NRC Names Human Spaceflight Technical Feasibility Panel

The National Research Council’s (NRC’) Committee on Human Spaceflight has named 14 members to its Technical Feasibility Panel, which will help the committee evaluate the future of the American space program.

The panel is being chaired by John Sommerer, who is head of the space sector at John Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL).  Other notable members of the panel include: former NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun; Douglas Cooke, former NASA associate administrator for Exploration Systems; Robert Dickman, former commander of the 45th Space Wing; soft spacesuit designer Dava J. Newman; and space architect Guillermo Trotti.

The appointments, which were posted on Dec. 13, are provisional for 20 calendar days and are subject to public comment. Please use the feedback form on the announcement page to provide your input.

The full list of panel members is below followed by their biographies.

Human Spaceflight: Technical Feasibility Panel Members

  1. John Sommerer, (Chair), Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory
  2. Mr. Douglas M. Allen, Independent Consultant
  3. Dr. Raymond E. Arvidson, Washington University in St. Louis
  4. Dr. Richard C. Atkinson, University of California, San Diego
  5. Dr. Robert D. Braun, Georgia Institute of Technology
  6. Dr. Elizabeth R. Cantwell, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  7. Mr. Douglas R. Cooke, Cooke Concepts and Solutions
  8. Dr. David E. Crow, University of Connecticut
  9. Dr. Ravi B. Deo, EMBR
  10. Mr. Robert S. Dickman, RD Space, LLC
  11. Dr. Joseph W. Hamaker, The Millennium Group International
  12. Dr. Dava J. Newman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  13. Dr. John R. Rogacki, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
  14. Mr. Guillermo Trotti, Trotti and Associates, Inc.

Member Biographies

Dr. John C. Sommerer – (Chair), Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory

JOHN C. SOMMERER is head of the space sector at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), where he is responsible for the planning and execution of all space exploration and applications conducted for NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD), including the Messenger mission to Mercury, the New Horizons mission to Pluto, the recently launched Radiation Belt Storm Probes, Solar Probe Plus, and the Missile Defense Agency’s Precision Tracking Space System. Previously, he was APL’s director of science and technology, responsible for planning its overall research program and for its contributions to JHU’s academic and research programs. Dr. Sommerer has made internationally recognized theoretical and experimental contributions to the fields of nonlinear dynamics and complex systems. He has served on several technical advisory bodies for the U.S. government, as well as having served as a special government employee while a member, vice chair, and chair of the Naval Research Advisory Committee, reporting to the Secretary of the Navy. In 2011, Dr. Sommerer was elected to the International Academy of Astronautics, and he was named an inaugural Daniel Coit Gilman Scholar by the JHU, designating him as one of the foremost thought leaders in the University. He was an advisor to the Howard County, Maryland, new business incubator, NeoTech, during its formation, and he served as a director of the Jim Rouse Entrepreneurial Fund. Dr. Sommerer earned a B.S. in systems science and mathematics from Washington University, an M.S. in applied physics from JHU, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland. He has served on several National Research Council (NRC) committees including as chair of the Panel on Survivability and Lethality Analysis, and as a member of the Committee on Operational Science and Technology Options for Defeating Improvised Explosive Devices, the Committee on Assessment of NASA Laboratory Capabilities, and the Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board.

Mr. Douglas M. Allen
Independent Consultant

DOUGLAS M. ALLEN is an independent consultant. Mr. Allen has 32 years of experience in advanced aerospace technology research, development, and testing. He is an expert in space power technology; his achievements include leading the successful first flight of multi-junction solar cells, leading the successful first flight of modular concentrator solar arrays, teaching AIAA’s Space Power Systems Design short course, leading development of high specific energy batteries, managing development of nuclear space power systems, and leading development of solar power systems designed to survive hostile threats. Mr. Allen was awarded AIAA’s Aerospace Power Systems Award for outstanding career achievements. Previously, he worked for the Schafer Corporation for 18 years. Mr. Allen led multiple modeling and simulation efforts for the Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. He was Schafer’s chief engineer for a NASA contract that included developing a concept for Moon and Mars exploration and conceptual design of a Crew Exploration Vehicle. Prior to that, Mr. Allen managed launch vehicle and power technology programs for the DOD’s Strategic Defense Initiative Organization. Mr. Allen received an M.S. in mechanical engineering/energy conversion and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton. His previous NRC membership service includes the Committee on Radioisotope Power Systems, the Committee on Thermionic Research and Technology, and the NASA Technology Roadmap: Propulsion and Power Panel.

