PUNCH Management Team

Dr. Craig DeForest

Craig DeForestPrincipal Investigator

Southwest Research Institute


Education

Ph.D. in Applied Physics, Stanford University, 1996

B.A. in Physics, Reed College, 1989

PUNCH Role

Leads the PUNCH team and is responsible for ensuring programmatic, technical, and scientific success in all aspects of the PUNCH mission.

Professional Background and Supporting Experience

Craig DeForest is Southwest Research Institute’s Program Director for solar astrophysics, and the Vice-Chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division (AAS/SPD). He holds an adjunct professorship at the University of Colorado.

DeForest has studied the Sun, its corona, and the solar wind for over 30 years. His graduate studies at Stanford University (1989-1995) centered on the Multi-Spectral Solar telescope Array, a sounding rocket that helped pioneer EUV imaging of the solar corona. He was Resident Observer (at NASA/GSFC) for the Michelson Doppler Imager experiment on the SOHO mission from 1995-1999; during this time he explored dynamics of the corona and the limits of solar observing in the faint outer corona. Between 2000-2016, he led several ground and suborbital instrument development efforts including SHAZAM (a novel high-speed magnetograph), DASH (a ground-based demonstration heliospheric imaging observatory), and SSIPP (a balloon-borne miniature solar observatory). From 1999-2016, was Press Officer for the AAS/SPD, after which he stepped down to lead PUNCH.

DeForest is well known for his expertise in solar data analysis and reduction. He developed the analysis tools that enabled the current era of photometric heliospheric imaging, and has exploited them with a series of groundbreaking papers. Major milestones include: (1997) first detection of traveling waves in the solar corona; (2001) imaging of faint polar plumes to the limits of the LASCO field of view; (2009) demonstration that the EUV corona is more spatially variable than previously thought; (2011) first background-subtracted heliospheric images useful for feature photometry; (2012) first complete tracking from Sun to Earth of a single CME, and demonstration of the solar origin of CME plasma at Earth; (2014) sensitive detection of inbound features in the outer solar corona using 2-D velocity filtration; (2015) measurement of solar wind turbulence via comet tail tracking; (2016) detection of the breakup of coronal structure and transition to solar wind flow, 0.2 AU from the Sun; (2017) remote measurement of CME chirality, via 3D polarized imaging; (2018) discovery of very highly structured fine detail in the outer solar corona using deep-field campaign data from STEREO/COR2.

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2018: The Highly Structured Outer Solar Corona, APJ 862, 18

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2017: 3D Polarized Imaging of CMEs: Chirality of a CME, APJ 850, 130

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2016: Fading coronal structure and the…young solar wind, APJ 828, 66

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2016: The utility of polarized heliospheric imaging for space weather monitoring, Sp. Wx. 14, 1.

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2015: Turbulence…Solar Wind...Comet Tail Test Particles, APJ 812, 108

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2015: Feasibility of Heliospheric Imaging from Near Earth, APJ 804, 126

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2014: Inbound waves … Alfvén surface location, APJ 787, 124

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2013: Tracking Features from the Low Corona to Earth, APJ 769, 43

Howard, T.A., Tappin, S.J., Odstrcil, D., & DeForest, C.E. 2013: The Thomson Surface. III: Tracking Features in 3D, APJ 765, 45

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2012: Disconnecting Solar Magnetic Flux, APJ 745, 36

Howard, T.A., & DeForest, C.E. 2012: The Thomson Surface. I: Reality & Myth, APJ 752, 130.

Howard, T.A. & DeForest, C.E. 2012: Inner Heliospheric Flux Rope Evolution via Imaging of Coronal Mass Ejections, APJ 746, 64

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2011: Detailed Structure in the Solar Wind ..., APJ 738, 103

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2001: Observation of Polar Plumes at High … Altitudes, APJ 546, 569

DeForest, C.E. et al. 2001: Polar Plume Lifetime and Coronal Hole Expansion, APJ 560, 490

Full CV

Ronnie Killough

Ronnie KilloughProject Manager

Southwest Research Institute


Education

M.S. in Computer Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1990

B.S. in Computer Science, Angelo State University, 1987

Professional Background

Program Director, Space Science and Engineering, Southwest Research Institute, 2014-present

Director Communications & Embedded Systems, Southwest Research Institute, 2004-2014

Assistant Director Automation & Data Systems, Southwest Research Institute, 2002-2004

Section Manager Automation & Data Systems, Southwest Research Institute, 1997-2002

Research Analyst/Sr. Research Analyst Automation & Data Systems, Southwest Research Institute, 1990-1997

PUNCH Role

Manage resources, schedule and cost; perform day-to-day programmatic and technical management to ensure PUNCH meets technical and performance requirements within cost and schedule; oversee SwRI prime contract with NASA/GSFC; responsible to the PUNCH PI.

