GUEST BIO'S

ROBERT GOUNLEY

  

Robert Gounley is a Systems Engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).  He currently works on the Europa Clipper Project – a mission to study that Jovian satellite’s ice-covered ocean for signs of life.  Previously, he worked on Galileo, a mission to explore Jupiter and its satellites, as well as Mars InSight, GRACE Follow-On, GRAIL, Dawn, Mars Exploratation Rover, and Deep Space 1.  For his Galileo work, Bob received NASA's Exceptional Service and Exceptional Achievement medals.

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.

ALDO SPADONI

  

Aldo Spadoni is an MIT graduate with an aerospace engineering career spanning over 35 years. He has made significant technical contributions to numerous advanced aircraft, missile, and spacecraft programs for NASA, DARPA, and the U.S. Armed Services. He began his engineering career at Hughes Space & Communications Group as a spacecraft configuration design engineer working on the Galileo Jupiter spacecraft. Later, he joined TRW Defense & Space Systems as a navigation systems engineering specialist working on ICBMs and spacecraft programs. Aldo joined Northrop in 1985, supporting the advanced design team in the area of advanced avionics system integration and project management. He created and managed an award-winning creative simulation team at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. Aldo is a recipient of NASA’s 2004 Turning Goals Into Reality team award for Reusable Launch Vehicle Development. He is an accomplished self-taught artist and concept designer with four U.S. patents to his credit. He is a Fellow of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) and is currently serving on its Board of Trustees. Aldo’s consulting company, Aerospace Imagineering, specializes in the conceptual design, visualization and prototyping of advanced technology products and concepts. His visualizations have appeared in numerous magazines and television documentaries. He has worked closely with hard science fiction authors such as Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle to bring their technological visions to life. As an aerospace concept designer and technology consultant to the entertainment industry, he supported the production of APOLLO 13, SUPERNOVA, STEALTH, IRON MAN 1 & 2, and other movie projects. He helped produce the 2009 National Geographic Channel documentary called HITLER’S STEALTH FIGHTER. Aldo’s personal goals are to promote STEAM education and create compelling visions of humanity’s spacefaring future.  


SETH POTTER, Ph.D

  

Seth D. Potter, Ph.D. works in the 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 President of the OASIS – Los Angeles Chapter of the National Space Society and a member of the NSS Board of Advisors, as well as the Aerospace Legacy Foundation Board of Directors. 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, and is a member of the Cape Town, South Africa NSS Chapter Advisory Board. 

MICHELLE EVANS

Michelle Evans is the founder and president of Mach 25 Media (www.Mach25Media.com) and is a writer, photographer, and communications specialist in aerospace. She has written the bestselling book “The X-15 Rocket

Plane, Flying the First Wings into Space” which was published by the University of Nebraska Press as part of their “Outward Odyssey, People's History of Spaceflight” series.


Michelle's background in aerospace engineering includes serving in the US Air Force working on missile systems, and later in private industry accomplishing environmental testing for systems used in airliners and spacecraft. Her current work with Mach 25 Media provides education and display services for astronaut appearances and other space-related events at government facilities, science

centers, schools, and other venues across the country and overseas.


Michelle is a Distinguished Lecturer with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and her book on the X-15 was a finalist for the Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature. Michelle received the Diverse Community Leader Award from Orange County Human Relations, and was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Orange County. She has appeared in numerous publications, including Air & Space Smithsonian, Ad Astra, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and New York Times. Michelle was also a technical consultant on the Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man.”

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.

MARK PESTANA (Sunday Only)

