Rich Whittle is a Ph.D. Student in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. His research interests focus on understanding and characterizing physiological changes in altered gravity environments, in particular long duration changes on the cardiovascular system during spaceflight.
Rich received an M.Sc. in Astronautics and Space Engineering from Cranfield University, where he was the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize Winner, an M.A. and M.Eng. from the University of Cambridge, and is completing a distance learning M.B.A. from the University of Northampton (all UK). He has worked as a British Army Officer since 2009, and is still a serving Captain in the British Army Reserves.
During his military career, Rich deployed on combat operations with The Parachute Regiment in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, and researched the causes of lower limb overuse injury in military recruits. He also served as an Operations Officer within UK Defense Intelligence (GEOINT), helped write the Royal Air Force Centre of Aviation Medicine Human Spaceflight Strategy, and was an industry project management consultant. He is a graduate of both the International Space University Space Studies Program and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he was HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Medal Winner.
Nathan Keller is an explorer and adventurer. A Ph.D. student on loan from Texas A&M’s Kinesiology department, Nathan went straight into the workforce after finishing his Bachelor’s degree at Texas Christian University. For years he ran gyms, started businesses, and eventually found his passion for teaching. As a high school science teacher, Mr. Keller taught Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, and Physics for five years and considers his time in that role to be his highest honor thus far.
The meandering adventure of life has finally led him to pursue his original calling to further the frontiers of science and human exploration. Parlaying his life’s experience and education into his love for all things space, his doctoral work focuses on the role of artificial gravity as a countermeasure to muscle atrophy during human spaceflight.
Logan Kluis is a PhD student in Bioastronautics in Texas A&M’s Aerospace Engineering department. His research interests focus on human spaceflight and in particular, human-spacesuit interaction and performance.
Logan received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and minor in Biomedical Engineering at Massachusetts institute of Technology (MIT). While there, he was a recipient of the Aerospace Engineering Department’s James Means Excellence in Space Systems Engineering Award. Outside of the classroom, he was a member of the MIT football team and twice received Academic All-Conference Honors. He was also a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity where he served as President and received the MIT Fraternity Senior Legacy Award.
Collette Gillaspie is a Ph.D. student in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University with a demonstrated passion for human space exploration. During the summer of 2020, Collette interned at Collins Aerospace, where she supported the cooling and ventilation loop design efforts for the Artemis spacesuit and the development of a lunar surface mission Concept of Operations. At her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame (B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, 2020), Collette was a four-time participant in the NASA Student Launch competition through the Notre Dame Rocketry Team (NDRT). During her junior year, Collette led the experimental payload team in the design and construction of an unmanned aerial vehicle with simulated navigational beacon delivery. Collette was the Captain of NDRT when she was a senior. Collette was also a fluid-structure interactions research assistant, an electrical equipment intern on Boeing’s H-47 Chinook, and a three-year Boeing Scholar. The focus of Collette’s research at Texas A&M will be at the interface between aerospace material science (under Dr. Darren Hartl) and bioastronautics (under Dr. Ana Diaz Artiles). She will research the thermal control applications of a lightweight, advanced passively morphing radiator for implementation on manned missions to deep space.
Poonam Josan is a PhD student in Bioastronautics in Texas A&M’s Aerospace Engineering department. Her research interests focus on human spaceflight and in particular, optimizing human performance in altered gravity environments. She is also interested in the design of habitat systems, planetary spacesuits and assistive wearable technologies for EVAs.
Poonam received a B.S in Aerospace Engineering from SRM University, India where her research was focused on designing and testing small aerospike rocket nozzles to enhance thrust efficiency of micro-propulsion devices. She graduated with an M.S. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, where she studied the design of haptics infused planetary spacesuits as a countermeasure to altered vestibular functions in reduced gravity planetary operations.
Prior to TAMU, Ponam worked for start-ups in Southern California aerospace industry. She has also participated in analogue space missions in North Dakota and Poland both as a mission controller and as a crew member. During these 2-week isolation missions, she studied the effects of the absence of EVAs and sunlight on the crew’s mood and circadian rhythms.
Apart from space exploration, Poonam enjoys travelling, national parks, wilderness hiking, and learning about modern history.