Our corporate knowledge base resides with a highly qualified team of engineers, scientists, consultants, and researchers with expertise in conceptual design and prototyping, systems analysis and engineering, device and mechanical systems design, balloon-borne systems, automation and robotics, mission and orbit design, and thermal sciences. The majority of the technical staff at Global Aerospace Corporation have advanced degrees from research institutions. Select biographies are listed below:
Kerry T. Nock is a founder, President, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. He received his M. S. in Space Science and Engineering from UCLA. He has worked at JPL on the design of several planetary missions including Mariner 9 to Mars; Mariner 10 to Venus and Mercury; and the Voyager and Galileo missions. He managed the planetary mission studies leading to the successful Magellan Venus mapping mission and the Joint NASA/ESA Cassini mission to Saturn and Titan. He also managed the first studies of planetary aerobraking that was eventually used at Mars and Venus. He is a past Fellow of NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) and PI for two NIAC Phase II studies, one developing a concept for networks of guided balloons for Earth science and the other study to develop an Earth-to-Mars transportation architecture. He is the inventor of an innovative satellite de-orbit system for low-Earth spacecraft. Mr. Nock has authored or co-authored over 80 papers and articles and is a past associate editor of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. Mr. Nock is an expert in systems engineering, mission design and analysis, advanced studies and technology development and flight operations planning. He has carried out a variety of activities in his over thirty years of experience in aerospace systems development.
Dr. Kim M. Aaron is the Chief Engineer and a member of the Board of Directors. Dr. Aaron graduated with a Diplome d’Etudes Collegiales, in Pure and Applied Science from Vanier College, Montreal, Canada. This was followed with a B.S. in the Honors Mechanical Engineering program at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He obtained an M.S. in Aeronautics from Caltech followed by a PhD in Aeronautics also at Caltech. Dr. Aaron has a very diverse background, covering wind tunnel testing, water channel testing, bicycle fairings, systems engineering, comet landers, sample acquisition, microrovers, balloon systems, rain simulation, aircraft spin testing, vibration isolation for microgravity experiments, cryogenics, aeroelastic phenomena, explosion modeling, UAV design, nutation modeling, thermal analysis, electronics design and fabrication, solid rocket motors, image processing, flow visualization, fluid dynamics, mechanical engineering. He has extensive design experience in aerospace systems design, particularly mechanical design. His experiences designing and fabricating low-mass systems for space applications are equally relevant to lighter-than-air systems. He was instrumental in the development of the configuration of NASA planetary balloon ALICE (ALtItude Control Experiment). Dr. Aaron taught “Aircraft Performance and Dynamics” at Caltech for four years and “Introduction to Space Technology” at UCLA for three years. These cross-fertilizing experiences feed Dr. Aaron’s innate creativity and provide a strong systems-oriented approach to problem solving and invention.
Dale R. Burger, a Senior Engineer, received his BS Mechanical Engineering from Caltech and his MS Mechanical Engineering (Design) from USC. Later he received an MBA (Manufacturing) from Stanford. After Caltech he worked on the design of sonar systems and then on piezoelectric instrument systems where he received two patents. After Stanford he worked in production management at various manufacturing industries producing hand tools, MOS semiconductors, ferrite core memory systems, and aircraft seats. He then turned to the engineering of biological instruments and spacecraft IR telescope systems. At JPL he worked on terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) power systems where he received a patent on space PV power systems. JPL programs include Photovoltaic Array Space Power (PASP) Plus Diagnostics and Solar Array Manufacturing Materials Experiment & Science (SAMMES) space solar array experiments and the Advanced Photovoltaic Space Array (APSA) mechanical systems. He designed and monitored the fabrication and test of the Miniature Sensor Technology Integration (MSTI) solar array (the first NASA-built GaAs solar array), which was delivered in 7 months after startup, and he was responsible for all facets of the three Mars Pathfinder solar arrays. At GAC he was the PI of the HighPower balloon solar array development and he has supported several projects by providing his PV expertise. He has taught courses in kinematics, production control, operations research, and manufacturing processes and materials.