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Mr. Killough has almost 30 years experience in the design, development and management of complex systems, including NASA mission control systems, cruise missile simulators, military network-centric systems, and satellite and space instrumentation flight software (FSW). He most recently served as Deputy Systems Engineer, FSW lead, and one of two Flight Directors for the CYGNSS mission, a constellation of eight micro-satellites currently in-orbit that are measuring hurricane strength from space. Prior to CYGNSS, Mr. Killough was Director of Communications & Embedded Systems, overseeing a diverse portfolio of R&D programs, most notably two large network-centric interoperability systems for the U.S. military, and design and development of the flight test system for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Mr. Killough is also a certified Project Management Professional (P.M.P.).

Supporting Experience

Systems and FSW roles on IMAGE, Swift, Deep Impact, and New Horizons

Performed critical role on CYGNSS in resolving multiple technical & programmatic issues; presented resolution of late pre-launch issues to NASA resulting in launch approval.

FSW lead for Swift UVOT and XRT, and program-level technical consultant on Swift to GSFC Explorers Office (in 11th year, ranked #1 in NASA Senior Review 3 times)

Served on numerous NASA IRTs and SRBs (e.g. TRDS-H, AIM, THEMIS, and TESS)

Member of the NASA Engineering & Safety Center (NESC) Technical Management Team (TMT)

Served on several university Industry Advisory Boards (e.g. Texas Tech University, University of Texas-San Antonio).

Management sponsor and engineering process expert for 4 successful Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) independent assessments (two at Level 3; two at Level 5)

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

Killough, R.et al (2017) CYGNSS Launch and Early Ops: Parenting Octuplets, Small Satellite Conference.

Killough, R. et al (2016) Simulators, Software and Small Satellites: Testing in Tight Spaces, IEEE Aerospace Conference.

Killough, R. (2013) Software Engineering Processes for Class D Missions. SPIE Optics and Photonics 2013 - Earth Observing Systems XVIII.

Killough, R. (2012) Challenges in Securing and Utilizing Space Assets. Cyber Applications for Space Session of Air Force Space Command Cyber Vision 2025 Summit.

Traci Case

Traci CaseDeputy Project Manager

Southwest Research Institute


Education

M.E. in Engineering Management, University of Colorado, 2007-2012

B.A. in Journalism, Pennsylvania State University, 2001

Professional Background

Manager, Research & Development Southwest Research institute, 2003-present

Assistant Project Manager, Pennsylvania State University, 2000-2003

PUNCH Role

Overall management oversight of the PUNCH science payload during its development and delivery including day- to-day management of the payload to ensure it meets all technical and performance requirements within cost and schedule; management of subcontracts with Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Teledyne e2v for acquisition of the cameras and CCDs for WFI and NFI; payload earned value compliance and management; report directly to the PUNCH PM.

Experience Relative to PUNCH

Ms. Case has almost 20 years of experience in project management and resource management overseeing the design, development and operations of NASA-funded space science payloads and missions. She has extensive experience partnering with U.S. aerospace corporations, universities, NASA centers and foreign partners. She was the acting project manager for the PUNCH Step 1 proposal. On the Lucy project, Ms. Case is the SwRI Deputy Payload Manager, responsible for the successful acquisition and delivery of 3 instruments within cost, schedule, and risk constraints, and the Earned Value Management lead for the Lucy payload office. She has been named the Project Manager during operations for the Lucy mission. Previously, Ms. Case was the Project Manager for Rosetta Alice, SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (SSIPP), and for the completed APRA Balloon Star Tracker Payload. She previously supported numerous space instrument development efforts as the Business/Resource Manager for multiple missions and coordinates with SwRI’s various centralized business functions (Export and International Affairs office, Contracts, Purchasing, Subcontracts, Legal, etc.).

