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Desert RATS 2010 Mission Support Team

    Dr. Andrew Abercromby

    Dr. Andrew Abercromby

    Dr. Andrew Abercromby is a biomedical engineer and deputy project manager for the Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) project, which is designing and testing a new type of human space exploration vehicle. He is also a member of the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Physiology, Systems and Performance project, whose goal is to help develop new spacesuits that will be safer, more efficient, and easier to use.

    At Desert RATS, Andrew is responsible for ensuring that all of the experimental procedures are followed and that all of the data is collected. He also makes the best coffee.

    Originally from Scotland, Andrew has been hooked on human space exploration ever since he first visited Johnson Space Center at age 17. Andrew has previously worked in NASA's Neurosciences Laboratory, Anthropometry and Biomechanics Facility, and Flight Mechanics Laboratory and has participated in NASA analog studies in the cold arctic, the hot desert, and beneath the very wet Atlantic Ocean.

    Scott Bleisath

    Scott Bleisath

    Scott Bleisath is a Lead Systems Engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC). He started working for NASA as a co-operative education student 1986 – 1987 at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), while attending the University of Cincinnati. After graduating with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, Scott worked at NASA JSC for 20 years as a lead Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Officer in Mission Control, where he led spacewalk operations for multiple Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions.

    Scott currently works at NASA GRC and is developing electronics and computer displays for NASA's next generation of astronaut space suits. On Desert RATS, he is leading a team that is testing an EVA Information System and wrist display to provide maps and procedures to astronauts and a High Definition space suit video camera to record geology field notes during the DRATS space walks.

    Jeff Stone

    Jeff Stone

    Jeff Stone is a Space Shuttle Flight Controller and astronaut trainer at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). He started working for Rockwell in Mission Control in 1989, and has been involved in operations, engineering and program management for both Shuttle and the International Space Station. Jeff earned his undergraduate degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University while a member of the U.S. Air Force.

    Jeff's current responsibilities include supporting Desert RATS as a Traverse Director, and Space Shuttle and ISS In-Flight Maintenance operations and training. His hobbies are motorcycling, astronomy, ice hockey, ponds and building things, including a telescope made of hockey sticks!

    David Coan

    David Coan

    As Traverse Director for the Desert RATS 2010 mission, David Coan will be directing operations from the Mobile Mission Control Center and from the field with the chase team. He previously participated in the 2009 Desert RATS mission as a Test Director.

    David has been at NASA's Johnson Space Center since 1996. He works in the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) as an Extravehicular Activity (EVA) instructor and flight controller. Prior to joining MOD EVA, David worked in the Engineering Directorate on the EVA Test Team, conducted EVA design and analysis, performed robotics analysis and simulation, and was a safety engineer for payloads flown to the Russian Mir Space Station.

    David holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University. Outside of work, David enjoys spending time with his family, biking, scuba diving, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

    Daren Welsh

    Daren Welsh

    Daren knew from an early age that he wanted to work in manned space exploration. He focused his studies in math and science and worked a wide range of jobs including testing and troubleshooting hydrazine rocket engines used in interplanetary probes and the Space Shuttles. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Math from the University of Washington, Daren verified software against requirements for the Cockpit Avionics Upgrade of the Space Shuttle Flight Software system.

    Daren now works in the Mission Operations Directorate at Johnson Space Center in Houston in the Extra Vehicular Activity group. He trains astronauts how to work in space while floating around in a pressurized suit. This training takes place in classrooms, free-standing mockups, a virtual reality lab, and at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. Daren has also traveled to Japan and Russia to support mission planning and crew training. During the mission, Daren works in Mission Control Center as a flight controller to support the crew. Daren also uses his engineering and flight operations experience to help design the next generation of space exploration systems.

    Daren is a co-lead of the operations team for Desert RATS 2010. Based on experience as a Traverse Director during 2009 Desert RATS, Daren and his team are working to draw from aspects of mission operations from the Shuttle and ISS programs to evolve the field test into an integrated simulated mission. In his spare time, Daren enjoys travel, sports, and music. On the weekends, he can be found spinning music at house parties, record stores, bars, and clubs.

