We’re delighted to introduce you to the evaluators who have been poring over thousands of pages of Phase 1 Reports from the Base 11 Space Challenge teams. They cover a wide range of expertise, and we are deeply grateful to them for dedicating their time and energy to support the students in the Base 11 Space Challenge. Their feedback on the Phase 1 PDRs will be rolling out to teams over the next few days.
David Abmayr is a chemist for ExxonMobil. A Level 3 certified rocketeer with the NAR and Tripoli and has been an advisor for SLI teams. David is the Prefect for Tripoli Houston since 2016 and is a TAP for Tripoli Level 3 certifications. He has his bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Rice University.
Andy Berger is the senior liaison for the Base 11 Space Challenge. In addition, he is on the Board of Directors for Davinci Maker Labs and has spent nearly 30 years in the Biomedical Engineering and Information Technology fields. He has a Master’s Degree in Information Technology and is a NAR and Tripoli Level 3 high power rocketeer. He is also the former Prefect for Tripoli Houston and is a proficient research motor propellant enthusiast. He has worked with high school and university student rocketry programs for over 15 years including a successful Guinness World Record in 2010. Andy is the Vice President and Launch Director for the Spaceport America Cup and has written for Rocketry Magazine. Andy is a regular participant at AIRFest and has flown HPR rockets at LDRS and BALLS.
Benjamin Coulomb is a test engineer at Blue Origin working on development and qualification of the BE-3 and BE-3U engines. He previously worked at United Launch Alliance as a test engineer supporting Vulcan development, component qualification for ICPS, and Atlas V qualification testing for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner crew capsule. Ben’s passion for engine development started while working at XCOR Aerospace on the design and testing of the XR-5K18 and XR-5H25 engines as well as the Lynx sub-orbital spacecraft. He has a bachelor’s in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University.
Nick Galano is one of the Launch Chief Engineers at SpaceX. As a Launch Chief Engineer, Nick steers the company’s mission readiness prior to launch and together with the Launch Director guides the countdown in the control room up until T0 on launch day. As a manager in the Reliability organization, he has developed cross functional teams across all disciplines from Propulsion, Composites, and Launch. Previously, Nick spent four years as a Design Engineer at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. He has a bachelor’s and master’s in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley while working on a master’s in computer science Georgia Tech.
Chris Harris, President of Davinci Maker Labs, Level 3 high power rocketry expert, worked multiple large projects with NASA/JSC, FCC Licensed Amateur Radio Technical Operator, Laser optics expert and project lead for multiple Rice University driven research projects, including composite‐metal bonding. Chris is a regular flyer at AIRFest and has flown large projects at BALLS. Chris provides instruction and expertise in Solidworks, CAM, electronics design and manufacturing, RF communications/telemetry (including video), as well as CNC machining. Chris works very closely with mentoring Brazoswood High School SystemsGO teams as well as Texas A&M University. Chris has additional expertise in 6 DOF modeling using RockSIM Pro and has provided significant technology upgrades to the Spaceport America Cup including upgraded communications systems, recovery team GPS tracking and ballistic entry warning systems.
Mark Holthaus has worked as an electrical engineer for Hughes Aircraft for 10 years; a reliability engineer for Rockwell International for 10 years; and as a reliability, safety, and flight termination engineer for The Boeing Company for 22 years. He has worked on aircraft such as the F-14, F-15, and X-51A; and space vehicles like the U.S. Space Shuttle, U.S. Space Station, X-33, X-37 ALTV, ALASA and XSP. He has volunteered as a mentor to engineering students at Cal State Long Beach for more than 15 years. Mark has been active in amateur rocketry since 1995, starting as a team member with the Spacefarer project, a proposed bipropellant liquid rocket designed to reach 60 miles. The Spacefarer held an amateur record of 120,000-lb-sec total-impulse for about 15 years. Mark holds a license from the California State Fire Marshal’s Office, thePyrotechnic Operator, Rockets – 1st Class, which license enables him to legally supervise and launch commercial and experimental rockets utilizing solid, liquid, and hybrid motors/engines in the state. In 2003, Mark was part of a small group of rocket enthusiasts that formed the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR). Mark is both a director and treasurer of FAR. FAR’s mission was established to support STEM education through static firing and launch of amateur rockets. He is the lead pyrotechnic operator and head of safety for the FAR Site, which is a 10-acre test site in the Mojave Desert established by FAR, which hosts numerous college and university student rocketry teams.