Supporting Experience

Ms. Case has been Project Manager, Deputy Project Manager, Resource Manager, and Proposal Manager of various efforts since joining SwRI 15 years ago, and was Assistant Project Manager for the XRT instrument on the Swift Explorer Program at The Pennsylvania StateUniversity dating back to 2000.

Dr. Sarah Gibson

Sarah GibsonProject Scientist

NCAR: High Altitude Observatory


Education

Ph.D. in Astrophysics, University of Colorado-Boulder, 1995

M.S. in Astrophysics, University of Colorado-Boulder, 1993

B.S. in Physics, Stanford University, 1989

Professional Background

HAO Deputy Director, 2020-2021

HAO Interim Director, 2019-2020

HAO Solar Section Head, 2010-2019

HAO Scientist, 2001-present

Research Assistant Professor The Catholic University of America, 1998-1999; 2000-2001

NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cambridge, 1999-2000

NRC Postdoctoral Fellow, NASA GSFC,1996-1998

Awards

Karen Harvey Prize, for outstanding early career contributions

PUNCH Role

Organize and lead the PUNCH Science Team and interface between the Science Team and the PI. Track and maintain observing requirements driven by the Science Objectives.

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Dr. Sarah Gibson examines solar drivers of the space environment, from short-term space weather drivers such as coronal mass ejections, to long-term solar cycle variation.

Dr. Gibson has extensive experience leading scientific teams. She led the international Whole Sun Month (WSM) and Whole Heliosphere Interval (WHI) coordinated observing and modeling efforts to characterize the 3D interconnected solar-heliospheric-planetary system at solar minimum, and is currently leading a multi-institutional effort to quantify the magnetic field of the Sun’s atmosphere. She has led ISSI International Teams on the subjects of Prominence Cavities and Coronal Magnetism, and is responsible for the oversight and ongoing development of the FORWARD SolarSoft IDL code suite, with input from more than a dozen community authors. Dr. Gibson participated in the Nov. 1997 and Nov. 1998 flights of the Spartan space shuttle payload in support of the white-light coronagraph.

Supporting Experience

Dr. Gibson uses theoretical models to understand the magnetic origins of CMEs and related space weather phenomena. A particular focus is observations and models of coronal prominence cavities, which are long-lived structures in the Sun’s atmosphere that store the magnetic energy liberated in CMEs.

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

Gibson, S.E., de Toma, G., Emery, B., Riley, P., Zhao, L.,

Elsworth, Y., Leamon, R. J., Lei, J., McIntosh, S., Mewaldt, R. A., Thompson, B. J., and Webb, D. F., (2011), WHI in the context of current solar minimum, Solar Physics, 274, 10.1007/s11207- 011-9921-4.

Gibson, S.E., Kozyra, J. U., De Toma, G., Emery, B. A., Onsager, T., and Thompson, B. J., If the Sun is so quiet, why is the Earth ringing? A comparison of two solar minimum intervals (2009), JGR, 114, A09105.

Gibson, S.E. & Fan, Y., Partially-ejected flux ropes: implications for interplanetary coronal mass ejections (2008), JGR, 113, CiteID A09103.

Full CV

Alan Henry

Alan HenryProject Systems Engineer

Southwest Research Institute


Education

B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, University of Texas, 1990

Professional Background

Staff Engineer, Southwest Research institute, 2013-present

Principal Engineer, Southwest Research Institute, 2006-2013

Senior Principal Engineer, Orbital Sciences Corporation, 2003-2006

Principal Engineer, ORBCOMM, LLC, 1997-2003

Flight Dynamics/Microgravity Team, Northrop-Grumman Corporation, 1990-1997

PUNCH Role

Manage development and integration of the PUNCH Observatories, ensuring they meet all technical and performance requirements within cost and schedule; report directly to the PUNCH PM.

Experience Relative to PUNCH

Mr. Alan Henry has more than 25 years of spacecraft design, development, integration, and operations experience. He has proven management, organization and leadership skills on multiple space hardware and S/C programs. Mr. Henry also managed the AI&T for the CYGNSS constellation of eight microsatellites developed by SwRI. He served as the I&T Manager for the NASA MMS Instrument Suite, a constellation of four Observatories managed by GSFC for 4 years prior to transitioning to CYGNSS.

Supporting Experience

Mr. Henry’s previous roles at SwRI include: Deputy Project Manager for Dream Chaser Fault Tolerant Flight Computer, Systems Engineer for the Aries Spaceborne Power Supply; Project Manager for the Manhattan Spacecraft Avionics Engineering Unit; and Deputy Project Manager and Systems Engineering support for the Tracker Spacecraft Avionics.