    Tracy Gill

    Tracy Gill

    Tracy Gill works for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). He is a deputy project manager for the Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) project. He is responsible for leading members of a multi-center team, designing and building a habitat system to support analog testing of advanced habitation systems. In this capacity, he leads the systems integration effort, defining how sub-systems will be installed and configured and how they will work together to satisfy the requirements of the habitat prototype. With a background of hands-on payload integration and test for Space Shuttle and Space Station at KSC, it was a natural fit to manage the schedule and coordinate the planning of the integration activities of the HDU project.

    The HDU integration actually occurs at JSC, but he has been able to successfully oversee and manage the integration activities in concert with an integration team at JSC. Using a combination of occasional travel, virtual tele-presence at regular team meetings, and collaborative modeling and simulation tools, the HDU team stays in sync and on schedule with the ultimate annual goal of being ready to support NASA Desert RATS analog testing.

    Tracy holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Aerospace and Mechanical Systems from the University of Florida, an MS in Space Systems from Florida Tech, and is a graduate of the International Space University Summer Session Program in 2006.

    Ernie Bell

    Ernie Bell

    Ernie Bell grew up in Jamestown, Pennsylvania, dreaming of someday playing a part in the human exploration of space. In pursuit of this goal he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State in 1996, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2003, and most recently a Master of Science in Space Studies and Aerospace Management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in 2008.

    Along the way he has spent several years in design, development, and testing of space hardware and systems. His work has included reduced gravity testing and rocket propellant test facilities operations at positions in both Houston and at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Currently, Ernie works in the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) Extravehicular Activities (EVA) branch. In this position he works as both a crew trainer and a flight controller in the Mission Control Center (MCC). As a crew trainer he instructs astronauts on all facets of EVA operations, hardware, and spacesuits. As a flight controller he is a part of the EVA team monitoring the progress of both Shuttle and Space Station EVA activities such as maintenance and preparation tasks, as well as the EVAs themselves.

    Ernie is a co-lead of the Mission Operations Team for the Desert RATS 2010 campaign, and will be participating as one of the Traverse Directors in the mobile Mission Control Center (mMCC) during this year's field test. In this capacity he is drawing on his experience in the MOD EVA branch and as one of the 2009 Desert RATS Traverse Directors to help integrate the various areas (science, engineering, mission management, communication, etc) into an integrated simulated Lunar mission.

    Outside of work Ernie keeps busy racing sailboats, playing ice hockey, running half-marathons, and is also a private pilot. He also volunteers time speaking to groups about NASA and mentoring schools participating in the NASA Reduced Gravity Education programs.

    Jason Poffenberger

    Jason Poffenberger

    My name is Jason Poffenberger. I'm an engineer working for the Constellation Program's Lunar Surface Systems Project Office. My roles for the NEEMO 14 mission will include data collection and support diver activities. I grew up in Houston Texas, right down the road from the Johnson Space Center. I got my undergraduate degree from the University of Houston and I only have 2 classes left for my Masters degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

    I study photography, human factors, habitation/ life support systems, spacecraft design, and space operations. My specific objectives for this NEEMO mission are to gain familiarization with NEEMO mission planning/ operations, and to gather data related to Lander deck offloading, and crew rescue activities on the surface of the Moon or Mars.

    I'm a Navy combat aircrew veteran with 8 years of service. I hunted submarines aboard the P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft. I was flying with a friend of mine when he suggested that I submit a resume to a company that manufactures and tests EVA space suits. I was hired by that company in 1995. I was a space suit engineer for 11 years before I went to work for the Constellation Program. It feels good to do work that helps the entire planet.

    Megan Rosenbaum

    Megan Rosenbaum

    Megan Rosenbaum is a Flight Controller with the United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor at the Johnson Space Center. She works in the Mission Control Center (MCC) as an Operations Planner (OPSPLAN) for the International Space Station. The ISS Operations Planner leads and manages the planning MPSR support team and also acts as the lead planning integrator among all international and domestic planners. They monitor real-time execution of the timeline, making recommendations and balancing priorities as real-time issues and anomalies arise. The ISS Ops Planner is responsible for coordinating, generating and uplinking all plans and supporting material for the ISS crew.

    Megan was born in Wisconsin and lived in Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Minnesota. She graduated high school from Prior Lake Senior High and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She is married to Stephen Rosenbaum, who is also an Operations Planner, and they have one daughter.

