Our Directors

Dr. Jason Reimuller

Executive Director

Dr. Jason Reimuller serves as the Executive Director of IIAS an the Project PoSSUM research and education program, and is the Co-I of the NASA PMC-Turbo experiment. Jason also works as a commercial research pilot, is a NAUI SCUBA Instructor, and is the author of “Spacecraft Egress and Rescue Operations.” Jason served for six years as a system engineer and project manager for NASA’s Constellation Program where he lead studies on launch aborts, launch commit criteria, landing conditions, post-landing and emergency crew egress trades, and propulsion options.  Jason also led a NASA and NSF-funded flight research campaigns to study noctilucent cloud time evolution, structure, and dynamics in Northern Canada. Jason has been a Commissioned Officer of the US Air Force.

Jason holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado in Boulder, an M.S. degree in Physics from San Francisco State University, an M.S. degree in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee, an M.S. Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado, and a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Dr. Dave Fritts

Director of Aeronomy

Dr. Dave Fritts is PoSSUM’s Chief Scientist and has worked in a number of areas of atmospheric dynamics extending from the stable boundary layer (SBL) into the thermosphere, acquiring broad experience with theoretical, modeling, and experimental activities. He has guided a number of experimental programs, including rocket campaigns in Alaska, Norway, Sweden, and Brazil, radar measurements on six continents, and multi-instrument field programs (see Synergistic activities above). He has installed MF or meteor radars at Hawaii, McMurdo, Rothera, Rarotonga, Tierra del Fuego (TdF), and King George Island (KGI), participated in the planning of the ALOMAR LiDAR/radar observatory in northern Norway, and suggested the formation and structure of the NSF-funded Consortium of Resonance and Rayleigh LiDARs (CRRL) within which he serves as PI for the ALOMAR sodium LiDAR. Dave also helped design and was an Interdisciplinary Scientist with the NASA TIMED satellite mission studying the dynamics and energetics of the middle atmosphere.

Dave holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. degree in physics from the University of Illinois and a B.A. in physics from Carleton College. He has been a professor of physics at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and a research professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has over 200 publications; listed among top 1/2% of cited researchers by ISIhighlycited.com. He has served as the Associate Editor for the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences (1991-2011) and the Journal of Geophysical Research (1994-1997). He has served as president of the International Commission on the Middle Atmosphere (ICMA) within IAMAS from 1992 to 1996 and as chairman of the Middle Atmosphere Continuous Upward Coupling of Wave Energy (UCWE) commission from 1989 to 1994.

Dr. Aaron Persad

Director of Bioastronautics

Dr. Aaron Persad is a researcher in Space Sciences with 15 years of experience in the field. He leads various Space Science projects such as studies of the behavior of water in low-gravity environments, how to harvest water from the Moon to support long-duration human space missions, the performance of organic-based solar cells in the stratosphere, testing the next generation of space suits, and many others. His experiments and payloads have been performed in drop towers, stratospheric balloons, reduced gravity aircraft, and the International Space Station.

Dr. Persad is also a Postdoctoral Associate in the Mechanical Engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research in the MIT Microfluidics and Nanofluidics Research Lab investigates how to filter molecules of different shapes and masses across custom-made membranes that are only one atom thick. The filters may help improve water purification, and recycling of harsh solvents from industrial processes. His doctoral degree is in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) from the University of Toronto, where his work focused on applying quantum mechanics to explain evaporation processes and was ranked as the top in the department at the time of his graduation.

Dr. Persad is enthusiastic about teaching and was recognized as the top Teaching Assistant by the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering at the University of Toronto in 2013. He is training to be an astronaut and was ranked amongst the top 60 candidates in the Canadian Space Agency’s 2017 Astronaut Recruitment Campaign. Aaron enjoys snowboarding in the winter, hiking in the summer, and learning about history and philosophy in between.

