The Initiative for Interstellar Studies is led by a team of dedicated individuals who work to realise the organisation's ultimate goal of enabling both robotic and human exploration and colonisation of the nearby stars—our Board of Directors.
Andreas Hein, PhD
Executive Director, Chairman Technical Research Committee
Andreas received his master’s degree in aerospace engineering at the Technical University of Munich. He obtained a PhD at the same university in the area of space systems engineering, focusing on the application of heritage technologies to space systems, doing part of his research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) System Architecture Lab. He also worked at the European Space Agency Strategy and Architecture Office on stakeholder analysis for future crewed space exploration. Andreas has published over 30 articles on interstellar travel in peer-reviewed international journals and conferences. He is a member of the International Honor Society for Systems Engineering – Omega Alpha Association, a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, and a member of INCOSE.
Deputy Director, Chairman Education Academy Committee
In the 1980s Rob Swinney completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (achieving a 2:1) and his Master of Science degree in Radio Astronomy at the University of Manchester (Jodrell Bank – thesis ‘Kinematics of the Radio Flare star Cygnus X-3′). After several successful years working as a teacher of Craft, Design and Technology at Sherborne Boys School in Dorset he returned to his studies and graduated from Cranfield University (then the Cranfield Institute of Technology) with a further Master of Science degree in Avionics and Flight Control Systems (thesis ‘Graphical Interface for a hybrid Flight Simulator’). After Cranfield University he undertook a challenging and rewarding career in the Royal Air Force as an Aerosystems Engineering Officer and he completed his RAF Commission in 2006 having attained the rank of Squadron Leader. He is a Chartered Engineer registered with the UK’s Engineering Council and a Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. Rob has been published in Nature and the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and recently returned to the world of academia and research. Rob was inspired by Isaac Asimov, first by the great author’s science fiction but later by the non-fiction that opened his mind to the future possibilities. This inspiration encouraged him to undertake a lifelong study of aspects of Cosmology and Astronomy. As a boy he followed the Apollo adventure and as a young man the Grand Tour of the Voyager spacecraft but after his studies became restrained by the realities of life. As important, the boyhood images of Star Trek and such, some 30-40 years ago, appeared to be no more than pure fantasy. Now today, he believes the ‘planets are aligning’ again and the i4is will galvanise the population and prove that, although it may still seem difficult, real practical steps on the road to interstellar travel are being taken.
Director of Experimental Programs
Angelo Genovese received a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering (specialising in Space Propulsion) at the University of Pisa, Italy, in 1992. He started to work as Electric Propulsion Engineer in the Italian space propulsion research centre “Centrospazio” in Pisa, developing Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) ion thrusters for ultra-precise positioning of scientific spacecraft. In 2000 he moved to the Austrian Research Centres in Vienna, Austria, where he contributed to develop an Indium FEEP Micro-propulsion System from breadboard to qualification level for the ESA mission LISA Pathfinder. Since 2009 he has been working at Thales Deutschland, Ulm, Germany, on the development of the innovative ion thruster HEMPT, suitable for new-generation telecom satellites and advanced scientific missions. Angelo has published more than 50 papers in conferences and scientific journals including JBIS, and he contributed to two patents on Indium FEEP ion thrusters. Profoundly interested in advanced space propulsion systems for interstellar precursor missions, he is a Corporate Member of the Initiative for Interstellar Studies (I4IS), in particular involved in the Technical and Educational Committees. He has contributed to the I4IS book “Beyond the Boundary” with a chapter on advanced electric propulsion. Angelo is also a member of BIS, Icarus Interstellar, Mars Society, Planetary Society.
