People: Consultants

Dr James Benford

Dr James Benford


Dr James Benford is the President of Microwave Sciences in Lafayette, California. This company conducts research into high power microwave systems from conceptual designs to hardware. He has a range of interests for microwaves including electromagnetic power beaming for spacecraft propulsion. He has consulted on contracts for NASA and DoD and several Universities. He has also conducted research into fusion physics working on reversed-field configurations. This led to work on intense particular beam properties such as propagation and confinement. He led the development of a fusion reactor concept using intense electron and ion beams for heating in toroidal and linear multiple mirror geometries. He began space-related studies in 1993, focusing on research into microwave and millimetre wave-based applications. He led the team that in 2000 demonstrated first flight of photon-driven carbon sails using microwave beams. His work now concentrates on beam-powered propulsion.

Previously, he worked at Physics International, where he directed the High Power Microwave (HPM) Division, conducting research and developing a product line in HPM components and systems. He managed the building of Orion, the state-of-the-art HPM testing facility. He earned an M.S. (1995) and Ph.D. (1969) in Physics at the University of California San Diego. In 1997, he was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering for “transferring high power microwave sources and systems into custom commercial products”.

He has written 139 scientific papers and 6 books on physics topics, including the textbook, High Power Microwaves, now in its Second Edition. Over the last two decades, he has taught 22 courses in High Power Microwaves in nine countries. James is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and serves on the International Advisory Board of the technical journal JBIS.

Alan Bond


Alan Bond is one of the pioneers of interstellar Studies. He led the 1970s British Interplanetary Society Project Daedalus study and also pioneered many other studies on World Ships, interstellar ramjets and SETI. He formerly worked for Rolls Royce and studied under Val Cleaver. He also worked with the British Aircraft Corporation and he has wide experience in gas turbines and rocket propulsion. He was employed at the Atomic Energy Authority in the 1970s and 1980s, which included working on JET and RFX nuclear research projects. As a consultant engineer to BAe during the HOTOL project, he invented and patented the RB545 engine design. In 1989 he founded a company called Reaction Engines, managing the evolution from the HOTOL to the new SKYLON design. He served as the Managing Director for most of the period and he is now the companies Chief Engineer.

Jonathan Brooks


Jonathan Brooks is an Industrialist who has built companies associated with trucking, shipping and the gas industry. He is an experienced business man, property owner and has travelled extensively throughout the world. He previously ran his own shipping company based in Malta where he lived for several years. He is also a school and college teacher of engineering, science and electrical technology. He is a member of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers and holds the freedom to the City of London by redemption. He is also an experienced PADI Advanced open water diver. Throughout his education he has studied Law, Business and science at University level.

He values integrity and honesty in a business environment and believes strongly in the potential of science to make a positive change in the world. He is particularly interested in the capacity of space science to inspire the next generation onto useful careers and to become productive members of society.

Bill Cress


Bill Cress is an experienced professional working in the commercial construction and real estate development industries. This includes industrial, corporate and scientific research establishments. His reputation is for excellence in his work, creating aesthetically distinctive quality commercial environments.  He is a member of many organizations including the National Press Photographers Association, American Society of Media Photographers, New Jersey Film Commission.

He is a professional photographer, short film producer, photographic lecturer. He has a Bachelors degree in Engineering and post-graduate qualifications in Construction Technology and Engineering, Real Estate and Contract Law. He is currently the President of William Cress Corporation and Cress Photo, and has been the President or Director of many other companies.

He is a member of the British Interplanetary Society and a Director in the non-profit organization Icarus Interstellar. He is interested in the potential to create a research establishment for scientists as a means of accelerating technological advancements for the exploration of space.

Adam Crowl


Adam Crowl lives in Brisbane, Australia. He was influenced by Project Apollo and watching documentaries on the Viking landing, as well as science fiction shows like Space 1999. He was struck by an Iain Nicholson book, The Road to the Stars, at age 9 which prompted him to want to be a space-probe designer in his life.  He studied Physics and Engineering at University and eventually obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Adam is interested in all things relating to the exploration of space and is renowned for his knowledge on spacecraft propulsion and SETI.

He was one of the co-founders behind the non-profit organizations Icarus Interstellar, for which he serves as one of the Directors as well as contributing to the technical study, Project Icarus, a redesign of the 1970s British Interplanetary Society starship design. He is member of the International Advisory Board for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and he has published several technical papers relating to starship design. Adam runs his own blog space called

Nicholas Eftimiades


Nicholas Eftimiades in an American author and lecturer who lives in London, England. His career spans several US government agencies and hundreds of thousands of miles in Africa, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Nick has authored books and number of scholarly articles on national security, technology, and outer space issues. His latest work is a political and philosophical satire entitled “Edward of Planet Earth”.

Nick is a frequent lecturer and public speaker on future technology and societal changes, and national security issues. He has appeared on CBS Evening News with Connie Chung, Dateline NBC, ABC’s Day One, BBC America, National Public Radio, and dozens of other television and radio broadcasts. He testified before several US Congressional and Presidential Commissions concerning National Security issues, future technology development, and the future of the US space program. He has been a consultant for several Hollywood movies.