Mark Pestana Colonel, USAF (ret) is a research pilot and spaceflight operations engineer. He is a consultant for NASA, FAA, academia, and industry as a Subject Matter Expert in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), operations research, and human factors engineering. He earned a BS in Natural Sciences (with minor studies in engineering mathematics) from Loyola University, Los Angeles, and an MS in Systems Management/Research and Development from the University of Southern California. In the USAF he served as a pilot, a research & development engineer, and Space Shuttle operations director. Mark served as a NASA Research Pilot and Flight Test Engineer for NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, CA. He flew worldwide Earth Science and Aeronautics research missions. His previous NASA assignment was at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, as a flight crew operations engineer in the NASA Astronaut Office. He developed flight crew operations concepts, interfaces, and procedures for the International Space Station Program. Mark has flown over 5000 hours in various types, from heavy transport to supersonic jet, and piloted 213 reconnaissance missions in hostile airspace. He has published several technical papers and presentations on aviation and space research topics, as a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the International Test & Evaluation Association, Society of Flight Test Engineers, Aerospace Human Factors Association, USAF, DOD, and NASA. He an adjunct faculty in aerospace engineering and safety at the University of Southern California and California State University Northridge. Mark is an award-winning artist with paintings in the USAF Pentagon, corporate, and private collections.

HILDRETH (HAL) WALKER, JR.

Hildreth (Hal) Walker, Jr. led the manufacturing, testing and operation of the Korad K1500 Multi-Stage Ruby Laser System during the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing lunar laser ranging experiment. This historic first successful interplanetary lunar laser ranging experiment was replicated in 1994 in an interactive exhibit located in the Hands on Science section of Science in American Life at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Walker himself was honored in the exhibit’s permanent section, “The New Moon.”  Mr. Walker’s space related technology involvements began in 1959 as a technical member of the RCA Corporation’s BMEWS (Ballistic Missile Early Warning System) situated in the Alaskan frontiers to detect Soviet Missile nuclear attacks.  In 1974 Hal joined the Hughes Aircraft Company where he participated in developing and placing the first Tactical Laser Target Designator System into the U.S. Army inventory. Mr. Walker retired in 1989 from the Electro-Optical & Data Systems Group (EDSG)  Management team of the Hughes Aircraft Company.

Hal then served until 2010 as president and CEO of TECH PLUS, a laser technology consultant group. The group participated in national projects such as the Laser Induced Plasma Fusion (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Hal was appointed to be a JPL/NASA Solar System Ambassador in 2000. In this role he participates as a speaker and specialist in space-related technology issues. His responsibilities are promoting public education and development of local community awareness and benefits regarding space technology and deep space future exploration. He is a Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Educator Associate. Hal is Co-Founder and President of the newest 2018 NSS Chapter, The Cape Town Space Society of South Africa. The first ever located on the Continent of Africa.

On July 20, 2019 Hal Walker along with NASA will be celebrating the 50th Year anniversary of the Historic Apollo 11 first Moon Landing of Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. This Mission represents the most significant accomplishment in human history.  For more information call 310-412-2680 or web site www.aman.org.

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.

GREG SCHULTZ

Greg Schultz is a Retired High School Teacher with 32 years of service at Centennial HS, Corona CA.  He taught Electronics/Mechatronics/Robotics, CNC Woodworking and Drafting He’s Involved with Parallax Boe-bot, Lego Mindstorm, Vex Robotics, and Arduino


Greg is involved with competitions in:

· Electrathon America, Solar Bikes, MWD (Metropolitan Water District) Solar Cup Boat Racing, MESA Robotics, Vex Robotics

· Amateur Radio License  N6IAF

· Volunteer Summer Science Camp  -  Lead instructor for Electronics and Robotics  27 years

· Former Treasurer and President of CCEI (California Council of Electronics Instructors)

· Owner – Greg’s Custom Woodworking & CNC

www.gregsworkshop.com 

LARRY NIVEN

Larry Niven was born in Los Angeles, Niven was raised in Beverly Hills and attended school both there and at the Cate School in Carpentaria. He graduated in mathematics from Washburn University in Kansas and did a year of graduate work in math at the University of California in Los Angeles before he decided to devote himself to writing. By 1964 he had sold his first 

story, "The Coldest Place," to Worlds of If. Two years later he turned another short story into his first published novel, World of Ptavvs, the book which initiated his "Known Space" series.

He is known for his many novels such as the “Ringworld”, “Intregral Trees”, “Gil Hamilton”, and “Dream Park” Series and has been recognized and received honors for many of his works such as the Hugo, Locus, Nebula Awards. Niven has also collaborated with many other authors such as David Gerrold, Jerry Pournelle, Steven Barnes & Brenda Cooper. 