Dr. Raymond E. Arvidson
Washington University in St. Louis

RAYMOND E. ARVIDSON is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also a fellow of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences. He directs the Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory (EPRSL), which is involved in many aspects of NASA’s planetary exploration program, including developing science objectives and plans for missions, participating in mission operations and data analysis, and archiving and distributing data (NASA PDS Geosciences Node) relevant to characterizing and understanding planetary surfaces and interiors. Dr. Arvidson has participated in the Viking Lander (Image Team), Mars Global Surveyor, Odyssey (interdisciplinary scientist), Mars Exploration Rover (Spirit and Opportunity as deputy principal investigator), Phoenix Mars Lander (Robotic Arm co-investigator), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (CRISM Team), Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity mobility scientist) and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express missions (OMEGA Team). He received his Ph.D. in planetary sciences from Brown University. His NRC experience includes previously serving as chair of the Committee on Data Management and Computation and as a member of the Planetary Science Decadal Survey: Mars Panel, the Panel on Remote Sensing, and the Space Studies Board.

Dr. Richard C. Atkinson
University of California, San Diego

RICHARD C. ATKINSON (NAS/IOM) is president emeritus of the University of California (UC) and professor emeritus of cognitive science and psychology at UC, San Diego. He has also served as president of the UC system. His tenure was marked by innovative approaches to admissions and outreach, research initiatives to accelerate the UC’s contributions to the state’s economy, and a challenge to the country’s most widely used admissions examination—the SAT—that paved the way to major changes in the way millions of America’s youth now are tested for college admissions. Before becoming president of the UC system, Dr. Atkinson served for 15 years as chancellor of UC, San Diego, where he led that campus’s emergence as one of the leading research universities in the nation. Dr. Atkinson has also served as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and as a long-term member of the faculty at Stanford University. His research has been concerned with problems of memory and cognition. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and the American Philosophical Society. Dr. Atkinson is the recipient of many honorary degrees and the Vannevar Bush Medal of the National Science Board. He received his Ph.D. in mathematical psychology in Indiana University and a B.A. in mathematical psychology the University of Chicago. Dr. Atkinson’s previous NRC service includes chair of the Division Committee for the Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education and the Board on Testing Assessment and member of the Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States: Analysis and Policy Options, National Forum on Science and Technology Goals: Harnessing Technology for America’s Economic Future, and the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy.

Dr. Robert D. Braun
Georgia Institute of Technology

ROBERT D. BRAUN serves as the David and Andrew Lewis Professor of Space Technology in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. As director of Georgia Tech’s Space Systems Design Laboratory, he leads an active research program focused on the design of advanced flight systems and technologies for planetary exploration. Dr. Braun has worked extensively in the areas of entry system design, planetary atmospheric flight, and space mission architecture development and has contributed to the design, development, test, and operation of several robotic space flight systems. In 2010 and 2011, he served as the first NASA chief technologist in more than a decade. In this capacity, he was the senior agency executive responsible for technology and innovation policy and programs. Earlier in his career, Dr. Braun served on the technical staff of the NASA Langley Research Center. He is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) fellow and the principle author or co-author of over 200 technical publications in the fields of planetary exploration, atmospheric entry, multidisciplinary design optimization, and systems engineering. Dr. Braun has a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the Pennsylvania State University, an M.S. in astronautics from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. He previously served as co-chair of the NRC’s Committee on Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts and as a member of the Committee on the Planetary Science Decadal Survey: Mars Panel and the Committee on New Opportunities in Solar System Exploration.

