Guest Bio's

Stan Barauskas

Stan Barauskas received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in June 1961 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has 50 years’ experience in design/development/certification of rocket engine and power systems.  His work achievements include upgrades to missile rocket engine and ground systems for the Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile 1961-1963 (General Dynamics/Astronautics),  design, development and certification of attitude control rocket engine systems for lunar and orbital  flight for Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz Test Project 1963-1973 (North American Aviation, Inc.), design, development and certification of hydraulic power systems for Space Shuttle orbital flight, 1973-2011 (Rockwell/Boeing), and the design, development of the Space Launch System Thrust Vector Control System core stage  (2012-2013) Boeing.  He received the following honors:  two Astronaut Outstanding Achievement Snoopy Awards, the first presented by NASA astronauts Tom Stafford and Richard Truly in 1976 and the second presented by NASA astronaut Mark Lee in 1994;  Engineer of the Year Nominee Award, Rockwell, 1983; and the Distinguished Alumnus Award, New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2011.  He also serves as a volunteer in many different organizations. For example, he serves as the Aerospace Legacy Foundation (Vice-President); as Director of the Youth Motivation Task Force, Irvine, CA; as Vice-President (Alt.) of the Boeing Management Club, Huntington Beach, CA; as Endeavour Space Shuttle Host, California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA;  as a docent at the Columbia Memorial Space Center, Downey, CA and as a volunteer at the Autry National Center of Western Heritage..

Mr. Barauskas was born in Marijampole, Lithuania on January 30, 1939, and departed Lithuania in May 1944, arriving at the Port Of New York on June 13, 1948  residing in New Jersey from June 1948 to August 1961.  Currently, he lives in Diamond Bar, CA. He was married to Elke Lynn (deceased, August 2011). Mr. Barauskas has four daughters: Ingrid, Gina, Christina, and Judy, and eight grandchildren:  Matthew, Summer, Rachel, Joshua, Jordyn, Chase, Alex, and Hannah.

Dr. Bonnie J. Buratti

  Dr. Bonnie J. Buratti is a Senior Research Scientist and technical manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. With expertise on the structure and evolution of planets and moons, she received degrees from MIT and Cornell. She holds leadership roles on the Cassini Mission to Saturn and on the New Horizons Mission to Pluto, and she has served as an adviser for many NASA committees. She is the NASA Project Scientist for the Rosetta mission to a comet.  She is the past Chair of the Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society. She is the author of over 200 scientific papers and book chapters, and she is a frequent public speaker and TV and radio guest. Dr. Buratti was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and the International Astronomical Union recognized her work by naming asteroid 90502 Buratti after her. Her popular science book “Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar: a Guided Tour of the Solar System” was published in April 2017 by Cambridge University Press.      

For more information on Dr. Buratti check out her JPL link and the link to  her author page on 

Aldo Spadoni

Aldo Spadoni President of Aerospace Imagineering, is an MIT graduate with an aerospace engineering career spanning over 35 years. He is a veteran of numerous advanced development programs for NASA, DARPA and the U.S. Armed Services. He is the recipient of NASA’s Turning Goals Into Reality award. He created and managed an award-winning simulation team at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. He is a Fellow of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) and is a member of its Board of Trustees.  He is a concept designer with four U.S. patents, and a Hollywood technical consultant (Apollo 13, Supernova, Stealth, Iron Man 1 & 2, etc.). Aldo’s personal goal is to create compelling visions of humanity’s spacefaring future.     s Fau0f`

Rick Sternbach

Rick Sternbach has been a space and science fiction artist since the early 1970s, often combining both interests in a project. His clients include NASA, Sky and Telescope, Data Products, Random House, Smithsonian, Analog, Astronomy, The Planetary Society, and Time-Life Books. He is a founding member and Fellow of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA), which was formed in 1981. He has written and illustrated articles on orbital transfer vehicles and interstellar flight for Science Digest. Beginning in the late 1970s Rick added film and television illustration and special effects to his repertoire, with productions like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Last Starfighter, Future Flight, and Cosmos, for which he and other members of the astronomical art team received an Emmy award, the first for visual effects. Rick also twice received the coveted Hugo award for best professional science fiction artist, in 1977 and 1978.