Jeffrey Kincaid was employed by Rocketdyne from 1972 until he retired in 2015. As Vice President of Engineering, he was responsible for the technical excellence of diverse rocket propulsion, space and land power programs. Before that, Jeff served as Chief Engineer for Rocketdyne, Chief Engineer of the RS-68 Engine for the Boeing Delta IV program and Chief Engineer of the Linear Aerospike engine for the NASA/ Lockheed-Martin X-33 program. He also served as the Director of structural analysis, structural dynamics and aerothermodynamics for the Space Shuttle Main Engines. He is currently a technical consultant for Rocketdyne liquid rocket engine programs. Jeff has a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and a Certificate in Program Management from West Coast University. Jeff decided he wanted to be a “rocket scientist” at the age of 7. As such, he is looking forward to becoming one of the first 1,000 people to enter space, aboard Virgin Galactic’s rocketplane in the near future.
Brian Kulwik is a propulsion development engineer at Blue Origin, working on the New Glenn second stage reaction control system. Brian led a nitrous oxide/paraffin hybrid rocket team at the University of Michigan. Through that, and his work at Blue Origin, he has developed a passion for rocket propulsion -- systems design and modeling, CFD code development and analysis, and hands-on experimentation and test. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan.
Randy Marek is a board of director at Davinci Maker Labs. He is a licensed control systems engineer with 40‐years of experience providing engineering and project management services to large scale Chemical and Oil/Gas industry sector world‐wide. He is a FAA licensed Private Pilot with an Instrument Rating, FAA Basic Ground Instructor, Tripoli Rocket Association Level 3 high power rocketry and FCC Licensed Amateur Radio Extra operator. Randy’s radio solutions provided the foundation for the recovery team tracking solution for Spaceport America Cup. He is a prolific technical documentation writer and editor. Randy’s most recent field work has focused on structural strength/weight engineering issues for rocket airframe. Randy is also a subject matter expert on regulatory bodies including the FAA, FCC, ATF and others. Randy is also the mentor and advisor for the University of Houston Spaceport America Team and the Brazoswood High School SystemsGO teams. He has launched many of his advanced HPR projects at AIRFest and BALLS. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.
Dean Marsh is the Managing Director, North America for Dassault Systèmes the 3DEXPERIENCE Company. Dassault Systèmes is the world leader in 3D design software, 3D Digital Mock Up and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, providing businesses and individuals with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. Dean is responsible for driving the business in North America which represents approximately 30% of the company’s $3.8B in revenue. Dean joined Dassault Systèmes in 2017 with over 20 years of experience in global sales, services, development and marketing. Most recently, he worked at IBM as Vice President, Global Cloud Solutions Services before becoming Vice President, Client Success for IBM Analytic Solutions. Dean holds a Master of Science in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and a B.S. in metallurgy and materials science from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.
Joseph Mattingly is a propulsion development engineer at Blue Origin working on development for the BE-3 and BE-4 engine families, supporting New Shepard flight operations. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Chas Miller is a Spaceport Engineer at Spaceport America supporting business development and flight operations. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science from Penn State University and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, Chas served for over 20 years as a VLSI design engineer and project manager at Bell Labs and Lucent Technologies, and as an FPGA applications and training engineer at Lattice Semiconductor. In 2006, Chas moved to New Mexico to begin graduate studies in planetary astronomy at New Mexico State University. As a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow, he conducted original research on the surface properties of Saturn’s moon Phoebe, modeled the atmospheres of Triton and Pluto, and simulated the dynamics of the LCROSS lunar impact plume. Chas earned his doctorate in 2013 from New Mexico State University and joined Spaceport America in 2019.
Adam Trumpour is a concept designer for Pratt & Whitney Canada, where he supports systems integration and mechanical design for a range of aircraft turbine engines and is involved in the research and development of experimental hardware. He is also a founding partner of Continuum Aerospace, a small company devoted to engineering consulting and developing innovative rocket propulsion systems for suborbital, micro-satellite and space tourism markets and has performed studies related to rocket propulsion and space launch for the Canadian Space Agency and other government and private entities. In his spare time, Adam participates in amateur rocketry activities focused on liquid propellant engines, mentors student rocketry teams, and works to advance the cause of entrepreneurial space and rocketry in Canada. He is the president of the Launch Canada Rocketry Association, an advisor to the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association, and served as a technical designer for the Base 11 Space Challenge. Adam earned his Master of Applied Science in aerospace engineering from Ryerson University and his bachelor’s in engineering science from the University of Toronto.
Richard Wills has over 35 years of extensive experience in US Air Force acquisition and technology development. His career started in acquisition where he participated in the following programs: C-17, Air Force One, CV-22, the special operations C-130 Combat Talon, and was lead propulsion engineer for the C-5 Re-engining. His laboratory experience started with direct connect high enthalpy testing. He then researched and developed fuels for high speed vehicles. Richard offers experience in technology development and testing in the high-speed flight regime. Richard holds a bachelor's in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from The Ohio State University and an MBA with a project management concentration from Wright State University.
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