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Key Personnel

Dr. Alec Gallimore

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Alec Gallimore is an electric propulsion expert with more than 250 citable publications in the field.

Over the past twenty years, Dr. Gallimore has conducted experiments with Hall thrusters, ion thrusters, magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters, and arcjets, and has implemented a number of laser and probe based diagnostic techniques to characterize EP engines.

Dr. Gallimore also has a significant amount of experience testing arcjets with nitrogen and hydrogen propellants. Dr. Gallimore is routinely called upon to assist in the flight qualification of Hall thrusters and ion engines, and has generated much of the plume data used by spacecraft designers and plume-modeling code developers throughout the world.

Dr. Gallimore (with Dr. Gilchrist) has employed microwave diagnostics techniques to characterize arcjet and Hall thruster plumes under AFOSR sponsorship and has designed MPD thrusters and Hall thrusters for NASA.

Dr. Brian Gilchrist

President, Treasurer, Chief Engineer

Dr. Brian Gilchrist has 24 years of industrial and academic experience centering on microwave and plasma technology and includes the development of space-flight hardware.

In particular, he has over 13 years of industrial microwave systems and technology research and development experience. He continues this RF and plasma experience in his academic and research roles at the University of Michigan's Radiation Laboratory for applied electromagnetics.

His research involves developing electrodynamic tethers as a new propellantless space propulsion technology, microwave and probe-based plasma diagnostics for the ionosphere and for plasma electric propulsion systems, and spacecraft technology.

He is active in the development of consumable-free electron emission systems (using field emission) for ED tethers and new ED tether technology. He was a Co-I on the NASA MSFC ProSEDS electrodynamic tether experiment providing plasma diagnostics and high-voltage tether control instrumentation and directed a team of over 100 students to develop Michigan's first-ever student satellite (called Icarus) for the NASA ProSEDS mission.

He was Principal Investigator for the Shuttle Electrodynamic Tether System (SETS) experiment that flew on the STS-75 shuttle mission in 1996 as part of the Tethered Satellite System (TSS) mission. He was a Co-I on an Air Force program to develop a high powered Hall electric propulsion thruster and was a Co-PI on a related program investigating spacecraft electromagnetic interaction effects of advanced electric propulsion systems (with Dr. Gallimore).

He was also PI for an Air Force effort to investigate fundamental issues associated with propagating artificially generated relativistic electron beams in space.

Dr. Sven Bilén

Senior Scientist

Dr. Sven Bilén has considerable experience designing, building, and testing spacecraft hardware.

In 1999, he was the deputy project manager for the University of Michigan portion of NASA's Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System (ProSEDS). In the years 1992–96, he worked on the Shuttle Electrodynamic Tether System hardware for the first Tethered Satellite System (TSS-1) mission and its reflight (TSS-1R).

He has managed two Get Away Special payloads at Michigan and Penn State, which flew on shuttles STS-89, STS-88, and STS-108.

Dr. Bilén is the Principal Investigator for the NittanySat nanosatellite. He has developed or is developing a number of instruments that have flown or will fly on sounding rockets and orbital platforms. He also has experience with vacuum testing programs and testing of spacecraft hardware in thermal-vacuum and in plasma environments, as well as experience with microwave circuits and electromagnetic simulation software.

Dr. Chris Davis

Senior Engineer

Dr. Chris Davis has significant experience with development and diagnostics of plasmas, as well as extensive experience working with millimeter/microwave circuit systems and antenna design/characterization in interferometer systems and communication link designs. He has done significant work in characterizing ion cyclotron resonance heating in the VASIMR VX-10 experiment and in plasma generation inside of a wind tunnel for drag reduction as part of the URETI project.

Dr. Davis has also been involved with the design, construction, and characterization of a high density Helicon plasma source for EDA and done extensive work in developing and testing systems to improve transmission of RF data signals through dense plasmas using antenna matching techniques and active plasma density reduction.

Eric Viges

Senior Project Engineer

Eric is trained in chemical engineering but has a research background that includes high power gridded ion thruster development, hall thrusters, hypersonic plasma diagnostics, and plasma probe design and development. He developed a 6-grid, flight Retarding Potential Analyzer (RPA) for a NASA cubesat tech demonstration mission. He carried out industry-first vacuum flow rate measurements for a series of large vacuum breaker valves, accurately measuring flows in excess of 8000 CFM. Eric’s proficiency in prototype design and experimental device construction makes him a key asset into early stage technology development at EDA.

Dr. Dean Massey

Senior Engineer

Dr. Dean Massey has a broad research background covering high-temperature material science, electric plasma propulsion, materials characterization, and plasma chemistry. Dr. Massey was also PI on a successful NSF program that developed a patent-pending commercially viable plasma chemistry reaction cell for environmentally friendly synthesis of various silicon precursors for use in photovoltaics. Additionally, Dr. Massey’s experimental portfolio has provided unique experiences in applied thermodynamics, heat transfer, and material thermal decomposition.

Dr. Tim Smith

Senior Engineer

Dr. Tim Smith has research interests centering around the modeling, development, and validation of advanced optical diagnostics for electric propulsion (EP) systems. His work can be divided into three overlapping areas of investigation: erosion processes, physical probe validation, and imaging Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF). He has 12 years of vacuum facility experience with Hall thruster, ion engine, and hollow cathode tests, and 20 years of test experience with optical diagnostics for fluid dynamics. He has designed, built, and operated several optical diagnostic systems, both passive (using emission spectroscopy) and active (LIF and optogalvanic spectroscopy with ring dye and extended-cavity diode lasers).

As the PI for EDA on an Air Force SBIR, Dr. Smith designed a magnetic deflector system to protect spacecraft laser communications systems from Hall thruster plume charge-exchange ions and devised a simultaneous two-telescope experiment to separate facility effects (redeposition of sputtering products) from plume effects (ion impact erosion). He has also acted as PI for EDA on a NASA SBIR to develop a low-intrusive fiber-optic plug to investigate spacecraft thermal protection system performance, and as the initial PI on an NSF SBIR to develop plasma processing techniques for producing photovoltaic-grade silicon from agricultural waste.

Mr. Jonathan Zagel

Business Manager

Mr. Jonathan Zagel is the business manager of ElectroDynamic Applications, Inc. He received his Master of Accounting degree from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and has extensive experience in supporting the financial and operational aspects of a research firm. His diverse background, including a year teaching English in Japan, has prepared him for the continual changes that small company management demands and has allowed EDA to successfully engage in multiple high-level contracts with NASA, the Department of Defense, and the NSF.