With the rebirth of Star Trek, beginning with The Next Generation, Rick was one of the first employees hired to update the Trek universe. He created new spacecraft, tricorders, phasers, and hundreds of other props and set pieces. Using pencil, pen, and computer, Rick added Deep Space Nine and Voyager to his spacecraft inventory, and kept his hand in real space design with Voyager’s Ares IV Mars orbiter (blessed by planetary scientist Dr. Bruce Murray). Rick contributed graphic designs for the Star Trek Nemesis feature film, including the new Romulan bird of prey and Senate chamber floor. He also provided computer playback graphics and animation elements for Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris.

In 2004 Rick initiated Space Model Systems an outgrowth of his space and science fiction art studio operation. SMS has been dedicated to providing unique model and art products to the space science community, the space educator, collector, and hobbyist. Physical terrains and globes of Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Saturn’s moon Iapetus were produced for the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, for their Gunther Depths of Space exhibit. Digital renderings of the Cosmos 1 solar sail were done for the Planetary Society, along with composited images of a sixteen square foot scale model of their revised Lightsail 1. In addition, a scale model of a proposed asteroid retrieval spacecraft was built for the Keck Institute for Space Studies. Most recently, Rick was included in the special committee advising the National Air & Space Museum on the restoration and conservation of the eleven foot Starship U.S.S. Enterprise filming miniature.  

Ed Zadorozny

Ed "Z" ZADOROZNY (Zad-Oh-roz-nee): Over the past 30+ years since graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1978, he has considered it a great honor and privilege to be a part of our nation’s aerospace history, as a Design Engineer on the Space Shuttle Program. He has held management and technical positions interfacing with the Air Force and NASA for Rockwell/Boeing from 1978 to 2012. He managed production design, technical services, IRAD, CRAD and proposal groups for the Shuttle, Shuttle-C, Shuttle Launch Initiative, Space Station, & NASP. He held technical Design positions on structures, thermal protection systems, mechanisms & test projects. Test Design included field support to numerous wind tunnel and flight tests. He is a holder of 6 TPS and hot structure design related US patents. Ed supported the post-Columbia accident investigation as a member of the Palmdale Orbiter Major Mod review team as well as the follow-up Spacecraft Crew Survival Integrated Investigation Team that performed a multidisciplinary analysis that focused on the crew, crew equipment and the crew module to learn how to improve the design of future spacecraft. For Return-to-Flight, he managed the Shuttle Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) vehicle & integration hardware from DDT&E, through certification, production to flight operations and developed the recurring inspection requirements and astronaut training criteria that minimized the handling damage and maintained the certified life of the design. This effort earned him a NASA Astronauts’ Silver Snoopy Award for Shuttle Return-To-Flight in December 2004.     

Dr. Sarah Milkovich

Dr. Sarah Milkovich is a planetary geologist and system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Sarah works on spacecraft science operations, at the point where science and engineering meet. Sarah is currently the lead Science System Engineer for the Mars 2020 Rover, which will seek signs of ancient life on Mars. She has previously worked on Mars Science Laboratory (the Curiosity rover), the Mars Phoenix lander, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft at Saturn, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, where she was the investigation scientist for the HiRISE camera. She has won JPL and NASA team awards for her efforts to return the best possible science within spacecraft engineering constraints.  Sarah received her B.S. in planetary science from Caltech, and her M. Sc. and Ph.D. from Brown University in planetary geology with studies of mountain glaciers and polar deposits on Mars, and volcanism on Mercury.  

Tim Cassidy-Curtis

Tim Cassidy-Curtis studied aerospace engineering at Syracuse University, graduating in 1979, and went on to become part of the Space Shuttle program in 1982. He was part of the NASA team (still assigned to the US Air Force) for the final assembly of the Orbiters Discovery and Atlantis, and took part in two Shuttle launches. After a brief stint with air-breathing vehicles starting in 1989, Tim returned to the Space business in 1996, and has never left. Tim is a Space Professional, Level III, the highest level. Finally, Tim has published in a peer-reviewed journal on the subject of human spaceflight. So, yes, as a matter of fact, Tim is a Rocket Scientist. Tim is also a published science fiction writer. If…you know…that matters.  

