She teaches hybrid and online geology, planetary science, and sustainability classes and has traveled and taught around the world. Sian has a passion for life-long learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In the summer of 2004, she helped run a two-month summer internship program at Kennedy Space Center, has been a mentor for SMCC's Arizona Space Grant Consortium projects, and was a finalist for the 2009 NASA Astronaut Program. In 2010 she was on the Discovery Channel TV show called The Colony where she learned to survive and rebuild society in a post-apocalyptic environment. Sian's 2012-13 sabbatical was at FEMA's Emergency Management Institute where she helped create their science of disasters curriculum. In 2013, she was the education outreach officer on a four-month NASA-funded mock Mars mission called Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation. During the mock Mars mission, she created education outreach videos and had a photography contract for Discover Magazine. In 2014 she was a PolarTREC teacher researching climate change and coastal erosion in Barrow, Alaska. This past spring Sian was featured in a new PBS series called Genius by Stephen Hawking. She's in Episode 3: Are We Alone where she learns to search for intelligent life in the universe. Sian spent this past summer on a South America adventure where she was a 2016 Astronomy Educator Ambassador to Chile. When Sian is not teaching or travelling she enjoys inspiring students to create opportunity for themselves in STEM careers.
Sridhar Ramasubban Global Business Development and Partnerships, Team INDUS
Team Indus is on the cusp of transforming the economics of the space industry. It seeks to provide value oriented strategies for those seeking access and solutions in space. Sri is on the leadership team of Team Indus and focusses on Global Business development and partnerships. He brings a wealth of experience in business strategy, product, marketing, as well as P&L management. Having built and scaled successful businesses, this remains his toughest, yet most fulfilling challenge.
Hale Reynolds Technical Lead, Emerging Markets, Space Systems Loral
Hale is a Director of Business Development at SSL, one of the world’s leading providers of satellites and spacecraft systems. In this role he brings the experience and resources of an established industry leader to help non-traditional space companies, including startups and entrepreneurs develop their businesses. He also acts as an “intrapreneur” at SSL to help cultivate innovative thinking and the creative pursuit of new opportunities beyond SSL’s “heritage” core business. Hale has worked in aerospace in Silicon Valley since 2010 and has expertise in antenna systems, advanced materials, robotics, and small satellites. His roles have included design engineering, research and development, project management, and business development. Hale founded SSL’s additive manufacturing division at SSL as well as an internal “Brainstorming Group,” which he grew into a 100+ member “crowdsourcing” pool of employees spanning nearly all roles and levels of management. The Brainstorming Group incorporates “design thinking” practices to solve practical SSL challenges in innovative ways. A Silicon Valley native, Hale graduated from UC Berkeley, as a double-major in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. He is a champion of innovation and innovators, encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving in the typically heritage-driven aerospace industry.
Tom I-P. Shih Head and Professor of Purdue Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University
Tom I-P. Shih is Professor and Head of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, a position held since 2009. Previously, he was a faculty member at Iowa State University (2003-09), Michigan State University (1998-2003), Carnegie Mellon University (1988-98), and the University of Florida (1983-88). Also, he was a mechanical engineer at NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center (1981-82). He started his undergraduate education at West Virginia University, but completed his BS degree at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan as an international student. His MS and PhD degrees are from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is a Fellow of ASME and AIAA. His research interests are in CFD/HT, turbine cooling, aircraft icing, and control of shock-wave/boundary-layer interactions.
Jillian Taylor Research Analyst, The Tauri Group
Jillian Taylor is an experienced researcher, analyst, project manager, and subject matter expert consultant for the public, private, and federal sectors. Her expertise in aerospace is informed by her work in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Strategic Investments Division, identifying new markets for commercial space ventures, and analyzing disruptive aerospace companies as well as managing the production of NASA's Annual Performance Report and Annual Performance Plan. Jillian has additional expertise in global security, geopolitical conflicts, and chemical and biological weapons. She received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, Global Security from the University of Rochester.
Geronimo Villanueva Planetary Scientist, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Geronimo Villanueva is a planetary scientist at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center who specializes in the search for organic molecules on Mars and on icy bodies. He is the leader for Mars studies for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and scientist for the ExoMars 2016 mission. He also serves as Science and Management advisor to several observatories, including Keck, NASA-IRTF and ALMA. His foundational work on small bodies led the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to name asteroid '9724' after Dr. Villanueva, while the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in 2015 honored him with the Urey Prize (young planetary scientist of the year). Since completing his Ph.D. studies at the Max-Planck-Institute for Solar-System Research in Germany in 2004, Dr. Villanueva has participated in many projects at three space agencies, NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and DLR (German Aerospace Agency), with a broad range of research experience in planetary, exploration and Space sciences. He is a strong advocate for Space Exploration and Astronomy, participating in numerous public outreach activities, and chosen as Science communicator by the US State Department and Shakira's foundation 'Pies Descalzos' to promote science in developing regions.
Loretta Whitesides Co-Founder, Yuri's Night
Loretta has over five hours of weightless time in a 727 aircraft as a Flight Director for Zero-G Corporation. She and her husband George T. Whitesides are also Founder Astronauts slated to be among the first to take sub-orbital spaceflights on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. They are also the Co-Creators of Yuri's Night, The World Space Party and if you haven't hosted one, you should this April! She has also hosted the L.A. party under the Space Shuttle Endeavour for the past three years.Trained as an astrobiologist at Stanford and Caltech, Loretta has been to Haughton Crater in the Canadian Arctic to study plant life in extreme environments and to the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean with “Titanic” director James Cameron to film a 3D IMAX documentary, “Aliens of the Deep”. Loretta is working on her book on the impact of human space exploration on societal evolution and her passion is training the next generation of space leaders to be the change they want to see in the world.
Nathan Wong Technical Consultant, Google Lunar XPRIZE
Nathan Wong works in Technical Operations for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth. Nathan holds a Masters in Space Management from the International Space University and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Wisconsin.