Mr. Henry came to SwRI from Orbital Sciences Corporation, where he was a Senior Principal Systems Engineer on NASA’s DAWN Interplanetary Spacecraft program managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was responsible for maintaining the flight system and subsystem specifications, the environment requirements document, and the flight-to-ground interface control document. He supported JPL’s Mission Operations team with flight rule development and planning of the end-to-end information system test, mission scenario test, and initial on-orbit checkout. He also served as test director for the comprehensive performance test suite for the DAWN spacecraft. At ORBCOMM, Mr. Henry supported launch and operations for a 35-spacecraft constellation serving as flight dynamics analyst and space-weather cognizant engineer.

Immediately after receiving his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, he performed microgravity analysis on the International Space Station flight dynamics team.

PUNCH NASA Management Team

Uzo-Okoro, Ezinne

Ezinne Uzo-OkoroNASA Mission Executive

NASA: Science Mission Directorate / Heliophysics Division


Education

M.P.A. in Science and Technology Policy, Harvard University, 2021

M.S. in Space Robotics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2020

M.S. in Aerospace Systems Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2009

B.S. in Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2004

Professional Background

Program Executive, 2021-present

Engineering Division Chief, 2018-2020

Program Management and Systems Engineering, 2004-2018

PUNCH Role

Provides oversight for the PUNCH program, ensuring all technical and performance requirements are met within cost and schedule, on behalf of the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Ms. Uzo-Okoro has designed, built, managed, and reviewed 60 spaceflight programs in over 16 years representing $9.2 billion in total program value to NASA. She is experienced in all NASA mission life-cycle phases, particularly in systems engineering, space communications, software and hardware development and project management.

Supporting Experience

Ms. Uzo-Okoro has contributed significantly to six spacecraft mission engineering development efforts at Goddard Space Flight Center in software, avionics, and mission systems engineering: Cassini post-launch activities, Constellation Program/EFT-1 launched in 2014; ExPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC) launched in 2009, Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) launched in 2014, Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER) launched in 2017 and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to launch in 2018.

Her experience also includes leading the mission design and development for a constellation of micro-satellites for a Low Earth Orbit Program and overseeing Soarex 9 and TechEdSat teams, Spore-Sat 2, BioSentinel, and EcAMSat. She provided oversight for the Exploration Medical Capability (ExMC) Medical Data Architecture (MDA) development for ISS astronaut use. She served as Senior Systems Engineer and the Ames Research Center Software Lead in the Chief Engineer’s Office. Ms. Uzo-Okoro assessed and reviewed the procedural requirement compliance for Ames projects, such as Resource Prospector, BioSentinel, GeneLab, TESS, Propulsion PathFinder, and Kepler. She also designed 13 conceptual missions including RESTORE-L in the Goddard Mission Design Lab as Systems Engineer and guided the Ames Mission Design Center during the development of several mission concepts including the Europa augmentation mission.

Ms. Uzo-Okoro served as Deputy Project Manager of a GSFC- and JPL-led $300M NASA‑wide implementation project to upgrade NASA's Spacecraft Communication and Navigation program. She developed strategy and vision for future work, and managed resources – project budget, schedule, and performance – including large NASA contracts. She was tasked with chairing and approving over 20 space communications mission operational readiness reviews (LADEE, MAVEN, etc.) and represented NASA at DoD, with including ITAR-based international partners, such as KSAT in Svalbard, Norway.

Tyrone Dillard

Tyrone DillardExplorers Mission Manager

NASA: Explorers Program


Education

M.S. in Engineering Management, The George Washington University, 2014

B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Capitol Technology University, 2013

B.S. in Electronics Engineering Technology, Thomas Edison State University, 2011

Professional Background

Tyrone Dillard began his career in aerospace nearly 20 years ago in the United States Marine Corps where he served as an enlisted Aviation Electronics Technician. As a Marine, he troubleshot and repaired navigation and communication systems for fixed and rotary winged military aircrafts. In 2006, after 5 years of service in the Marines, he was honorably discharged and transitioned into a new career with NASA first serving as a Quality Engineer where he supported the following NASA projects: EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) Logistics Carrier (ELC), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) and Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2). In 2015, he began serving as a Chief Safety and Mission Assurance Officer (CSO) and successfully led safety & mission assurance (SMA) teams in support of the Ionospheric Connection (ICON) Explorer Project and the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) Resolve Instrument Project. Finally, in 2019, he was selected to serve in the Explorers Program Office as the PUNCH Mission Manager.

