Pete Worden


Simon Peter “Pete” Worden is Chairman of the Breakthrough Prize foundation. He is a recognized expert on space issues– both civil and military. His experience includes being the director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, served as a general in the U.S. Air Force, and working as a Research Professor of Astronomy, Optical Sciences and Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona. Along with many other accomplishments Mr. Worden has either authored or co-authored over 150 research papers, was a crucial  innovator in the development and implementation of small satellites and reveived the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for his role in the 1994 Clemintine mission. Now, as Breakthrough Prize Foundation Chairman, Mr. Worden leads the Breakthrough Initiatives, a program of scientific and technological exploration. The Breakthrough Initiative examines the phenomena of life in the Universe, asking  Are we alone? Are there habitable neighboring worlds? and most relevant to Space Horizons 2017– Can we venture to the stars?


Rick Fleeter


Dr. Rick Fleeter founded the small satellite and communications company AeroAstro Inc. where he served as CEO for 21 years. AeroAstro employed about 100 people dedicated to making space more accessible and appropriate to every day needs and to improving the space resource user experience. Professionally and at the Radio Amateur Satellite organization, Amsat, Rick has developed over 25 small satellites.

Dr. Fleeter was a pioneer on early defense applications of miniature satellites.  He wrote the only two books dedicated to microsatellites, MicroSpaceCradft and The Logic of Microspace (Kluwer).  He has also authored book chapters and encyclopedic articles on microsatetelites including the small satellite chapters of Space Mission Analysis and Design, SMAD, and Space Mission Engineering, SME.  He is also coauthor with Marcello Spagnulo of the book Management of Space Programs (also Kluwer). He was responsible for the development of new satellite and launch propulsion systems, aircraft and rocket plume diagnostics and chemical lasers.  Rick served for two years as a member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board and was a member of Brown University’s Engineering Advisory Council. He received both PhD and AB degrees from Brown University and an Msc from Stanford, all in engineering.

As Adjunct Associate Professor at Brown University, he teaches the senior capstone design course in spacecraft and space system design, two courses in design and innovation and an immersive course in entrepreneurial startups. He is now heading a team of about 25 students building Brown’s and Rhode Island’s first satellite, Equisat, which has been awarded a launch by NASA now scheduled for 2017.

Larry Larson


Lawrence E. Larson received the BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, and a PhD from UCLA.
From 1980 to 1996 he was at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, CA, where he directed the development of high-frequency microelectronics in GaAs, InP and Si/SiGe and MEMS technologies. He joined the faculty at the University of California – San Diego, in 1996, where he was the inaugural holder of the Communications Industry Chair. He was Director of the UCSD Center for Wireless Communications from 2001-2006 and was Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2007-2011. He moved to Brown University in 2011, where he is Founding Dean of the School of Engineering.

He has published over 300 papers, received over 40 US patents, co-authored three books, graduated 28 PhD students, and is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Michael Walthemathe


Michael Walthemathe is senior lecturer in the Department of Protestant Theology at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany.

He works in the field of Practical Theology and Religious Education. Educated first in Chemistry and Theology, he gained his doctorate in Theology with a dissertation on the use of Computer-Games in Religious Education. Since then he has developed research interests in historical and contemporary connections between Religion, Spirituality and Spaceflight with respect to contemporary philosophical and theological thought.

His publications include a monograph on computer-games and religion and, together with Paul Levinson, he has edited Touching the face of the Cosmos, On the Intersection of Spaceflight and Religion, Fordham University Press NY 2016; and he has published several articles in the fields of Spaceflight and Religion, Media and Religion, and Religious Education. Dr. Waltemathe also co-authored Destination 2064, a computer-game prepared for the 2009 anniversary of John Calvin. In his spare time he teaches courses on model-rocketry at a local High-school.


Jordin Kare


Jordin Kare received his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from U.C. Berkeley in 1984.