Nick’s 27 year government career includes seven years at the National Security Space Office leading engineering teams designing “generation after next” national security space capabilities. He was also Senior Technical Officer in Defense Intelligence Agency, Future’s Division, and Chief of DIA’s Space Division. He served as DIA’s lead for national space policy and strategy development.

In his off time he has formed and manages the Federation of Galaxy Explorers (FOGE), a non-profit organization to educate and inspire children in space science and engineering. To date, Galaxy Explorers has educated and inspired over 25,000 children. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of North Dakota, Space Studies Department, and a passionate amateur astronomer

Richard Godwin


Richard Godwin is an ex British national who has lived in the United States for almost 25 years. He has been active in the space advocacy world in the US for almost as long, serving for 8 years on the Board of the National Space Society and 4 years on the Board of the Space Frontier Foundation, he was in fact the first person to serve on both Boards simultaneously. He is a published author having written many articles for Ad Astra and Launch magazines as well as

Richard also has served as expert to the US Congress on NEO matters as Executive Director of The Watch. He was also called to assist as a private citizen in designing America’s new space program in the aftermath of the Columbia disaster in 2003.

Recently he was working as a private consultant for SpaceX working on the nascent DragonLab project which he hopes to bring to full commercial program status at some point. This is architecture for flying commercial payloads.

Mark Hempsell


Mark Hempsell is currently the Vice President of the British Interplanetary Society and previously served as the President (1997-2000). He joined the society in 1971 becoming a Fellow in 1984.  He was also formerly the Editor of the societies technical Journal (2005-2009), JBIS and has served on numerous committees.  His career in astronautics started at British Aerospace Space and Communications Division working as a systems engineer on communications satellites and infrastructure systems. He has a B.Sc in Physics from Imperial College (1978) and an M.Sc in Astronomy and Astronautics from Hatfield Polytechnic (1982). He joined British Aerospace’s Space Division in 1978 working on several satellite programmes such as the European Communications Satellite and Inmarsat 2. Later as Business Development Manager he ran infrastructure studies on launch systems (including BAe HOTOL and the MacDonnell Douglas Delta Clipper), European space stations and the BAe Multirole Capsule.

In 1991 he joined the University of Bristol rising to Senior Lecturer in Astronautics with research centering on space infrastructure and the associated system engineering processes. In 2009 he joined Reaction Engines Ltd as Future Programmes Director. Over his career he has had over 40 journal papers published covering a wide range of subjects mostly around the space infrastructure from space station design, through the theory of system engineering processes, to exploring the role of expanding space capability as a means to combat threats to humanity.

Terry Kammash


Professor Terry Kammash is the Stephen S. Attwood Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan. He was first appointed at the University in 1954. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University (1952) and a Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering (1954) from the same university.

He obtained his Doctorate in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan (1958). He has conducted research into a wide field of specializations including ttheoretical and computational investigations of high temperature plasma confinement in magnetic fusion devices, including the study of equilibrium, transport, and stability of plasma in toroidal and open-ended devices; inertial confinement fusion; plasma engineering; power producing fusion reactors; space applications of nuclear energy.

He has published dozens of technical papers such as on antiproton-driven magnetically insulated inertial fusion propulsion systems. He has published several scholarly texts such as ‘Fusion Reactor Physics: Principles and Technology’ (1975) and ‘Fusion Energy in Space Propulsion’ (1995). Recently, the AIAA Nuclear and Future Flight Propulsion Technical Committee awarded Terry Kammash the 2012 Pioneer Award, for outstanding achievements, exemplary leadership and sustained contributions to the field of aerospace engineering in advanced nuclear fusion propulsion.

Colin McInnes


Professor Colin McInnes is the Director of Research at the University of Strathclyde. He is well known for his technical work on solar sails and have published many papers examining issues related to trajectories, mission analysis, autonomous spacecraft control and space robotics. He has also published a key book on the subject titled ‘Solar Sailing: Technology, Dynamics and Mission Applications’. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Astronomy and a PhD in Astrodynamics. He was previously a lecturer in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Glasgow and went onto become a Reader and a Professor. He then joined the University of Strathclyde in 2004. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Fellow the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is a Member of the Astrodynamics Technical Committee of the International Academy of Astronautics and a Member of the Professional standards Panel of the Institute of Physics.

He has presented to both the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and the Scottish Parliament Science Information Service.  He has worked on many space projects including a system design study of the GEOSAIL Technology reference study for the European Space Agency. He also has a research interest in the families of non-Keplerian orbits for solar sails which can enable novel applications. He is also interested in the applications of autonomous spacecraft control, principally through the application of artificial potential field methods. This work has been developed for automated rendezvous and docking for the distributed control of multiple spacecraft for formation-flying missions.