    Marc Seibert

    Marc Seibert

    Marc Seibert is a Senior Research Engineer at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Marc works a variety of Special Projects and investigations for KSC, NASA and other US organizations, focused on advancing technologies associated with space tracking, timing, networking and communications (TTNC) and exploration TTNC subsystems. Marc holds a Master's degree from Case Western University in Space Communications and Emulation.

    In the NASA analogs environment, Marc is responsible for managing the design, coordination, deployment, and operations of the Space Network Research Federation (SNRF) to link many sites together including the remote analog test sites with partners.

    Marc also manages the design, development, test, deployment and operations of a variety of space-emulating infrastructure TTNC and exploration vehicle and EVA suit subsystems technologies.

    Nicole Herrmann

    Nicole Herrmann

    Nicole Herrmann is a Strategic Analyst in the Exploration Systems Directorate Integration Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. She is also working towards her Master's degree in International Science and Technology Policy, focusing on Space Policy, at the George Washington University.

    Nicole began working as an intern in the NASA History Division in 2007, while also seeking a degree in history and a minor in astronomy at the University of Maryland. Her internship with the History Division combined both of Nicole's academic interests while also allowing her to see the wide range of opportunities that are available at NASA.

    Nicole joined the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in 2008 and her current responsibilities include supporting NASA's Exploration Analog Missions (Desert RATS, NEEMO, and the Pavilion Lake Research Project) and Participatory Exploration (PE) programs.

    PE is actively involving individuals in the experience of and as contributors and collaborators in NASA's research, science, and discovery activities. At Desert RATS 2010, Nicole will be collecting PE data and supporting the PE activities during the field test.

    Julie Townsend

    Julie Townsend

    Julie Townsend joined JPL in 2001 to work on the Mars Exploration Rovers, first in development, integration, and test and later as a cruise operator, and surface uplink lead. She is now a Rover Planner, creating command sequences to drive the rovers and move their robotic arms on Mars.

    In 2004, Julie transferred to robotic technology development where she contributes to a variety of tasks, in systems engineering, testing, software development, and mechanical design. Her work includes the multi-limbed LEMUR-II and ATHLETE robots, testing and calibration of the robotic arm for MSL, and mechanical packaging of cameras for use on boats.

    Jessica Cejka

    Jessica Cejka

    Jessica Cejka works at Johnson Space Center in the education office as the Program Manager for Texas Aerospace Scholars. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics in 1999 and received two Master's from University of Houston Clear Lake in Instructional Technology and Educational Management. She taught Algebra 2 and Calculus for four years in the Houston area and middle school math for two years in the San Antonio area. She worked as an Education Consultant for Universities Space Research Association in 2004 creating curriculum for NASA Student Involvement Program and served as a counselor, reviewer, and teacher assistant for High School Aerospace Scholars before joining the JSC education team in January 2005.

    She served as the Program Manager for High School Aerospace Scholars from 2005-2009 and is now overseeing the Texas Aerospace Scholars which includes workshops for Texas middle school teachers, high school juniors, community college students and an internship program for Aerospace Scholar alumni. She serves as the education analog liaison and has worked with NEEMO and Desert RATS.

    David Reeves

    David Reeves

    David Reeves is an Aerospace Engineer with the Space Mission Analysis Branch (SMAB) at NASA Langley Research Center.

    After receiving a bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Oklahoma, David began his work at NASA while a Graduate Student with Georgia Tech and the National Institute of Aerospace in 2004. He completed his Masters in Aerospace Engineering in 2006 going on to work as NASA contractor prior to taking his current civil servant position with SMAB in 2008.

    David's responsibilities include preliminary spacecraft design and sizing as well as architecture design and optimization. Most recently he has been working on top level lunar mission definitions and adapting these missions to Earth analogs. For DRATS, David will be supporting the Mission Management Team.

    Dr. Cynthia Evans

    Dr. Cynthia Evans

    Dr. Cynthia Evans is the NASA lead for the GeoLab in the Pressurized Excursion Module (PEM) and a member of the DRATS Science Team. She is a geologist working in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Office (ARES) at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas -- where all of NASA's extraterrestrial samples (rocks from the moon, meteorites, particles from the sun and comets) are curated. All of these samples require unique handling and curation techniques to preserve their pristine nature for scientific study.

