I have over two decades of experience in the aerospace industry as an engineer and entrepreneur. My experience ranges from business management, software engineering, to launch vehicle design, safety and operations. I am currently working with a highly driven team to achieve the goal of bringing to market a new dedicated nanosatellite satellite launch service and systems.
In 2016, I and 4 engineers founded Aphelion Orbitals, which was incorporated in 2017. For three years, the team worked to design a dedicated nanosatellite launch system for single cubesat payloads. Our work focused on the propulsion system, which utilized a unique non-cryogenic, hypergolic and non-toxic propellant formulation that I developed. This work culminated in test firing of a full flight-scale rocket engine.
In 2019, to continue the work, a new company was formed, Aphelion Aerospace. Aphelion Aerospace continues efforts to refine the propulsion system design and operating envelope, commercialize the launch vehicle propulsion and evolve that technology to the field of in-space propulsion where it has the promise of being a replacement for cryogenic as well as toxic propellants such as hydrazine and low-impulse propulsion such as water-based systems.
I am a proud alumnus of the University of Illinois (College of Engineering). I did my studies at an exciting time in the 1990’s that saw the invention of the World Wide Web, smartphones and the technologies that are part of our daily lives now. I was tremendously fortunate to be employed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications during this period. I worked in the Software Development Group. Most people don’t know the history, but my group of approximately 6 people created the first web server and browser that became widely used. Our work formed the basis of everything that has come since, so that’s a legacy I take pride in. We also kickstarted the dotcom boom, which went bust in spectacular fashion and so… maybe not so proud of that.
In 2003, in the wake of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, I founded the Aerospace Research & Engineering Systems Institute, which is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit research institute. The purpose of the organization is to conduct leading-edge research into advanced technologies enabling space exploration. One of the projects at the institute included SphereLab, a proposed a proposed fusion research laboratory with specific applications to high-energy spacecraft propulsion. The institute’s LunarSail was a cubesat with a compact solar sail for orbital maneuvers from MEO to cislunar space. When the Planetary Society’s LightSail was launched, I made the decision to re-focus LunarSail and thus was born Calypso, a cubesat with a mission to test advanced visible light optical space-to-ground communications.