DAVID BRIN (Sunday, Skyp)

David Brin is a scientist, tech speaker/consultant, and author. A film by Kevin Costner was based on Brin’s novel, The Postman. His newest - about our survival in the near future - is Existence. Brin’s 16 novels, including NY Times Bestsellers and Hugo Award winners, have been translated into more than twenty languages. In 1989 one of them, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and the world wide web. Dr. Brin serves on the external advisory council of NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts program (NIAC). David appears frequently on shows such as Nova and The Universe and Life After People, speaking about science and future trends. He has keynoted scores of major events hosted by the likes of IBM, GE, Google, Boeing and the Institute for Ethics in Emerging Technologies. His non-fiction book -- The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? -- won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association.    (Website:  http://www.davidbrin.com/

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.

KEITH G. KATO

Keith G. Kato has attended SF cons since 1972, and in 1974 began his famous Chili Party.  He served as the 4th president of The Heinlein Society from 2014-2018.  Keith was born in Los Angeles, attended UCLA and UC Irvine, and holds a Ph.D. in physics; SF author Gregory Benford was his dissertation advisor.  He worked a 35+ year career of industrial R&D with multiple patents and numerous scientific papers to his credit.  Now retired, Keith does technical consultation, and is presently attempting to write a specialized high school mathematics/physics text book.  He has been a martial artist since 1965 in Kodokan judo and Shotokan karate, and holds the 6th degree black belt Shotokan karate.  Keith is a patron of the arts, and in any given year sees 40-50 musicals, plays, concerts, and operas.  He lives in Alta Loma, California, aka “Cucamonga” for all you Jack Benny fans.

PETER MERLIN

Peter W. Merlin is an aerospace historian and author of numerous books, technical papers, and articles. His writings have covered such topics as space exploration, aerospace program histories, technology case studies, human factors engineering, unmanned aerial vehicles, aerospace archaeology, prehistoric cave paintings and petroglyphs, archaeoastronomy, history of the Nevada Test Site and Area 51, and lessons learned from aviation mishaps. He has also appeared in more than a dozen documentaries on the History Channel, Discovery, National Geographic, and others. Merlin is a member of the Flight Test Historical Foundation, Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation, National Atomic Museum Foundation, and Roadrunners Internationale. Merlin was born in Hollywood, California, and grew up on Wonderland Avenue in Laurel Canyon. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Studies from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. He has spent his entire career in the Southern California aviation industry from various positions with commercial airlines to government contracts for NASA. He currently resides in Lancaster, California.

JOHN DECHANCIE

John DeChancie is the author of over two dozen books, fiction and nonfiction, and has written for periodicals as widely varied as Cult Movies and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. His novels have been attracting a wide readership for more than twenty years, and over a million copies of his books have seen print, many in foreign languages. 


Born in Pittsburgh, he worked for a time in public television, then began writing full time. John's first novel was Starrigger (Berkley/Ace , 1983), followed by Red Limit Freeway (1985) and Paradox Alley (1987), completing the Skyway Trilogy.


His fantasy adventure series, beginning with Castle Perilous, became a best seller for Berkley/Ace. He has also written in the horror genre. His short fiction has appeared in numerous original anthologies, the latest of which is 18 Wheels of Science Fiction (Big Time Books, 2018).  


He has taught writing at California State University at Northridge, Seaton Hill University, Pennsylvania, Learning Tree in Los Angeles, and for Writers Online Workshops since its inception. He enjoys reading, and reads every kind of fiction from the novels of Thomas Wolfe to the mysteries of Robert B. Parker. In nonfiction, he particularly likes biography and popular science. Now living in Los Angeles, he is at work adapting some of his novels into screenplays. He has also written magazine articles and two books of nonfiction.

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.

MICHELLE PINCUS

Michelle Pincus is a character in the Marvel Universe, taught a Ghost-Buster how to play Pokemon, and wrote a Rule of Acquisition.  Besides these colorful claims to fame, she is also the current president of LASFS, a past Loscon chair, created and ran a one day children's science mini-convention, and has worked on many conventions.  Professionally she currently is working with an educational non-profit, GriffinEd.org; and also working on an independent film project.