Team may be subject to change due to schedules.
DONALD THOMAS, PH.D. – RETIRED ASTRONAUT
Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Thomas became an astronaut in July 1991. Dr. Thomas has served in the Safety, Operations Development, and Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Office. He was CAPCOM (spacecraft communicator) for Shuttle missions STS-47, 52 and 53. From July 1999 to June 2000 he was Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. A veteran of four space flights, STS-65, STS-70, STS-83 and STS-94, he has logged over 1,040 hours in space as a Mission Specialist.
Michelle Lucas spent 10+ years working at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. First as part of the International Space Station (ISS) Payload Safety Review Panel (PSRP) and then in the Mission Operations Directorate as a Flight Controller in ISS Mission Control and as a Astronaut Instructor in the ISS Daily Operations Group. Additionally she worked with each of the International Partners (European Space Agency – ESA, Japanese Space Agency – JAXA and the Russian Space Agency) in the field of Daily Operations, Flight Controller and Instructor Training. Michelle was part of the Core NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) team for 9 missions where astronauts would carry out analog space missions underwater in the Aquarius habitat. Along the way, Michelle found she has a passion for launching the next generation’s dreams and ambitions. Her passion for inspiring students led to extensive work with other organizations in STEM outreach so she founded the non-profit Higher Orbits to use space to excite and inspire students about STEM, Leadership, Teamwork and Communication. Michelle is proud to be a Space Camp Alum and member of the Space Camp Hall of Fame. She believes that collaboration in space and STEM is the key to the stars! Space Inspires!
Katie Kubitskey is a Louisville Kentuckian and a world enthusiast. After completing her Masters Degree in Religion & Politics in California, she returned to Louisville to pursue a career in the travel and hospitality industry. In addition to her current position at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, she recently started a travel consultant company with the goal of building culturally-enhanced travel itineraries.
Twyman Clements is President and CEO of Space Tango, Inc. a Lexington, Kentucky based company focused on utilizing space for solutions on Earth. The company designs technology, platforms, and software to enable high-throughput missions, R&D and manufacturing. Clements is also is the Sr. Space Systems Engineer for Kentucky Space LLC (Space Tango’s R&D partner). His experience includes small satellite missions, International Space Station (ISS) technology development, research and Exomedicine related experiments.
Ellie Puckett, Louisville native, started her journey to the world of SpaceTech not through engineering or a love of space but through Entrepreneurship. Ellie graduated from Morehead State University in May 2013 with a Bachelor’s in Entrepreneurship. After graduation she took a position with the Kentucky Innovation network handling various tasks including start-up coaching, small business workshops, and speaking engagements. It was here where she was groomed her into the Director of the Space Tango Business Accelerator. The world’s first business accelerator of Space Science Businesses. There she managed and coached 3 start-up teams through The Lean Startup model. Shortly after the conclusion of this program Space Tango Inc began to focus on it’s real market and business model. Ellie continued to assist in any way possible with both Kentucky Space and Space Tango including business operations planning, marketing planning, and sales systems planning. In May 2015, Ellie finally joined Space Tango on full-time status as Director of Business Operations.
DR. JULIA AEBERSOLD
Dr. Julia Aebersold is the manager of the 10,000ft2 class 100/1000 Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC) cleanroom at the University of Louisville. She earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2005, has been awarded 7 patents and participated in 4 start-up companies. Dr. Aebersold has successfully maneuvered operations of the MNTC to become a prototyping facility for research institutions and external businesses across the country, while managing the facility to meet the varied needs of U of L faculty.