He has been given many awards including the Makdougall Brisban Prize (2006), the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Engineering (2001), the Pardoe Space Award (2000), the Ackroyd Stuart Propulsion Prize (2004), the Leonov Medal (2007) and the Kelvin Medal (2008).

Richard Osborne


Richard Osborne has a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics, a Master’s Degree in Remote Sensing (specialising in Martian surface analysis), is a Chartered Physicist, a Chartered Scientist, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Member of the Royal Institution and has served on the UK Rocketry Association’s Council for 13 years. Richard is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, having first joined in 1983 and currently serves on the BIS Council. He is also the Chair of the BIS Technical Committee. He currently works in IT and Strategic Foresight Consultancy as well as Space Consultancy for companies such as Reaction Engines Limited, Airborne Engineering Limited and Commercial Space Technologies Limited.

Richard’s space related work has encompassed systems engineering and analysis for a payload to the Mir space station, Mars missions, air breathing hydrogen fuelled rocket propulsion, lander studies, as well as orbital mechanics and trajectory analysis. Involved in a number of professional and amateur rocketry ventures in the past, as well as potential UK X-Prize contenders, he has also been extensively involved with hybrid rocket propulsion systems for the last 19 years. He is enthusiastic about space exploration and he is a keen advocate of manned spaceflight and launch vehicle technology.

Tibor Pacher


Dr. Tibor Pacher was born in Hungary and frequently lives in Germany. He trained as a PhD physicist (Heidelberg 1991), and has since worked as a freelancer for Management and Financial Accounting processes and their support by software systems ( During his academic career he worked on different topics of General Relativity, Cosmology and Quantum Chemistry as well as on ESA’s Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) mission.

In 2006 he initiated the organisation “Peregrinus Interstellar”, dedicated to the topic of interstellar travel – The PI Club. Tibor also runs the projects Faces from Earth –, with focus on creating interstellar message artifacts, to be carried on future deep space missions, and MiniSpaceWorld, aiming at the creation of a big lively scale model layout for Spaceflight and Astromomy.

Other space projects he has initiated includes Mosaic Earth, which is an emblem of faces from Earth to represent our home planet, with all our diversity and unity at the same time. This was planned to be flown on a future space mission. He also initiated the Interstellar.

Joe Ritter


Experimental Physicist, Laboratory Director at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy Advanced Technology Research Center. Joe Ritter is a NASA/NIAC fellow, has worked in government and private sectors and held faculty appointments in diverse areas from Space Systems Engineering to Astronomy to Animal science.

He is working on a number of cutting-edge projects that sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but in fact are real: Current projects include developing laser powered meta-material nano-actuators optical systems with the goal of launching 100 meter giant ultra-lightweight space telescopes, working on optical systems for Earth based analysis of exoplanet atmospheres and through a new advance radically reducing light pollution that affects astronomy, humans, sea turtles and other endangered species (

He is on the advisory board of the Open Source Starship Alliance ( and CEO of Neoteric Physics. Joe believes that having the big picture (an interdisciplinary view) is critical to scientific advancement. His previous research and consulting covered many fields, including Artificial Intelligence, Teratology, Genetics, Satellite Oceanography, Solar Power, Space Plasma Physics, Radiative Transfer, Active Structures, Adaptive Optics and many other fields.

Gerry Webb


Gerry Webb has been a member of the British Interplanetary Society since 1958 and a Fellow since 1969. He currently serves as a member of the Council. He has a large interest in science fiction and is a regular attender at science fiction events. He was a member of the 1970s British Interplanetary Project Daedalus study, working on the Science Payload. Gerry has been the General Director of Commercial Space Technologies Ltd (CST) since its foundation in 1983. Before this he worked for the British Government space research programme, beginning from 1960, at the Radio Research Laboratory (Slough). This laboratory became the Appleton Laboratory and ultimately merged with the Rutherford Laboratory to become (RAL). Gerry graduated in Physics and completed postgraduate work in Space Science (University College London).

All of his working life has been in the space field, beginning with the radio tracking of Sputnik 3 and other early Soviet satellites in order to measure ionospheric parameters. After a ten year period of work between 1968 and 1978 with sounding rockets investigating the Earth’s geomagnetic field from the arctic launch ranges of Andoya and Kiruna he transferred to the management team procuring sounding rockets for the British space research community.

Friedwardt Winterberg


Professor Winterberg is a tenured researcher at the University of Nevada, Reno with a Masters degree in Science from the University of Frankfurt in 1953 and a Doctorate  in 1955 studying under Werner Heinsenberg. He later emigrated to the United States and become a US citizen. He is a renowned expert for his knowledge in nuclear fusion and plasma physics, special and general relativity, foundations of quantum mechanics. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics serving on the Committee of Interstellar Space Exploration.

He has previously served as an Assistant Professor of Physics at Case Institute of Technology in Ohio. He is an honorary member of the German Aero-Space Society Lilienthal-Oberth, a Member of the American Physical Society, recipient of the Hermann Oberth Gold Medal (1979). He has published dozens of technical papers during his long career.


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