SpaceX experts: U-M aerospace engineers can comment on upcoming launch

February 28, 2013


ANN ARBOR—As SpaceX prepares to launch its second unmanned mission to resupply the International Space Station tomorrow (March 1) at 10 a.m., two University of Michigan engineering professors are available to discuss the launch and space entrepreneurship.

Dozens of Michigan Engineering alumni and students work at SpaceX, one of the most successful private space companies in America. Two alumni and current employees, Kiko Dontchev and John Insprucker, will host the company’s live webcast of the launch, which begins at 9:30 a.m. View the webcast at

Thomas Zurbuchen, professor of aerospace engineering and atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences, as well as associate dean of entrepreneurial programs at the College of Engineering, has taught many students who have gone on to work at SpaceX. He can discuss space entrepreneurship. “Our students are flocking to companies like SpaceX,” Zurbuchen said. “Many of them started out at another company and then left to go work there. They are leaving higher-paid, more stable jobs for this, which is amazing because it is much higher-risk and more challenging.” He can be reached at or (734) 647-6835.

Alec Gallimore, professor of aerospace engineering and associate dean for research and graduate education at the College of Engineering, taught a rocket-propulsion course to some of the Space X employees and worked with them on student projects. He and Zurbuchen created the college’s master of engineering in space systems. He can be reached at or (734) 764-8224.