Robert Kennedy III
Director Geoengineering & Resource Utilisation, President US Company
Robert Kennedy was educated in the classics and foreign languages since boyhood (Latin, Greek, Arabic, and Russian). He studied studied mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic (Pomona, B.S. 1986), with emphases in robotics, machine design, optical physics. Fresh out of school, he designed industrial robotics systems at the Douglas Aircraft Company (1987-1991) in Los Angeles, and pursued research in artificial intelligence at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1987). Robert founded the Ultimax Group, Inc. (1992-present, www.ultimax.com ), a Russian-American company in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is a published commercial artist and author (nonfiction), and has written about space-based solar power, shell worlds, climate change, linguistics, energy parks, biofuels, and energy security. In 2011 and 2013, he co-organized and sponsored the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshops (www.tviw.us) in Oak Ridge Tennessee and Huntsville Alabama and went onto be a co-founder of the subsequent non-profit TVIW. He has lectured on geoengineering in Moscow for the Russian Academy of Sciences / Rosgidromet (their national weather service), and also at the International Academy of Astronautics in Aosta, Italy. His work has also appeared in /Journal of the British Interplanetary Society/, /Acta Astronautica/, the /Whole Earth Review/ and a cover story on Soviet Star Wars in the Smithsonian /Air & Space/ magazine. He has patents and trademarks pending for a number of optoelectronic, robotic, security, and space system inventions as well as the concept of Tetrageneration(TM). As the American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s 1994 Congressional Fellow, he spent his year working for the Subcommittee on Space in the U.S. House of Representatives. He participated in the First Interstellar Robotics Conference at NYU, and was a technical consultant on “Deep Impact” (Paramount/Dreamworks major motion picture released May 8, 1998). He is past-chair of the Oak Ridge Section as well as the Technology & Society Division; and currently sits on the Society’s national Energy Committee, tasked with writing Energy Talking Point papers for the 110th thru 113th Congresses and the Society’s Carbon Statement. Currently, Robert is a senior systems engineer at Tetra Tech.
John is a lifelong engineer and a Londoner of over 30 years standing with northern English origins and strong Scottish connections. He has been fascinated by space travel ever since he read the Dan Dare stories in the Eagle in the 50s.
He recalls contradicting his father who, despite being an engineer himself, thought that "rockets can't fly in space because there is nothing for them to push against". Once Sputnik One went up his dad became a bit of a space enthusiast too.
John was the first person in his family to go to university, studying Electronics at Liverpool University. He joined Hawker Siddeley Dynamics Space Projects Division in 1968 and worked on the latter stages of the most substantial launch vehicle ever built in UK, Bluestreak. He also worked on satellite projects including a design study for a large space telescope which acquired the name Hubble about 12 years later.
He was fascinated by digital technology and moved to Edinburgh University where he wrote some very early communications software. He took a year off to study Computer Science more formally at Manchester University, taking his M.Sc. back to Edinburgh before moving on to London University doing similar work.
He re-joined the commercial sector as a consultant and in technical sales support and was involved in the early stages of SMS messaging and in packet radio long before we all started using it, as GPRS, for our smartphones.
He has been involved in three start-up companies, one of which survives! His last full-time job was running the IT volunteering programme for the Information Technologists livery company of the City of London.
He's now retired but busier than ever with educational outreach to schools for the Initiative for Interstellar Studies, coordinating work on i4is website and email, and editing Principium, the quarterly newsletter of the Initiative for Interstellar Studies.
He's a long-established member of both the British Interplanetary Society and the British Computer Society. He was one of the leads for our World Science Fiction Convention 2014 participation.
Patrick Mahon completed a BSc in Maths and Physics in 1990 and an MSc in Environmental Decision Making in 2006, and in between studied for a PhD in Theoretical Physics, specialising in modelling the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect. He has worked in the civil service and for a trade association and now works for a national charity focused on environmental sustainability, where he is responsible for Policy and Government Affairs. He is a Chartered Waste Manager and a Member of the British Interplanetary Society. In his spare time, he writes science fiction and book reviews, and runs his local writing group. His lifelong interest in astronomy and spaceflight was inspired by the Apollo missions, the Space Shuttle and Patrick Moore, whom he met at the tender age of twelve.”