Student-Led Workshop Jury

caltech space challenge

study pagepublic eventsblogmappapers and mediaoverview
program detailsspeakersstudentssponsorsreferencesjuryreferences

September 12-16, 2011
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125



Paul Dimotakis, John K. Northrop Professor of Aeronautics and Professor fo Applied Physics, Caltech

Paul DimotakisDr. Paul Dimotakis is the John K. Northrop Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Applied Physics at Caltech, serving as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Chief Technologist from 2006 to 2011.

He earned his B.Sc. in Physics, his M.Sc. in Nuclear Engineering, and his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Caltech. He stayed on as a member of the Caltech faculty, as Assistant Professor, then Associate Professor, and Professor.

His research has focused on experimental, computational, and theoretical investigations of turbulent-flow phenomena, with an emphasis on turbulent transport and mixing, in chemically reacting and non-reacting flows, and combustion. He and his co-workers have developed experimental facilities and laser diagnostics, and introduced advances in signal processing, high-speed digital temporal- and image-data acquisition techniques, high-speed CCD imager design, and image-data processing. His research has also included work on active control of separated flows, studies of cavitation, hydrodynamic stability and gasdynamic simulations, image-correlation techniques for velocity-field (optical-flow) measurement, multi-dimensional measurements, aerooptics effects, and work on adaptive optics. In space-related activities, he worked on an Orbital Geophysical Observatory (OGO-C) satellite in the 1960s and, shortly after launch, solved for the satellite attitude as a function of time when the spacecraft attitude-control system failed; he contributed to the development of the Space Shuttle aerodynamics, assisted with the analysis of the Galileo antenna deployment anomaly, participated in early discussions on the Mars Pathfinder mission landing system, and in the analysis of prelaunch test data of the SIRTF-Spitzer cryostat tank. In work outside Caltech and as a consultant, he contributed to the development of early pilotless drones, high-power chemical lasers, the stealth fighter, assisted in the internal aerodynamics of sealed computer (Winchester) disks, helped with the fluid mechanics design of the "Leap-Frog fountain" at Disney's Epcot Center in Florida, helped develop precision solid-state pressure transducers, participated in experiments at the Lawrence Livermore Nova laser facility, and subsequently assisted with compressible and incompressible turbulence problems, in general. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and serves and has served on advisory panels to the U.S. government.

Donald K. Yeomans, JPL Fellow, Senior Research Scientist: Near-Earth Object Program Office, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Donald YeomansAt the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Don Yeomans is a JPL Fellow, Senior Research Scientist, Manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office and Supervisor of the Solar System Dynamics Group.

Dr. Yeomans was the Radio Science team chief for NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission. He is currently the NASA Project Scientist for the Japanese mission to land upon, and return a sample from, a near-Earth asteroid (Hayabusa) and he is a scientific investigator on NASA's Deep Impact mission that successfully impacted comet Tempel 1 in July 2005 and flew past comet Hartley 2 in November 2010. He provided the accurate predictions that led to the recovery of comet Halley at Palomar Observatory on October 16, 1982 and allowed the discovery of 164 BC Babylonian observations of comet Halley on clay tablets in the British Museum. His group at JPL is responsible for providing predictions for future close Earth approaches and impacts by comets and asteroids.

James H. Crocker, Vice President, Civil Space: Lockheed Martin Space Systems

James H. CrockerAt the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, James Crocker is responsible for space science, planetary exploration, and remote sensing, including programs for the Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes; Defense Meteorological Satellites; International Space Station; Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites; Mars Odyssey, Reconnaissance Orbiter, Scout; Phoenix; Juno; Jupiter Orbiter; and the GRAIL lunar mission. Crocker conceived the idea for, and led the team that developed, COSTAR to correct the Hubble's flawed optics.

As director of programs for the Center for Astrophysics, Johns Hopkins University, Crocker led the system design effort for the Advance Camera for Surveys (ACS), a scientific instrument installed in the Hubble Space Telescope in February 2002 that improved the performance of the telescope by an order of magnitude.

As head of the programs office at the Space Telescope Science Institute, he led the team that readied the science ground system for operation of the Hubble Space Telescope through orbital verification and science operations on orbit. Crocker previously designed electronics for scientific experiments on SkyLab in support of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

Crocker holds a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a master of science degree in Engineering from the University of Alabama - Huntsville and a master of science degree in management from Johns Hopkins University. He is the recipient of numerous honors including the Space Telescope Science Institute Outstanding Achievement Award and two NASA Public Service Medals for work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

Rolf Danner, Senior Scientist: Space Systems Division, Northrop Grumman

Rolf DannerDr. Rolf Danner is a senior scientist in the Science and Weather Systems section at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. At Northrop Grumman, Rolf's focus is on developing astrophysics missions and related technology. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, he was a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and taught introductory astronomy at the University of Southern California. Rolf holds a PhD in experimental Physics from the Technical University Munich in Germany. He pursued undergraduate and graduate research at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, the European Space Agency in the Netherlands, at the California Institute of Technology and at observatories throughout the United States. Rolf is the author of numerous scientific research as well as popular science level articles on neutron stars, X-ray astronomy, optical interferometry and mission and instrument design.