Dr. Elizabeth R. Cantwell
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL is director, mission development engineering directorate at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She previously served as the deputy associate laboratory director for the National Security Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Prior to joining Oak Ridge, Dr. Cantwell was the division leader for the International, Space, and Response Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her career began in building life support systems for human spaceflight missions with the NASA. She received an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.B.A. in finance from Wharton School, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Cantwell’s has extensive NRC experience including current memberships on the Space Studies Board and the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences Board; co-chair of the Committee on Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space; and member of the Committee on NASA’s Bioastronautics Critical Path Roadmap, the Review of NASA Strategic Roadmaps: Space Station Panel, the Committee on Technology for Human/Robotic Exploration and Development of Space, and the Committee on Advanced Technology for Human Support in Space.

Mr. Douglas R. Cooke
Cooke Concepts and Solutions

DOUGLAS R. COOKE is an aerospace consultant for Cooke Concepts and Solutions. He is recently retired from NASA, after a 38-year career at Johnson Space Center (JSC) and NASA Headquarters. He advises on company strategies, program management, proposal development, program strategies, and technical matters. Mr. Cooke is also a member of the International Space Station (ISS) Advisory Committee. His experience at NASA was in engineering and senior level program management positions in the Space Shuttle, ISS, and Human Exploration Programs. During his career, he has had major leadership responsibilities and achievements during critical periods of each of these human spaceflight programs. In Mr. Cooke’s last three years at NASA, he served as the associate administrator of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. In his last year at NASA, he led efforts within NASA to adopt the current vehicle designs for the Orion and Space Launch System, which led to public announcements of those programs. As associate administrator, Mr. Cooke was also responsible for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, Commercial Cargo and Crew, Human Research and Exploration Technology Programs. Prior to this he was deputy of the same directorate since it was formed in 2004. He worked at NASA’s JSC for over 31 years in engineering and program management positions, and also had several high priority detail assignments to other NASA centers and NASA Headquarters. His awards include the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award, Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, three NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, two JSC Certificates of Commendation, and the Space Transportation Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Cooke received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University. He has no previous NRC experience.

Dr. David E. Crow
University of Connecticut

DAVID E. CROW (NAE) is professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut and retired senior vice president of engineering at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Engine Company. At Pratt and Whitney he was influential in the design, development, test, and manufacturing in support of a full line of engines for aerospace and industrial applications. He was involved with products that include high-thrust turbofans for large commercial and military aircraft; turboprops and small turbofans for regional and corporate aircraft and helicopters; booster engines and upper stage propulsion systems for advanced launch vehicles; turbopumps for the Space Shuttle; and industrial engines for land-based power generation. His involvement included sophisticated computer modeling and standard work to bring constant improvements in the performance and reliability of the company’s products, while at the same time reducing noise and emissions. Dr. Crow received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in from the University of Missouri-Rolla, his M.S. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his B.S. in mechanical engineering from University of Missouri-Rolla. Dr. Crow’s current NRC service includes chair of the Panel on Air and Ground Vehicle Technology and as a member on the Army Research Laboratory Technical assessment Board. His previous membership service with the NRC is extensive and includes the Committee on Examination of the U.S. Air Force’s Aircraft Sustainment Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet those Needs, the Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design, the Committee for the Evaluation of NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Research Program, the Committee on Analysis of Air Force Engine Efficiency Improvement Options for Large Non-Fighter Aircraft, the Committee on Air Force/Department of Defense Aerospace Propulsion and the NASA Technology Roadmap: Propulsion and Power Panel.