    Cindy earned her Ph.D. from Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and finds many parallels between ocean and space exploration. Dr. Evans has supported and managed several projects associated with NASA's human spaceflight programs, including Earth Observations and the Image Science & Analysis Lab, and also served as Assistant Program Scientist for the International Space Station. She trains astronauts in geology and Earth observations, and also supports NASA's analog programs by testing scenarios that simulate the kinds of geologic activities astronauts would conduct on other planetary surfaces. These activities support NASA's plans for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

    Aaron Hulse

    Aaron Hulse

    Aaron Hulse is a control systems engineer for Oceaneering Space Systems at the NASA Johnson Space center where he works as a member of the software team the SEV. Aaron's primary responsibilities include developing algorithms and control systems for both the chassis and cabin of the SEV. Aaron holds a Masters degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Mechanical Engineering. While in graduate school, Aaron studied mobile manipulation and manipulator impedance control.

    John Leichty

    John Leichty

    John Leichty is a robotics mechanical engineer working in the Mobility and Robotic Systems section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. From a young age, John has always been fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration, so he is excited to be working at a NASA center. At JPL, John has contributed to a variety of projects, providing mechanical and electrical engineering support. His work on the All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) vehicles is what brings him to the Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) field test.

    John was born in Berkeley, California and grew up in Fresno, California, where he graduated from Edison High School in 2005. His first experience with NASA was participating in the Student Launch Initiative, a year-long rocketry design project culminating with a launch at Marshall Space Flight Center. He went on to attend the California Institute of Technology and in 2009 received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. While in college, John first came to JPL as a summer student, working on a prototype Mars drilling system, and later joined the Robotic Hardware Systems group as an academic part-time employee.

    For the ATHLETE project, John's focus has been improving reliability and performance on the two Tri-ATHLETE robots. His role at DRATS includes hardware and operations support of the Tri-ATHLETEs along their traverse route through the desert, as well as participating in a mechanical maintenance exercise in the Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU).

    In his spare time, John enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and traveling. He recently completed a 12,000 mile road trip across the United States and Canada. He is also developing interest in embedded electronics and high-altitude ballooning as hobbies.

    Dr. A. Scott Howe

    Dr. A. Scott Howe

    For D-RATS, Dr. A. Scott Howe is supporting the Habitation Demonstration Unit as design integration lead, and also supports the ATHLETE team in formulation and mechanical design. A. Scott Howe has a PhD in architecture from University of Michigan, and a second PhD in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, focusing on self-assembling structures and modular robotic construction systems.

    Dr. Howe is currently located at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in formulation and concept design. He has served as a licensed practicing architect emphasizing modular compact buildings, habitats, and deployable structures, and has 19 years experience engineering robotic construction systems with significant skills in configuration, structures, and hands-on hardware assembly. Dr. Howe has 10 years experience working in Japan on building design, kit-of-parts modular building systems, and automated construction research with Kajima Corporation, Shimizu, and Hazama. He is widely published in journals, conferences, and has contributed to book projects as editor and chapter contributor.

    Before joining JPL, Dr. Howe served as faculty member at University of Oregon for 3 years, and Hong Kong University for 6 years. Dr. Howe currently serves on the Lunar Surface Systems Architecture team, as a member of the All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) robotic mobility system development team, LSS Mobility Team, and LSS Habitation Team. He is co-inventor of the Tri-ATHLETE concept, and serves as element lead, supporting the scenarios for the Lunar Surface Systems outpost.

    Randall McDaniel

    Randall McDaniel

    Randall McDaniel is the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) Lead for Exploration EVA Operations at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. His work includes planning future exploration missions, including Lunar, Mars, and Near Earth Object surface EVA operations. His Group is responsible for the planning, training, and flying of EVA operations. He supported D-RATS 2009 activities as a member of the Mission Operations Team conducting operations in the Mobile Mission Control Center (MCC). Randy has been a member of the NASA family for over 26 years, all within MOD EVA operations. He has worked the Shuttle Program, the ISS Program, and now the Constellation Program. He has served as an instructor for astronaut training, and as a flight controller in MCC Houston. Randy has traveled to Japan and Russia working with NASA's International Partners.

    Randy grew up in Albion, Michigan, graduating from Albion High School in 1981. He holds a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from Tri-State University in Angola, Indiana, graduating in 1987. His favorite hobbies are researching his family genealogy and collecting antiques.

