Summary of November 2, 2019 Meeting – Tom Rowan – Apollo 11 Engineer and Yash Chandramouli – Matthew Isakowitz Fellow

We started the meeting with Tom Rowan. He had worked on the actuator for the radar disk on the Apollo lander. He also worked on the arm for the Mars Viking missions. And he has had a multi-decade career in engineering.

Yash Chandramouli shared information about the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship program. He is a MS/PhD student studying Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University.  His research interests include spacecraft formation-flying, reinforcement learning, and spacecraft pose estimation from images. The Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program made an immense impact on his life and career path and he is excited to talk about his experience!  

-Matthew Isakowitz was an extraordinary young man whose passion for opening the commercial space frontier was only matched by his kindness and generosity to those around him. -Despite leaving us far too soon, Matthew’s contributions left an outsized impact on the space community. Finding inspiration in Carl Sagan’s words, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known,”

-Matthew began exercising his passion in high school by serving on the XPRIZE Foundation during the flight of SpaceShipOne, the first privately piloted spacecraft. -In college, Matthew worked on NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto at the Applied Physics Lab, -human space travel at Space Adventures, -and the Dragon capsule at SpaceX.

-Matthew’s career took flight as Associate Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, which contributed to the transformation of commercial space pioneers—such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic—into the notable players they are today. -Afterwards, Matthew continued to push humanity’s frontiers as an entrepreneur and engineer at Planetary Resources and Astranis. -Matthew was granted early acceptance to Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University.  He also earned a Masters Degree in International Science and Technology Policy from George Washington University.  -Matthew was a warm, compassionate, and generous person, who loved life to the fullest and whose enthusiasm for commercial space exploration inspired everyone who knew him.

Both speakers received a Ecosphere.

A little about the Ecospheres: Like the earth, it is a self-contained world. There are shrimp and algae living in a mutually dependent cycle. The shrimp eat the algae and produce waste and carbon-dioxide that the algae then use to grow and produce oxygen that help the shrimp. As long as it receives the right amount of sunlight at the right temperatures, the process will continue.

The earth is a much bigger, more complicated system. But both systems are very contained. The shrimp will forever be trapped to their container. But the people of earth might be able to expand and branch out from this small world. And if we do, it will be because of efforts like our speakers Tom and Yash.

Thank you for all that you do!

We also had a few door prizes that were given out based upon a random drawing.

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