He worked in the Special Projects Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1985 to 1996, where he ran the SDIO/DARPA Laser Propulsion Program and several space-related projects including the Mockingbird miniature launch vehicle effort; in 1996 he conducted the first demonstration of laser power beaming using diode laser arrays.  From 1997 through 2006 he was a consultant to the aerospace industry and multiple government organizations on advanced space technology and remote sensing; during this time he received two NIAC (NASA institute for Advanced Concepts) grants, one relating to the SailBeam interstellar propulsion concept and one for laser thermal launch.  In 2007 he co-founded LaserMotive, a company dedicated to commercializing laser power beaming; in 2009 LaserMotive’s team won the NASA Centennial Challenge for Power Beaming.  From 2007 to 2016 Dr. Kare was a Scientific Program Manager and Senior Inventor for Intellectual Ventures LLC; he is an inventor on over 500 US Patents.  He is currently managing a privately-funded research effort in San Jose, CA.

Kerri Cahoy

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Kerri Cahoy’ s principal interest is the study of planetary atmospheres for example using spacecraft radio systems to study the atmospheres and ionospheres of solar system planets. An electrical engineer by training, she also designs and builds instrumentation, in particular telescopes equipped with coronagraphs for direct imaging with coronagraphy on spacecraft. Cahoy received her B.S. (2000) in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and her M.S. (2002) and Ph.D. (2008) degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University working with the Radio Science Team on Mars Global Surveyor. From 2006 to 2008, she was a Senior Payload and Communication Sciences Engineer at Space Systems Loral in Palo Alto, CA. From 2008 to 2010, Dr. Cahoy was a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow in Exoplanet Exploration at NASA Ames Research Center. From 2010 to 2011, she was a Radio Science research scientist on the MIT Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar mission team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Cahoy joined the faculty in 2011.

Philip Lubin

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Philip Lubin is Professor of Physics at UC Santa Barbara. His research focus is experimental cosmology, cosmic background radiation (spectrum, anisotropy and polarization), satellite, balloon-born and ground-based studies of the early universe, fundamental limits of detection, directed energy systems, and infrared and far-infrared astrophysics. His research group has produced over two dozen missions, both ground based and balloon borne. He helped develop two cosmology satellites and his group was the first to detect the horizon scale fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background from a South Pole and balloon borne system they developed. His group is from the Planck cosmology mission, where he is a co-I, and has mapped structures of early universe with great precision. He, along with the COBE science team, is the co-recipient of the 2006 Gruber Prize in Cosmology and Philip has published over 250 papers.

Ruslan Belikov


Ruslan Belikov holds a BSE from Princeton, a Ph.D. from Stanford, and has over 10 years of experience in developing technologies and mission concepts to directly image exoplanets, especially potentially habitable ones. He is currently leading (together with Eduardo Bendek) the Ames Coronagraph Experiment (ACE) research group at NASA Ames, which has demonstrated several state of the art exoplanet technology milestones at aggressive inner working angles. In particular, Belikov and his team have been pioneering and advancing technologies to suppress starlight in multi-star systems such as Alpha Centauri to enable direct imaging of exoplanets there. Partly as a result of this work, Belikov and Bendek proposed a mission concept to NASA called Alpha Centauri Exoplanet Satellite (ACESat) to directly image potentially habitable planets around Alpha Centauri A and B with a very small low-cost telescope. This work has received significant interest from the private sector as well as the media, being covered by the New York times, Huffington Post, and Scientific American, among others. Belikov is also a member of several other NASA exoplanet missions or mission concepts including EXCEDE, WFIRST, and Exo-C. In addition, Belikov serves on the Exoplanet Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG) executive committee where he is the chair of a Science Analysis Group to address how common planets occur around other stars.

Zac Manchester


Zac Manchester is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and the founder of the KickSat project. His research interests include small spacecraft, robotics, control, and estimation. As a graduate student, Zac pioneered the development of centimeter-scale spacecraft (femtosatellites or “ChipSats”) and launched the first KickStarter-funded space mission. Zac holds a PhD from Cornell and has previously worked at NASA Ames Research Center and Analytical Graphics, Inc.