    Bill Bluethman

    Bill Bluethman

    Bill Bluethmann is currently as the Deputy Branch Chief of the Robotic Systems Technology Branch in the Software, Robotics and Simulation Division at the NASA Johnson Space Center. In this role he serves as the deputy project manager of the Human Robotics Systems Project within NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program and leads the development of the Chariot chassis. The introduction of Chariot as a concept for exploration has shaped lunar architecture studies, enabling broader reaching missions. Currently, the Chariot chassis serves as the mobility for NASA's SEV.

    For many years, Bill has been a member of the Robonaut team, developing software and control systems for the Humanoid astronaut assistant. Early in his career, Bill supported the International Space Station and Space Shuttle programs by performing off-line and human-in-the-loop simulations of berthing operations between the Shuttle and Space Station. Bill holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas, where as a graduate student he studied manipulation and force control with hydraulic manipulators.

    Ed Herrera

    Ed Herrera

    Ed Herrera is a mechanical engineer working in the Robotics Systems Technology Branch and the lead suspension designer of the Chariot chassis at the NASA Johnson Space Center. In his career, he has worked on a number of robotic systems including SEV, Mini-AERCam and SCOUT. Ed holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston.

    Lucien Junkin

    Lucien Junkin

    Lucien Junkin is a senior robotics engineer in the Robotic Systems Technology Branch in Software, Robotics, and Simulation Division at the NASA Johnson Space Center. In this role, he serves as the chief engineer on the Chariot project. In this position, he oversees the design, manufacturing, integration and testing the Chariot system. Over the years, Lucien has served a similar role on many of NASA JSC's robotic development projects including, Robonaut joints, Centaur, Robonaut RMP, Spidernaut, and SCOUT. He is also a member of the NASA Robotics Alliance Project that engages America's youth in robotics education.

    Lucien has worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center for over 15 years, as a Lockheed Martin employee and civil servant. While a member of the ISS team, he was part of the technical team responsible for developing, manufacturing, integrating, operating, and maintaining several crew robotics trainers including the Multi-use Remote Manipulator Development Facility (MRMDF) and the Dexterous Manipulator Trainer (DMT). He also assisted with the development of ISS Robotics Standards and led the Lockheed Martin efforts for the Autonomous EVA Remote Camera (AERCam) Integrated Ground Demonstration. Lucien holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Mississippi State University.

    Mason Markee

    Mason Markee

    Mason Markee is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. Prior to graduation, he completed three semesters of work in the Robotic Systems Technology branch at the NASA Johnson Space Center while enrolled in the NASA co-op program.

    He has contributed work on various subsystems of the Lunar Electric Rover including designing and implementing the active suspension subsystem on Chariot 1B. Despite being a new hire in the Robotics Branch at JSC, Mason has been building robots as a student and mentor for nearly a decade through multiple robotics education programs.

    Dr. Robert Howard

    Dr. Robert Howard

    Dr. Robert Howard is the manager of NASA's Habitability Design Center within the Space and Life Sciences Directorate at Johnson Space Center. He leads a team of architects, industrial designers, engineers, and usability experts to develop and evaluate concepts for spacecraft cabin and cockpit configurations. His job is to ensure that future spacecraft adequately support the tasks and functions required for the crew to safely and efficiently conduct their mission.

    Dr. Howard was born in Xenia, Ohio, but grew up primarily in Greensboro, North Carolina, graduating from James B. Dudley High School in 1989. He holds a Bachelor of Science in General Science from Morehouse College and a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also holds a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering with a focus in Human Factors from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering with a focus in Spacecraft Engineering from the University of Tennessee Space Institute. Throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies, Dr. Howard worked summer tours at Johnson Space Center, primarily in space shuttle Mission Control and the X-38 project. He is currently pursuing a certificate in Human Systems Integration from the Naval Postgraduate School.

    After working full time in space station mission control for a couple of years, Dr. Howard transferred to Space and Life Sciences and began work on the Constellation program with the Habitability Design Center. There, he has participated in cockpit and cabin design work for Orion, Altair and other lunar lander concepts, the Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV), and numerous lunar outpost concepts, including the Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU). At Desert RATS, Dr. Howard will oversee human factors evaluations aboard both SEVs and the HDU, researching the habitability of each vehicle and evaluating specifics of interior workstation designs.