Gerald Blackburn

Gerald Blackburn is an engineer and was a Project Manager with the Boeing Space and Communications Corporation. He was responsible for directing the Advanced Standards and Practices efforts in the Systems Safety and Product Assurance Department at the Huntington Beach Facility. Mr. Blackburn has been in the Aerospace Industry for over 40 years and retired in 2003. His career has spanned the entire manned space program from the X-15 at North American Aviation to the Apollo, Saturn SII, Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs.    During his career on Apollo he worked in quality assurance and as a materials engineer. Thirty-five years were spent at the Downey North American/NASA site the home of the Apollo and Space Shuttle spacecrafts.   He is an educator as well as a business leader. His proactive leadership in business and education partnerships is widely known. Gerald has taught at the California State University in Los Angeles, University of Southern California and Cerritos College. He has been an active member of several business and education advisory boards and served on the California State Department of Education Advisory Committee for Career Technology Education.   He is author of “Downey’s Aerospace History” by Arcadia Publishing.   Mr. Blackburn has a MBA from Pepperdine University and is a native Californian. He enjoys spending time with his seven grandchildren and traveling with his wife Kathy. Mr. Blackburn is founder and CEO of Tinkers Corner LLC a STEM education resource company. He is a member of the advisory Board of Directors for the City of Downey Columbia Memorial Space Center. He is a Past President of the Aerospace Legacy Foundation  here in California developing historical preservation and outreach projects.     

Gil BevenFlorez Jr,

Gil BevenFlorez Jr, MCM, CSHO, earned Certified Safety and Health Official certificates in Construction and General Industry through the Veteran’s program at Occupational Safety Council (OSCA)/Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. He also received a Master’s Degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California. A former Army Captain, Gil served in the military for sixteen years, including a year in Iraq. He is furthering his passion for aerospace by pursuing an M.S. in Occupational Safety Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His article, “Aerospace Safety: The Future is Now”, was published in the March 2017 issue of Professional Safety magazine. As a second-generation aerospace worker, he is dedicated to the safety of the aerospace community from the production line to the flight line. Currently, he is an authorized OSHA trainer at El Camino College.  

Seth Potter

Seth Potter has worked extensively in the aerospace industry, where his experience has included space-based solar power, wireless power transmission, robotic satellite servicing, lunar and planetary mission design, radar system design, and solid-state electronics. He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Science from New York University, as well as Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics from Columbia University. He is a member of the National Space Society Board of Advisors and President of the OASIS – Los Angeles Chapter of NSS. In addition, he is a member of the Council of the Los Angeles – Las Vegas Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has worked with A-MAN, Inc., a K-12 STEM Learning Center in Southern California on a Global Learning XPRIZE entry. He is also on the Advisory Board of the Aerospace Legacy Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving Southern California's aerospace history. He is currently an independent consultant, working on a project with the Naval Research Laboratory  

Will Morton

Will Morton born in WV, lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife Yvonne.  He worked as an Electrical Engineer on the Space Shuttle program for 16 years.  He is now retired and teaches at Rio Hondo Community College.   

Dani Kollin

Dani Kollin is a Prometheus award-winning author, freedom-loving provocateur, SoCal surfer and very proud dad.      

Eytan Kollin

Eytan Kollin is a Prometheus award-winning author, history teacher, voracious debater, and all-around bon vivant.    

David Gerrold

David Gerrold is the author of over 50 books, hundreds of articles and columns, and over a dozen television episodes. He is a classic sci-fi writer that will go down in history as having created some of the most popular and redefining scripts, books, and short stories in the genre. TV credits include episodes from Star Trek(“The Trouble With Tribbles” and “The Cloud Minders”), Star Trek Animated(“More Tribbles, More Troubles” and “Bem”), Babylon 5 (“Believers”), Twilight Zone (“A Day In Beaumont” and “A Saucer Of Loneliness”), Land Of The Lost(“Cha-Ka,” “The Sleestak God,” “Hurricane,” “Possession,” and “Circle”), Tales From The Darkside (“Levitation” and “If The Shoes Fit”), Logan’s Run (“Man Out Of Time”), and others. Novels include When HARLIE Was One, The Man Who Folded Himself, The War Against The Chtorr septology, The Star Wolf trilogy, The Dingilliad young adult trilogy, the Trackers duology, and many more sci-fi classics. Additionally, the autobiographical tale of his son’s adoption, The Martian Child, won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette of the Year and was the basis for the 2007 movie, Martian Child, starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Joan Cusack. 