Mr. Ken Trujillo

Director of Operational Sciences

Kenneth Trujillo is a Systems Engineer and Program Manager with over 25 years’ of experience in management of complex NASA, DoD, and commercial engineering projects. Mr. Trujillo’s NASA experience includes Space Shuttle and International Space Station astronaut training, mission design, and flight control. Mr. Trujillo’s major focus at NASA was with the training and operation of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) used during Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and with the Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES) full pressure suit used during Shuttle ascent and re-entry. Mr. Trujillo developed pressure suit-related NASA astronaut training curriculum and procedures at Johnson Space Center, conducted Space Shuttle Extravehicular Activity (EVA) system and operations instruction consisting of classroom, vacuum chamber, neutral-buoyancy, and simulated micro-g training, and conducted ACES pressure suit training. Mr. Trujillo supported over 70 Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions from JSC Mission Control Center. Among other projects, Mr. Trujillo was also assigned as project engineer for system development, test, and certification of NASA’s X-38 lifting body.

After leaving NASA Mr. Trujillo worked as a Flight Test Engineer on the F-35 program at Edwards AFB, CA.  As an aircraft lead Mr. Trujillo conducted over 100 sorties as Test Conductor/Test Director for mission system and flight science missions on all three F-35 aircraft variants. Mr. Trujillo developed the F-35 flight controller training curriculum to qualify FTE and IPT personnel to support F-35 flight test missions and provided vehicle systems classroom training, and control room training using high-fidelity, human-in-the-loop simulators leading to control room qualification for test operators. Mr. Trujillo is currently a senior test and airworthiness engineer on the A-29 program in Denver, Colorado.

Ms. Yvette Gonzalez

Director of Outreach

Yvette Gonzalez is a Human Resilience expert, Astropreneur, and Project PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Candidate. With 20 years of Development and Emergency Response experience rebuilding communities in active war, conflict, natural disasters, and epidemiological outbreaks, she adapts her skills to focus on Human Factors in space technology, flight, and experience. Most notably the physiological and anthropological effects of long term flight missions and space habitation. Her transitional career is an example of the possibility of commercial and private sector space flight opportunity for all generations. Yvette aims to be one of many future Native Americans to conduct research in space and supports space settlement education, science, technological efforts, missions, and policy dialogue.

Mrs. Shayla Redmond

Director of Education

Shayla works as an engineer and teaches at the National STEM Academy in her spare time. She received her bachelor’s of science degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Physics from Tuskegee University and a Master’s of Science Degree in Systems Engineering with a concentration in space systems from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Shayla participates in professional development for teachers and volunteers year-round to support educating people of all ages. She balances between being a mother of two and an active advocate of STEAM with her new non-profit STEAM Unlimited where she develops events that incorporate the “ARTS” in the sciences. She looks forward to continuing her knowledge in research and the testing field of the upper atmosphere and beyond as well as developing educational entertainment with cartoons, movies, and public shows that are not so science fiction.

Dr. Gary Thomas

Noctilucent Cloud Lead Scientist

Professor Gary Thomas has been involved in noctilucent cloud research since 1981, when they were detected by the Ultraviolet Spectrometer on the SME spacecraft. Since then he has authored or co‐authored over 80 papers on noctilucent clouds and related subjects, and supervised two graduate students in this area. From 1986 to 2008, he served as Chair of the International Working Group on Noctilucent Clouds (now the Working Group on Layered Phenomena in the Mesopause Region). He served as Chair of the AstroGeophysics Department at the University of Colorado (CU) in 1982‐83; Associate Editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research, September 10, 1992 to December 31, 1995; Secretary of the International Commission on the Meteorology of the Middle Atmosphere, 1987‐1995; and Interim Director of LASP from 1992 to 1994. He has taught at CU in the areas of meteorology, astronomy, aeronomy, statistical physics, and radiative transfer. His 1999 textbook on Radiative Transfer in the Atmosphere and Ocean is still in use in graduate classes throughout the world. He is currently a Senior Research Associate at LASP, a Co‐Investigator on the NASA Small Explorer Satellite mission (the Aeronomy Of Ice in the Mesosphere, AIM), and co‐chair of the CAWSES‐II Project 3 PMC/NLC altitude, frequency and brightness changes related to changes in dynamics and chemical composition. Professor Thomas has been a member of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) since 1967.

Mr. Chris Lundeen

Chief Space Suit Technician

Chris Lundeen serves as program coordinator for Project PoSSUM’s educational programs. Chris has a BS degree in recreation resource management and an AS in network programing. Chris is a certified spacesuit technician and is also certified as a simulator technician and pilot for PoSSUM’s simulation facilities. Chris is an avid climber and his adventuresome spirit also extends to the sea as a master diver, boat captain, and surfer.

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