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    Outside of work, Dr. Howard volunteers with the National Society of Black Engineers and serves a variety of roles, including Director of NSBE's Space Special Interest Group and chair of the NSBE Aerospace Systems Conference. He frequently speaks to pre-college and college audiences about the space program and careers in science and engineering. He also leads or participates in a variety of NSBE space-related research projects including a collapsible space telescope cubesat, high power model rocketry, and large-scale lunar base conceptual designs. Dr. Howard is also a member of the Moon Society, Planetary Society, National Space Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

    In his spare time, Dr. Howard enjoys creative pursuits. He has invented a four-player chess game and occasionally writes science fiction novels.


    Tifanie Smart

    Tifanie Smart

    Tifanie Smart is a flight controller working in the Mission Operations Directorate at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Her current responsibilities include supporting robotics arm operations on-console at the Mission Control Center (MCC) for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS). As a robotics flight controller, she also writes procedures for the astronauts so they can execute on-orbit ISS duties such as new laboratory installations. Astronauts train well in advance for these robotics maneuvers and she assists with the process at the Virtual Reality (VR) Laboratory and the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL).

    Tifanie earned her Master's degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Texas in Austin. Previously, she studied at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.

    During Desert RATS 2009, Tifanie was part of the mission operations team supporting as a Capcom, communicating from the Mobile Mission Control Center (MMCC) to the Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) crewmembers. This year she returns to Desert RATS 2010 as a Traverse Director.

    Josh Figuered

    Josh Figuered

    Josh Figuered is a robotics engineer at NASA Johnson Space Center where he works as a member of the mechanical design team on NASA's SEV. Josh's primary responsibilities are design and development of the drivetrain system for the Chariot chassis. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Dr. Ruthan Lewis

    Dr. Ruthan Lewis

    Dr. Ruthan Lewis leads NASA's Exploration Science and Mission Directorate's (ESMD) Science and Utilization Integration efforts and the formulation and design team for unpressurized cargo carrier systems. As Co‐Chair of NASA's Optimizing Science and Exploration Working Group, Dr. Lewis represents ESMD's engineering and implementation perspective, working synchronously with engineers, scientists, and the user community to formulate NASA's Exploration Architecture.

    Dr. Lewis has worked at NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and NASA Johnson Space Center and engaged in a wide range of human spaceflight research, development, mission operations, and future planning efforts. She has worked with many of the NASA centers and with international space agencies in Exploration, Constellation Lunar, International Space Station, and Space Shuttle programs. Additionally, she has led Dark Energy and Venus exploration mission formulation studies.

    Dr. Lewis led the International Space Station (ISS) Research Program Office at Goddard Space Flight Center managing flight experiments and payloads. She provided technical interface and operations data to potential ISS users including ISS, Space Shuttle, and Express Pallet carrier accommodations. As a Space Shuttle Mission Manager, she managed several Space Shuttle missions with integrated and interactive payloads and carrier systems. Her responsibilities included systems engineering, flight manifesting, crew training, and flight operations for Space Shuttle and International Space Station payloads. She led and coordinated engineering teams from concept, through flight, to post‐flight mission phases, interacted with experimenters, Space Shuttle flight and payload managers, and astronauts. She initiated and led the student flight program entitled Space Experiment Module. She conducted crew interface design and operations, integration and test, and systems engineering management.

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    MACH‐1, HEAT, SEM, AMTEC/AWCS, LHP/NaSBE, IEH, Space Camera System, TEAMS, GLO‐4/PASDE, and ROMPS were among the payload complements flown and managed under her leadership. Dr. Lewis served as a Space Shuttle and International Space Station Interface and Crew Systems Manager and Engineer, and helped derive extravehicular activity and extravehicular robotics systems concepts and designs and conducted trade, optimization, and compatibility studies. She was the Hubble Space Telescope Crew Systems Manager and Engineer. In this role she managed, designed, analyzed, compiled, integrated, and verified mechanisms, structural design, extravehicular activity tools, human factors and safety elements, and fabrication and assembly techniques for the first deployment mission and follow‐on missions.