Dean Davis

Dean Davis is a University of Colorado graduate who majored in physics, aerospace engineering and astrogeophysics. He went on to Denver Metro State University where he majored in computer science, and the University of Denver where he majored in systems engineering management. He has just graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education where he specialized in high school physics, engineering, Earth & planetary science, astronomy and aerospace education.   Mr. Davis is heavily involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational enrichment. As International SunSat Design Competition Advisory Panel Consultant & Judge; STEM chairman for the National Management Association (NMA): Boeing Aerospace Leadership Chapter (BALC) and Lockheed Martin Leadership Association (LMLA) organizations;  Scientists, Engineers, & Technicians Leadership Organization (SETLA) Super Science Saturday (SSS) Co-Chairman; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Los Angeles & Antelope Valley Sections K-12 STEM Chairman; AIAA Western United States K-12 STEM Deputy Director; National Space Society (NSS) California & Hawaii Director; California Space Authority (CSA) California Space Educational Workforce Initiative (CSEWI) Director; Satellite Educators Association (SEA) Vice-President, Southern California Aero Club (SCAC) Scholarship Committee Judge; International Conrad Foundation and AIAA/NSS Space Colonization Competitions Mentor and Judge and Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) STEM Technical Consultant and Judge.   For his outstanding engineering and science technology contributions and his selfless educational enrichment service Dean Davis has been presented with many prestigious awards including: being named an American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow, Earning the: National Coalition of Aeronautics And Space Education (NCASE) Aerospace Education Leadership 2010 Crown Circle and 2011 Strickler Awards, Boeing William Allen 2009 Exceptional Volunteer Service Award, 2005-2012 AIAA Harry Staubs K-12 STEM Educational Enrichment Awards, Twenty Lockheed Martin, Fifteen Boeing, Six Raytheon and Eight Northrop Grumman Engineering Technical Excellence Commendations, Inducted into: Sigma Gamma Tau, Sigma Pi Sigma, Mu Alpha Theta and Arnold Air Society, Named: Most Outstanding University of Colorado Military Engineering Student by the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and the Air Force Association (AFA) Most Outstanding Colorado Aerospace Education Student.  

Charles Lee Jackson, II

is an internationally recognized film scholar specializing in Hollywood’s “golden age” and an author and cartoonist whose books include science fiction and fantasy elements. A recipient of LASFS’ Forry Award” for service to science fiction he has been a member of the SF community for 50 years.    

Karen B. Austin

Karen B. Austin is the Director of the SMC Heritage Center at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. She advises SMC and the SMC Heritage Foundation (the private organization supporting the SMC Heritage Center) on all matters of museum policy, including acquisition, disposition and use of the collections on loan from the National Museum of the Air Force. Ms. Austin serves as SMC’s point of contact for heritage issues with the Air Force Space Command History Office. She also handles the Air Force Art Program for Los Angeles Air Force Base. Before accepting the position as Director of the Heritage Center, she managed one of the largest archives on military space in the United States at SMC’s History Office. Ms. Austin’s archival and museum training within the Air Force Historical Research Agency and National Museum of the Air Force has served her well in the development of the SMC Heritage Center. Ms. Austin has been a member of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) since 2010. The AAM supports all museums within the United States. Through advocacy and excellence, the AAM strengthens the museum community supporting 30,000 museums, individuals and companies to develop standards and best practices, provide resources and career development and advocate for museums. Ms. Austin has been employed at Los Angeles Air Force Base and has worked in the SMC History Office since 1999. She’s an alumna of California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor of Arts in French. She speaks fluent German and is a chalk pastel artist specializing in Southern California landscapes and portraits. 

John C. Mankins

John C. Mankins is Founder and President of Mankins Space Technology, Inc., a start-up company, focused on the objective of developing and commercializing novel space  systems solutions and new technologies, primarily those involving applications of highly modular systems architectures Mr. Mankins’ 25-year career at NASA and CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) ranged from flight projects and space mission operations, to systems level innovation and advanced technology research & development management. For 10 years, he was the manager of Advanced Concepts Studies at NASA, and the lead for critical studies of space solar power, highly reusable space transportation, affordable human exploration approaches, and other topics. He was the creator or co-creator of numerous novel concepts, including the ‘MagLifter’ electromagnetic launch assist system, the Internet-based NASA ‘Virtual Research Center’ the ‘Solar Clipper’ interplanetary transport vehicle, the ‘SunTower’ space solar power system, the ‘Hybrid Propellant Module’ for in-space refueling, the ‘HabBot’ mobile planetary outpost architecture, the Advanced Technology Life cycle Analysis System (ATLAS), and others.     For more information about ISDC® 2018 go to

Rod Pyle

Rod Pyle is a space historian who has worked with NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Johnson Space Center. He has written ten books on the history and technology of space exploration and science for major publishers in the US, UK and Asia, including “Mars: Making Contact” (Sterling books), “Blueprint for a Battlestar” (Andre Deutsch) and “Amazing Stories of the Space Age” (Prometheus Books), all due in 2016. His newest book, “Space 2.0: The New Space Age” will debut in 2017. As a journalist, Rod’s work has appeared in,, the Huffington Post, Popular Science, and many other print and online venues. Rod has also produced documentary programming on spaceflight for The History Channel as well as Discovery Communications. He has written on spaceflight and science for NASA/JPL and Caltech, and authored a guide to executive education for the Johnson Space Center/The Conference Board’s Apollo Leadership Experience.   

