Brian Mork
Intrepid Creativity (Increa) TM,SM
2004-2012 by Brian Mork
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Blue MarbleSpace Ops & Design -  I helped bootstrap the United States Air Force Academy's Astronautics department small satellite and stratospheric balloon program a few years ago.  It was a heady, entrepreneurial time that I tremendously enjoyed.  Ron Humble was a critical part of those years, and I was sad to hear of his death in 2002 (Instar obituary, Falcon Gold obituary). I was involved with the following launches in various technical or programmatic ways (each has more details on the USAFA Astronautics web pages):

The satellite successfully collected samples of the GPS spectrum from above the constellation and downlinked data to ground stations we borrowed from NOAA.  I selected ground station software, working specifications with a contractor, and caressed the Falcon Gold telemetry link for the most data possible. The mission was covered in publications of the USAFA, AIAA, and AMSAT. We received a special AIAA team award for this work. Several people authored a technical paper about using GPS signals to navigate in a Geosyncrhonous Transfer Orbit.

As part of the balloon payload recovery team with Amateur Radio background, I had a special challenge DF'ing to the descending payload.  We were led to a Pueblo, Colorado landfill, but then the signal behaved erratically.  Turns out two locals saw the descending parachute, recovered the payload into their pickup and drove away with it!  We ended up driving up and down civilian subdivisions as a caravan of civilian, government & military vehicles, with racks of equipment, a trailer of stuff reminiscent of the "Roswell incident", military people peering out of the windows, and antennas everywhere -- looking everything like a scene out of X-files.  We found the payload stashed in a storage shed behind a house occupied by only a suspicious grandma.  Turns out she personally knew the Sheriff.  Interesting outcome...
In addition to hands-on engineering, I'm interested in larger policy issues. I'm the only Air Force pilot who was selected to attend Air Force Space Command's pure-bred Space Tactics School before it integrated with the US Air Force Weapons School (wikipedia) at Nellis AFB (which now has separate tracks for Pilots, Intel Officers, and Space Operators). I learned about National level activities in space, military ops, national launch ops, launch vehicles, ground site capabilities, and a ton of national and international infrastructure.  I'll forever be an ambassador and pilgrim of space capability after my time there. As part of the graduate-level curriculum, I wrote a paper about trends toward intelligent, distributed constellations rather than intelligent satellites.  Commercial trends of satellite constellations can be found on Lloyd Wood's satellite page.  I've also been privileged to participate in the annual Secretary of the Air Force's Science Advisory Board studies about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (1996) and integration of Air Force infrastructure into space (1998), and teach the Space Test course at the USAF Test Pilot School.

I have expanded my triad of Engineering, Science, and Operation experience, with hopes of being selected for an astronaut position with NASA. The Air Force Special Flying Programs nominated me in 1993/5/7, but NASA did not invite me to interview.  A Spring 1998 visit to the Astronaut and Astronaut Selection offices clued me in to better ways to present my package, and I applied again to the 1999 board as a civilian.  I was called for an astronaut interviewduring February 2000, but didn't make the final cut.  Paperwork has gone in for subsequent astronaut selection cycles with various levels of success. In the meantime, I watch for exciting work in areas of aviation, satellites or space probe design (in particular software, command & control, telemetry, and autonomous behavior vs. mission determinism).

The background picture for this page is a picture of the space shuttle after landing at Edwards Air Force Base.  Starting in 2004, I trained and qualified with DDMS as on On-Scene Commander for when the shuttle diverts to Edwards AFB.  Riding in a 1970s era modified mobile home trailer, the OSC rides with the NASA commander and is responsible for all DoD supporting organizations such as Fire & Rescue, Security Police, Hazmat, Medical, Public Relations, etc.  We did a lot of exercises and I had a chance to participate in one real shuttle landing.


This page is maintained by Brian Mork, owner & operator of IncreaTM // It was last modified May 2012. Suggestions for changes and comments are always welcome. The easiest way is to contact me via e-mail.