    Additionally, Dr. Lewis designed and implemented crew interfaces, flight tools vision systems, telerobotic techniques, and mechanisms for Explorer Platform, Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, and Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer and X‐Ray Timing Explorer. She also provided engineering and science integration and implementation, and mission operations for Spacelab missions SLS‐1 and SLS‐2; SLS‐1 and SLS‐2 Crew Training Coordinator, Spacelab 1 Flight Activities Officer.

    She has conducted human biomechanics/ergonomics research and applied resulting models including crew‐induced loads and spacecraft structures to intravehicular and extravehicular flight hardware construction and crew procedures carrying out neutral buoyancy investigations as an in‐suit investigator. Her work has also been cited in NASA STD‐3000, Man‐Systems Design Standards.

    She has received numerous NASA and community performance and achievement awards including the NASA Medal of Excellence and the Astronaut's Personal Achievement Award, The Silver Snoopy.

    Dr. Lewis conducted post‐doctoral research and design leading to a Master's of Architecture degree. Her emphasis was Space Architecture, architectural design, materials, and structural and environmental systems. Her research focused on sustainable lunar outpost design including site and systems analysis, flight and surface structural systems, habitation, advanced life‐support, systems engineering, in‐situ materials utilization. She has taught graduate courses at the University of Maryland in Space Human Factors and Life Support Systems and in Space Simulation.

    Her degrees include a doctoral of philosophy degree in Biomechanical and Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University (Dissertation: "Ergonomic Design of Extravehicular Activity Electrical Connectors for the Space Suit Gloved Hand"), a Master of Architecture from Catholic University of America (Thesis: "Living and Working in the Extreme and Sublime – A Lunar Outpost"), a Master of Science in Biomechanical and Industrial Engineering from Texas Tech University (Thesis: "Effects of Fatigue on the Kinematics of Sagittal Lifting"), and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Biomechanics, both from the University of Maryland.


    Bill Dearing

    Bill Dearing

    Bill Dearing is a Lead Computer Engineer in the IT Computational Sciences Branch at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

    He started working for NASA in 1977 as part of the Cooperative Education Program while attending college at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee. Bill graduated with a Chemical Engineering Degree in 1982 and has worked in various technical areas at Kennedy Space Center including, Materials Testing, Failure Analysis, Environmental Chamber Testing, Data Acquisition, and more recently, Computer and Network Engineering. Learning something new is always an option.

    Bill's current responsibilities include supporting NASA's Pavilion Lake Research Project, Desert RATS, Lunabotics Mining Competition, and various research laboratories at the Kennedy Space Center. At Desert RATS, Bill is responsible for network and data monitoring during the field test as well as supporting the EVA backpack camera systems for the Science Team.

    Barbara Romig

    Barbara Romig

    Barbara Romig is the D-RATS Test Coordinator and is an Engineering Project Manager in the Space Suit and Crew Survival Systems Branch at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.

    While earning her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University, she worked for NASA as a cooperative education student. She has recently been the Project Manager for the suit port and aft deck systems of the Space Exploration Vehicle project, but currently her primary responsibility is as Test Coordinator and backup Mission Manager for the Desert RATS analog program. She coordinates almost every aspect of the field test with the team, which consists of engineers and scientists located all over the country at different NASA centers, universities, and other organizations.

    She has participated in D-RATS activities for 8 years, and this is her 5th year as Test Coordinator.

    Victor Badillo

    Victor Badillo

    Victor Badillo is a Space Shuttle Flight Controller and astronaut trainer at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). He started working for Rockwell Space Operations in Mission Control Center (MCC) in 1995, and has been involved in MCC Space Shuttle real time mission support as well as JSC and Kennedy Space Center (KSC) crew training.

    Victor received his B.S. in Aeronautics and a FAA Aircraft Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license from Saint Louis University of Saint Louis, MO. Victor's current responsibilities include supporting Desert RATS as CAPCOM, Space Shuttle and ISS mission operations and crew training. For fun, Victor plays ice hockey, golf and soccer. He also enjoys spending time with his son Christian and visiting family in Mexico City.

    Patrick Jones

    Patrick Jones

    Patrick Jones is a Space Shuttle Crew Escape Instructor and Flight Controller with the Mission Operations Branch at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). Patrick completed multiple degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University while active duty in the US Navy. Once leaving the Navy he started working for United Space Alliance as part of the International Space Station Program in 2001 as a Flight Controller and Space Station Publication Manager. After 7 years with the ISS Program, he accepted a position as a Space Shuttle Crew Escape Instructor and Flight Controller. Once completing certification he was assigned as the lead for Space Shuttle missions STS-131 and STS-134. Crew Escape likes to say that they train the astronauts in the most important task they hope they never have to use.