David Dressler

David Dressler is a Space Advocate. He has been a National Space Society (NSS) and Planetary Society Member since 1991. He was the Technology Manager for the San Diego County Career Technical Education / Regional Occupational Program (ROP) from 1998 to 2014. He was the Founding Director and program manager for the San Diego Space Society (2007-2014) a NSS Chapter. He also co-organized five SpaceUp events in San Diego. In 2016 he became the NSS Conferences Committee Chair, leading current and future ISDC conference planning and implementation. Previous Experience includes: Conference Chair, ISDC 2013; Programming Co-Chair, ISDC 2015; Ballroom Stage Manager, ISDC 2015, 2016, 2017      

Haroon B. Oqab

Haroon B. Oqab serves as the National Technical Program Manager of the Canadian Space Society and is the current EIS Program Manager for Enterprise in Space, a National Space Society education program. Haroon is an aeronautical engineering professional with a longstanding fascination with propulsion physics relating to achieving interstellar distances. His main interests lay in fully integrated spacecraft design with a particular focus on propulsion engineering, development of infrastructure supporting an interplanetary civilization, and advancement of technology for space exploration beyond the solar system.      

Aggie Kobrin

Aggie  Kobrin  6is the founder and director of CEC Global Events, a meeting and event management firm located in Irvine, California. She is experienced in most aspects of event and conference management from start-up small events to large conferences and tradeshows. With over 15 years of event management experience her clients range from Fortune 500 companies to local profit and nonprofit groups, women's organizations, small and large associations. Previous experience includes: Operations Coordinator, ISDC 2013; Executive Producer, ISDC 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017     

Byron Cragg

Byron Cragg is an undergraduate B.S. in Geology major at Cal State University, Fullerton. For the past 2 years, he has been in charge of the science team on a multidisciplinary engineering project called Titan Rover that designs, manufactures and builds a Mars rover platform to compete in The Mar's Societies annual University Rover Challenge in Hanksville, UT. He recently spoke at the 20th Annual Mars Society Convention at UC Irvine about Titan Rovers experience at URC 2017 and works to promote the future of space exploration to the global community.   

Michelle Pincus

Michelle Pincus is a character in the Marvel universe, has written a Rule of Acquisition,  and taught a Ghost Buster how to play Pokemon. Besides these colorful claims to fame, she also has co-chaired a Loscon, ran a one-day children's science day, and has worked many other conventions. Professionally she is currently executive staff for a professional writer’s conference and working with an educational non-profit among other pursuits.      >

Warren James

Warren W. James, is an aerospace engineer who has spent more than 40 years working on the design of launch vehicles and spacecraft as well as developing systems designs for asteroid mining spacecraft under a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts contract.  His work has included expendable and reusable launch vehicles (air and ground launched), Earth orbiting satellites, probes to the planets, CubeSats, piloted spacecraft, space stations, lunar orbiters and landers as well as piloted interplanetary spacecraft.  In other words, he designs vehicles to go where no one has gone before and designs the missions to get them there.  He is currently working for the Air Force Space and Missile Command where he spends his days doing Advanced Development on interesting projects you can ask him about but which he’s not allowed to talk about.

When not doing engineering he is the host of the science fiction radio show Mike Hodel’s Hour 25 - a position he has filled since the early-90’s.  Originally appearing on a local public radio station it is now broadcast over the internet at  

He lives in Altadena with his wife Suzanne Gibson and their little white rabbit where they try and find the answer to the eternal question, “Just where are we going to put all these books?”.

Matthew Monahan

Matthew Monahan, born and raised in LA county, since 2012 doing research on conceptual and unrealized space programs and high speed aircraft for a future publication, father worked for Hughes, McDonnell Douglas and currently Boeing, grandparents both briefly worked in aerospace in various years after ww2, lifelong interest in conceptual design and transportation among many other hobbies