Dr. Gerald Halpert is a Senior Research Engineer who has been involved with the development, design engineering, testing, safety, and operation of several electrochemical cell and battery systems for long-term operation in space. He received his BA from Rutgers University and MS and PhD from the Catholic University in Washington DC. Trained and experienced as an electrochemist, he has served industry and NASA for over 40 years. Dr. Halpert has developed methods for cell material analysis, performed testing at many levels, worked with the contractors to develop flight cells and batteries, and managed the space operations of flight batteries. He has also been instrumental in the initiation of Manufacturing Control Documents defining the process of cell and battery manufacture as well as the quality control steps to produce an aerospace quality design. This process was implemented most recently in the Mars Exploration Rover cell and battery manufacture, which has performed for more than five yeas on Mars. Dr. Halpert has interacted with the Department of Defense, e.g., with the DOD Lithium Battery Safety Committee as an invited participant and his experience has been essential to the understanding and long term reliable and safe operation of primary lithium batteries as well as rechargeable Lithium - Ion cells and batteries. Dr. Halpert is the PI of two rechargeable lithium-ion battery modeling and simulation efforts for the MDA.
Dr. Matthew Kuperus Heun is a Senior Engineer and a member of the Board of Directors. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been an active researcher and developer in applications for lighter-than-air platforms for a number of years. He has worked at JPL in the advanced thermal and structural technology group. While at JPL, he was mission director for several successful prototype planetary balloon flights. One flight measured atmospheric radiation from a vertically-oscillating platform using radiometers. Dr. Heun was GAC PI for the initial development of the StratoSail Balloon Guidance System. He is also GAC’s expert in the control of constellations of guided balloon systems. Dr. Heun has extensive experience modeling stratospheric airship systems.
Dr Angus D. McRonald is a Senior Engineer. He received his PhD and MS degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California. He has been an active researcher in several areas, beginning with neutron physics in England and going on to electronic and optical instrumentation for wind tunnels and shock tubes in Australia. His research at JPL included experiments in wind tunnels and shock tubes and computer modeling of flight in planetary atmospheres to support mission design. Dr. McRonald has published in the areas of aerobraking, aero-gravity assist and ballute aerocapture. He has created software for these tasks and has used it to analyze spacecraft breakup in accidental Earth reentry of spacecraft carrying radioactive generators to support launch approval for Voyager, Galileo, Ulysses, Cassini, Pathfinder, MER, Pluto and other missions and for evaluation of planetary quarantine for cruise stage entry at Mars for several missions. He has contributed to the design of aerocapture vehicles for manned flight at Mars and Earth and a vehicle for descent, landing and ascent at Mars. He has also been instrumental in the development of the HyperPASS aero-assist tool.
R. Stephen Schlaifer received his B.S. in Mathematics from California State University at Los Angeles. He was instrumental in the development of the NASA Trajectory Simulation and Prediction System (TSPS) for NASA’s stratospheric balloons. Mr. Schlaifer was the key programmer for GAC’s Navajo Balloon Performance Model and the Apache Continuous-thrust Trajectory Optimization Tool which were developed under NASA funding. He was also the key programmer developing balloon constellation trajectory simulation code to the NASA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC) effort in support of NASA GSFC studies of stratospheric Earth science platforms. Mr. Schlaifer also prepared code for GAC’s support to Lockheed Martin Advanced Programs (Skunk Works) Integrated Sensor In Structure (ISIS) maneuvering ConOps, a DARPA effort. He was the lead programmer on GAC’s NIAC Directed Aerial Robotics Explorer effort where he developed a planetary balloon guidance system optimization tool. Finally, Mr. Schlaifer is the key programmer for the Dakota software effort that is developing a lithium-ion battery operations model for the Missile Defense Agency. Mr. Schlaifer worked in maintaining and improving the JPL Mission Analysis Software Library (MASL). Additionally, MASL includes several large programs the most notable of which are Quick, an interactive, programmable desktop calculator that gives the user ready access to all of the subprograms mentioned above, and Kplot, that can draw a picture showing the locations of the various bodies, their orbits, surface features, etc. as seen from any location within the solar system.
Scott Shamblin has expertise in the design of life support and buoyancy control systems for manned submersibles and he is a certified SCUBA diver. His diving experience includes offshore, overhead obstruction, and high current environments. Mr. Shamblin received his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. As a research assistant he provided mechanical design and fabrication assistance for the Subjugator autonomous underwater robot, and a replica of the Mars Sojourner rover. He worked as Chief Engineer for Marion Hyper-Submersible Powerboat Design where he assumed engineering management of development of Fathom, a manned submersible. He was responsible for the design of critical subsystems including surface propulsion, submerged propulsion, ballast, energy storage, life support, and controls integration. He also managed the construction and assembly of all these systems. He conducted structural and stability analyses, and managed corrective modifications to the vessel. During testing of the operational prototype, he acted as co-pilot and systems engineer. At GAC he has been a lead engineer on a DARPA undersea project.