    Patrick's current responsibilities have him supporting NASA's Exploration Analog Field Tests (Desert RATS); he has also worked on many parts of the Constellation program.

    On DRATS 2010, Patrick's assignment as a CAPCOM and will be communicating with the Rover crew from the Mobile Mission Control Center (MMCC) trailer. He will be using voice/video/data communications systems to keep in contact with the crew on the Rovers.

    Kriss Kennedy

    Kriss Kennedy

    Kriss is an architect with NASA since 1987 and published in the field aerospace industry since 1988. Prior to NASA, Kennedy worked in numerous architectural firms in the United States. Kennedy is Manager of the Habitat Demonstration Unit Project, Surface Habitation Systems Center Investment Project at JSC, Constellation Lunar Surface Systems Habitation Team, and team member of the Constellation Lunar Architecture Definition Team.

    Kriss has worked on space hardware concepts, technology development, and flight hardware for ISS. He has received several patents, including TransHab. He has dedicated his career to the definition, development, and testing of habitation systems and surface base definition for the exploration of the Moon and Mars. Education: A.A.S. SUNY @ Delhi; B.S. SUNY @ Buffalo; Master of Architecture. University of Houston—Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture

    Heather Paul

    Heather Paul

    Heather Paul was born in Deer Park, New York, attended high school in Atlanta, Georgia, and now considers Houston, Texas to be her hometown. She attended Auburn University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. While pursuing her undergraduate degrees, she worked as a cooperative education student at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), working in areas such as life sciences, propulsion, and space suit and tool design.

    She continued her education and work experience as she attended the University of Texas at Austin and combined her research on fibrous insulation materials for the advanced spacesuit with her work as a graduate cooperative education student at JSC. Heather earned her Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering prior to starting work full-time with NASA, and recently earned a second Master's degree in Fitness and Human Performance from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

    At work, Heather splits her time between engineering and education and public outreach activities. She is the lead engineer for the future spacesuit life support system design that will circulate oxygen for breathing and space suit pressurization, and control carbon dioxide and humidity levels. Heather also works with NASA analog teams such as NEEMO, the Pavilion Lake Research Project, the Haughton Mars Project, and Desert RATS to ensure that these fantastic science, engineering, and mission activities are well communicated to students, educators, and the general public.

    For fun, Heather is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She teaches a variety of classes including hip hop dance and strength and conditioning, and she enjoys helping people stay healthy and happy! Heather also loves to travel and throw the Frisbee with her dog Molly.

    Amanda Knight

    Amanda Knight

    Amanda Knight was born and raised in a small, farm town in rural Kansas. She began her education in Aerospace Engineering before joining the Marine Corps. Following her enlisted service, Amanda continued her pursuit of her Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in mathematics and completed her degree at the University of Houston.

    While in undergraduate school, Amanda worked at NASA JSC conceptually designing and developing the Pressurized Lunar Module and other lunar vehicles in support of the Lunar Architecture Team. Following completion of her degree, she was able to move into flight hardware design, development and testing. In support of the 6-crew initiative, Amanda was a project engineer on projects such as the Potable Water Dispenser and Crew Quarters. Her work experience includes designing and drawings, manufacturing and assembly, and testing. Amanda has also had the opportunity to work flight projects such as Regenerative ECLSS Fluid Hoses and Long-Life Battery Charger.

    Currently, Ms. Knight works with the EVA Systems Project Office at NASA/JSC and the Directorate Integration Office at NASA/HQ in support of education and public outreach activities. Amanda works with as a project engineer to inspire youth to focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics for the next generation of space suits that astronauts will wear on the Moon and Mars. She is also extremely involved with the NASA analog field tests such as NEEMO, the Pavilion Lake Research Project, the Haughton Mars Project and Desert Rats to ensure that these fantastic science, engineering and mission activities are well communicated to students, educators and the general public.

    Amanda enjoys spending time at home with her husband and son... and as work permits, take off to go camping for a weekend or go to amusement parks. After just returning from a vacation in Costa Rica, there is some brainstorming taking place for their next adventure!