Dr. Ravi B. Deo

RAVI B. DEO is president and founder of EMBR, an aerospace engineering and technology services company specializing in strategic planning, business development, program management and structural engineering. Dr. Deo formerly served as the director of the technology, space systems market segment at Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Integrated Systems Sector. He has worked as a program and functional manager for government sponsored projects on cryotanks, integrated airplane and space vehicle systems health management, and structures and materials, thermal protection systems, and software development. He has extensive experience in road mapping technologies, program planning, technical program execution, scheduling, budgeting, proposal preparation, and business management of technology development contracts. Among his significant accomplishments are the NASA-funded Space Launch Initiative, Next Generation Launch Technology, Orbital Space Plane, and High Speed Research programs, where he was responsible for the development of multidisciplinary technologies. Dr. Deo is the author of more than 50 technical publications and is the editor of one book. He has served on the Scientific Advisory Board to the Air Force Research Laboratories. Dr. Deo received a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. His NRC service includes membership on the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, the Committee on the NASA Technology Roadmap, the Panel C: Structures and Materials and the Committee on Assessment of NASA Laboratory Capabilities

Mr. Robert S. Dickman
RD Space, LLC

ROBERT S. DICKMAN is an independent consultant for RDSpace, LLC. Prior to retirement, he served seven years as the executive director of the AIAA. He is also a USAF major general (retired), having served 34-years as an USAF officer. His military career spanned the space business from basic research in particle physics to command of the 45th Space Wing and director of the eastern range at Cape Canaveral, Florida. He served as the USAF director of space programs, the DOD Space Architect, and the senior military officer at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). He retired from active duty in as a major general. Prior to joining the AIAA, he was deputy for military space in the office of the undersecretary of the U.S. Air Force. Major General Dickman has been a member of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee and has served on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and the NRO’s Technical Advisory Group. He is a fellow of the AIAA and a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics. Major General Dickman earned a B.S. in physics from Union College, an M.S. in space physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and an M.S. in management from Regina College, as well he is a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Naval War College. He previously served as a member on the NRC Committee for the Reusable Booster System: Review and Assessment.

Dr. Joseph W. Hamaker
The Millennium Group International

JOSEPH W. HAMAKER is a senior cost analyst with The Millennium Group International (TMGI). He performs cost and schedule estimating, risk/uncertainty analysis and related economic assessments, cost-estimating tool development, and related work for new and ongoing space projects. Previously, Dr. Hamaker was the director of the Cost Analysis Division of NASA headquarters. In this position, he led the development of independent cost estimates for NASA programs as well as the establishment of strategic management policy for the overall NASA cost-estimating process. Prior to assuming the lead cost position at NASA headquarters, Dr. Hamaker spent 29 years at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the last 16 as manager of the Engineering Cost Office there. He is certified by the Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis as a cost analyst and by the International Society of Parametric Analysts as a parametric practitioner. Dr. Hamaker has a B.S. in industrial engineering from Tennessee Technological University and a B.A. in economics, an M.S. in engineering management, and a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Alabama, Huntsville. He previously served as a member on the NRC Committee on Cost Growth in NASA Earth and Space Science Missions.

Dr. Dava J. Newman
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

DAVA J. NEWMAN is a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She also serves as affiliate faculty in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program; MacVicar Faculty Fellow and director of the Technology and Policy Program and the MIT Portugal Program at MIT. She specializes in investigating human performance across the spectrum of gravity. Dr. Newman has served as principal investigator on four spaceflight experiments, and she is an expert in the areas of extravehicular activity (EVA), human movement, physics-based modeling, human-robotic cooperation, and design. Currently she is working on advanced space suit design and biomedical devices, especially to enhance locomotion implementing wearable sensors. Her exoskeleton innovations are now being applied to “soft suits” to study and enhance locomotion on Earth for children with Cerebral Palsy. Dr. Newman’s finite element modeling work provided NASA the first three-dimensional representation of bone loss and loading applicable for long-duration missions. Her teaching focuses on engineering design, aerospace biomedicine, and leadership, all involving active learning, hands-on design, and information technology to enhance student learning. Dr. Newman has over 175 research publications, including an Engineering Design text and CDROM. She was named one of the Best Inventors of 2007 for her BioSuit™ system by Time Magazine, which has been exhibited at the MET, Boston’s Museum of Science, Paris’ Le Cité des Sciences et Industrie, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. She serves on the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) Committee on Technology and Innovation. Dr. Newman received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame, an M.S. in both aeronautics and astronautics and technology and policy, and a Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering from MIT. Her prior NRC service includes membership for two terms on the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, the Steering Committee on the NASA Technology Roadmaps, the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space, the Committee on Engineering Challenges to the Long-Term Operation of the International Space Station, the Committee on Advanced Technology for Human Support in Space, and the Committee on Full System Testing and Evaluation of Personal Protection Equipment Ensembles in Simulated Chemical and Biological Warfare Environments.