Margaret A. Frerking, Associate Chief Engineer, JPL

Dr. Frerking is the Associate Chief Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her prior assignments include serving as Kepler deputy project manager, Herschel and Planck project manager, MIRO project manager, assistant manager for the Microwave Observational Section, Submillimeter-Sensor Program technologist, cognizant engineer for the detectors on the Microwave Limb Sounder, and radio astronomer. Dr. Frerking is a recipient of the JPL Director's Research Award, Women at Work Award Metal of Excellence, of the NASA Exceptional Achievement award, and two NASA Outstanding Leadership Awards. Dr. Frerking received her bachelor and doctor of philosophy degrees in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA.

Tom Prince: Professor of Physics, Director of the W. M. Keck Institute for Space Studies, (Caltech)

Tom PrinceDr. Thomas A. Prince is a Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology holding
a joint appointment with Caltech’s NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) as a Senior Research
Scientist. Between May 2001 and June 2006, Prince was the Chief Scientist at JPL. He is currently Director of the W.M. Keck Institute for Space Studies at Caltech.

Detection and study of neutron stars and black holes has been a continuing theme in Prince's research, starting with his gamma ray observations of compact objects in the galactic center region. He participated in several expeditions to the Australian outback in the late 1980's to make balloon observations of the radioactive decay energy from Supernova 1987a.

During the 1980's, Prince became interested in the evolving field of parallel computing which he applied to several areas of astronomy including radio, x-ray and gamma-ray pulsar detection, imaging infrared surveys, optical interferometric imaging, and virtual observatory technology. Over the last decade Prince has worked in the area of gravitational wave detection and
gravitational wave astrophysics. He has been the US Mission Scientist for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). Most recently Prince has become interested in using large-area synoptic sky surveys for detection of compact binaries. He is a member of the Palomar Transient Factory team.

Garrett Reisman: DragonRider Project Manager: SpaceX, Former Astronaut (NASA)

Garrett ReismanGarrett Reisman is responsible for working with NASA to prepare SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to carry astronauts. Reisman's experience as an operator of both American and Russian spaceflight hardware will help SpaceX in the development of human interfaces including controls, displays, seats, suits and environmental control systems.

Reisman came to SpaceX from NASA where he served as an astronaut starting in 1998. He has flown on two space shuttle missions, during which, he logged over 3 months in space including over 21 hours of extravehicular activity (EVA) in 3 spacewalks. Dr. Reisman served with both the Expedition-16 and the Expedition-17 crews as a Flight Engineer aboard the International Space Station.

Reisman holds a B.S. in Economics and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. He is an FAA Certified Flight Instructor.

Gerhard Schwehm, Rosseta Mission Manager, Head of Planetary Science Division: European Space Agency

Gerhard SchwehmDr. Schwehm is currently Rosetta Mission Manager in ESA's Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration at ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

He studied Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy at the University des Saarlandes, Saarbruecken, and the Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, where he received a Ph.D. in Applied Physics (Extraterrestrial Physics) in 1979.

At the Bereich Extraterrestrische Physik at the Ruhr University he was Assistant Professor until 1983, when he joined ESA-ESOC to support the preparation of the Giotto Halley Flyby.

In 1985 he became staff scientist in ESA's Space Science Department and was nominated Deputy Project Scientist for ESA's Giotto Mission to comet Halley and later was Project Scientist for the Giotta Extended Mission that flew by comet Grigg-Skjellerup in July 1992.

In June 1985 he took on in parallel the responsibility as Study Scientist for ESA's first Planetary Cornerstone Mission, the Comet-Nucleus Sample-Return, which later became Rosetta. For this mission he became subsequently Project Scientist and after the launch in March 2004 he took over to lead the mission as Mission Manager.

In 2001 he was nominated Head of the Planetary Missions Division and in 2006 he moved to ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre close to Madrid, Spain, as Head of the Solar System Science Operations Division, being responsible for the management of all operational ESA solar system science missions. He retired from this position in March 2011 and returned to ESTEC.

During his career he has played a leading role in a number of mission studies in ESA leading international science teams. He has been Co-I for dust instruments on a number of missions, including Ulysses, Galileo and Cassini. He has been a member of Interagency Advisory Groups and International Advisory Panels, e.g. the NASA Planetary Protection Sub Group and the COSPAR Planetary Protection Panel.

He was elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics and asteroid 13724 was named Schwehm.

David A. Steffy, Senior Vice President: Advanced Programs Group, Orbital Sciences Corporation

David A. SteffyMr. Steffy joined Orbital Sciences Corporation in 1987 and currently serves as Chief Engineer of the Advanced Programs Group. He previously led the Taurus II Program to develop a new medium-class launch vehicle. Earlier, he managed the group's defense space systems business area. Mr. Steffy also was Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager of the GEO communications business area where he was responsible for Star-1 programs, launch vehicles and support of new business efforts.

Prior to assuming these responsibilities, Mr. Steffy was Program Manager for the BSAT-2a/b programs where he led the development of two direct-broadcast satellites for Japan. Earlier, he led the ORBCOMM Flight Model 1 & 2 program and the follow-on ORBCOMM constellation program to develop, build and fly 34 sophisticated LEO communications satellites. Mr. Steffy holds three patents from the development of these satellites, which originated Orbital's on-going MicroStar product line.

Mr. Steffy joined Orbital 23 years ago as the systems engineering manager for the development of the Pegasus launch vehicle and was the vehicle engineer for the first flight. He has also held key roles in Orbital's initial expansion into satellites. Previously, he worked in various systems engineering positions at Hughes Space and Communications (now Boeing Satellite Systems) on communications, defense and planetary satellites.

Mr. Steffy holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He resides in Great Falls, Virginia with his wife and four children.


For questions contact: Prakhar Mehrotra, Jon Mihaly, or Michele Judd