PUNCH Role

As the PUNCH Mission Manager within the Explorers Program Office at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mr. Dillard will provide government oversight to ensure the technical, programmatic and science success of the mission. He serves as the main point of contact between SwRI/PUNCH Project and the Explorers Program Office and keep NASA Headquarters personnel (NASA HQ Program Executive and NASA HQ Program Scientist) informed regarding PUNCH. He is responsible for ensuring that the PUNCH mission complies with all applicable government and NASA-specific policies and regulations and provide advocacy to remove barriers.

Madhulika Guhathakurta

Madhulika GuhathakurtaNASA Program Scientist

NASA: Science Mission Directorate / Heliophysics Division


Professional Background

For the past two decades, Madhulika (Lika) has led the development of Heliophysics as an integrated scientific discipline from which fundamental discoveries about our universe provide direct societal benefits. As the Lead for the Living With a Star (LWS) program for 16 years (2001-2016), she made possible the flagship missions (e.g. the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Van Allen Probes, Solar Orbiter Collaboration and Parker Solar Probe) including STEREO that would revolutionize our understanding of how the Sun shapes space weather in the solar system.

Since 2017, she was the driving force at NASA Headquarters and at NASA Ames behind the growth of Frontier Development Laboratory, both in terms of the breadth of problem areas tackled as well as in the number of agency and industry partners (e.g. Google, Nvidia, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Planet). The types of innovative solutions include virtual telescopes, data fusion, edge computing, and autonomy and this approach will have an enduring imprint on the way science and exploration is carried out by future generations. She is presently (2020) a Senior Advisor for New Initiatives at Goddard Space Flight Center, and Program Scientist at HQ, HPD.

Dr. Nicholeen Viall-Kepko

Nicholeen Viall-KepkoNASA Project Scientist

NASA: Goddard Space Flight Center
PUNCH Science Co-I: WG 1B (leader), 2C


Education

Ph.D. in Astronomy, Boston University, 2010

M.A. in Astronomy, Boston University, 2007

B.S. in Astronomy and Physics, University of Washington, 2004

Professional Background

Research Astrophysicist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 2012 - present

NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 2010 - 2012

Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Astronomy, Boston University, 2005 - 2010

Awards

Karen Harvey Prize, for outstanding early- career contributions

PUNCH Role

Lead analysis and interpretation of PUNCH data on solar wind variability, turbulence, and microstructure; analyze shock images.

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Dr. Viall-Kepko is an expert in time series analysis, image processing, and connecting remote observations to those made in situ in order to understand Sun-Earth interactions. Beginning with the research for her dissertation, “Periodic Solar Wind Density Structures”, she has examined Sun-Earth connections, analyzing in situ magnetospheric and solar wind data and connecting those observations with solar wind structures observed in white light imaging data taken with inner Heliospheric Imager and Outer Coronagraph on STEREO/SECCHI (abbreviation). This research shows how high resolution white light imaging data can help to pin down the origin of the slow solar wind and predict the ‘quiescent’ space weather impacting the Earth even on quiet days.

Supporting Experience

Dr. Viall-Kepko uses her time series and image processing expertise to investigate the properties of coronal heating with imaging data and hydrodynamic simulations. Her community service is extensive, having served on Eduardo Sanchez- Diaz’s dissertation committee, gave 80 interviews for the 2017 total solar eclipse, was a SHINE student representative and a representative for the Outstanding Student Paper Awards given by the American Geophysical Union.

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

Viall, N.M., & A. Vourlidas, (2015) Periodic Density Structures and the Origin of the Slow Solar Wind, ApJ, 807, 176.

Viall, N.M., Spence, H., Vourlidas, A., & Howard, R., (2010) Examining Periodic Solar-Wind Density Structures Observed in the SECCHI Heliospheric Imagers, Solar Physics, 261, 175.

Viall, N.M., & Klimchuk, J. A., (2012) Evidence for Widespread Cooling in an Active Region Observed with the SDO Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, ApJ, 753, 35.

Viall, N.M., et al., (2009) Are periodic solar wind number density structures formed in the solar corona?, GRL, 36, L23102.