Dr. John R. Rogacki
Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

JOHN R. ROGACKI is associate director of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition(IHMC)(Ocala). Prior to joining IHMC, Dr. Rogacki served as director of the University of Florida’s Research and Engineering Education Facility (REEF), a unique educational facility in Northwest Florida supporting U.S. Air Force (USAF) research and education needs through graduate degree programs in mechanical, aerospace, electrical, computer, industrial, and systems engineering. Under his leadership, REEF grew into a highly capable and internationally respected research and education facility. Among Dr. Rogacki’s past experiences, he served as the NASA’s deputy associate administrator for space transportation technology (in charge of the Space Launch Initiative); program director for the Orbital Space Plane and Next Generation Launch Technology Programs; co-chair of the NASA/DOD Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology Program; director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center’s Space Transportation Directorate; director of the propulsion directorate for the USAF Research Laboratory; director of the USAF Phillips Laboratory Propulsion Directorate; and deputy director of the Flight Dynamics Directorate of the USAF Wright Laboratory. An accomplished pilot, Dr. Rogacki has logged over 3,300 flying hours as pilot, instructor pilot, and flight examiner in aircraft ranging from motorized gliders to heavy bombers. He has served as primary NASA liaison for the National Aerospace Initiative; co-chair of the DOD Future Propulsion Technology Advisory Group; co-chair of the DOD Ground and Sea Vehicles Technology Area Readiness Assessment Panel; member of the National High Cycle Fatigue Coordinating Committee; and senior NASA representative to the Joint Aeronautical Commanders Group. Later, Dr. Rogacki became associate professor of engineering mechanics (and chief of the materials division) at the USAF Academy. In 2005, he graduated from the Senior Executives Program in National and International Security at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Rogacki earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and his B.S. in engineering mechanics from the USAF Academy. He previously chaired the NRC NASA Technology Roadmap: Propulsion and Power Panel.

Mr. Guillermo Trotti
Trotti and Associates, Inc.

GUILLERMO TROTTI is president of Trotti and Associates, Inc. (TAI), a firm specializing in sustainable architecture and design for extreme environments such as remote islands, the Antarctic, space, and underwater environments in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is an internationally recognized architect and industrial designer with more than 35 years of experience designing space habitats and structures, architectural projects for the eco-tourism, entertainment, medical and education sectors. Previously, Mr. Trotti was the president of Bell and Trotti, Inc. (BTI), a design and fabrication studio that specialized in space architecture and exhibit design. His experience includes designing diverse elements of the ISS for NASA and leading aerospace companies. He co-founded Space Industries Inc. for the purpose of building a privately owned space station. His lunar base design is included in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s permanent collection. He and his students won the NSF design competition for the US South Pole Station. He has worked with NASA’s Institute of Advanced Concepts on revolutionary mission architecture concepts for exploring the Moon with habitable and inflatable rovers. His Extreme Expeditionary Architecture: Mobile, Adaptable Systems for Space and Earth Exploration research proposed a revolutionary way for humans and machines to explore the lunar surface. Currently, TAI collaborates with MIT leading the design of the BioSuit™ System, an advanced mechanical counterpressure spacesuit for lunar and Mars planetary exploration; and the design of novel EVA injury protection and countermeasure devices for astronaut safety. Mr. Trotti’s teaching experience includes architecture and industrial design at the University of Houston (UH) and the Rhode Island School of Design, respectively. At UH, he co-founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. He received a B.A. in architecture from the University of Houston, and a M.A. in architecture from Rice University. Mr. Trotti has served on the NRC Committee to Review NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Programs and the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space: Translation to Space Exploration Systems Panel.