Badger X-Loft: The Team

The UW-Madison X-Hab team consists of a number of students, professors, and industry representatives with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

The Badger X-Loft Team in Houston. In the background, the deployed prototype sits atop the NASA Habitat Demonstration Unit. Clockwise from top left: Aaron Olson, Marcus Fritz, Nathan Wong, Jordan Wachs, Mike Lucas, Dr. Frederick Elder, Sam Marron, Max Salick, Ariel Arnson, Julie Mason, Peter Sweeney, Nicole Roth, and Will Yu. Not Shown: Tim Feyereisen, Steve Wisser
Students from many departments on the UW-Madison campus including Engineering Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering, Textile and Apparel Design, and Finance are joining forces in order to guarantee a variety of experience and expertise.

We are grateful to have the assistance, resources, and experience of the UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center as an invaluable addition to our team.

Team Members

Frederick Elder

Advisor, Principal Investigator
  • BS, MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering
  • Experience:
    • Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
    • Registered Professional Engineer in Wisconsin and Kansas
    • Expert witness in several courts, including Dane County Circuit Court and Federal District Court in Madison, Wisconsin
    • President Frederick T. Elder & Associates

Richard S. Pappa

NASA Technical Expert
  • Education: B.S. (1972), M.S. Mechanical Engineering Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN.
  • Mentor for Aaron Olson from Sept 7-Dec 17, 2010.
  • Has worked at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, VA for 32 years (28 yrs in the Structural Dynamics Branch/Research Directorate and 4 yrs in the Structural and Thermal Systems Branch/Engineering Directorate).
  • Leader of LaRCís multi-disciplinary Expandable Structures Team.
  • Technical interests: Ultra-lightweight and inflatable space structures, structural analysis, loads & dynamics, advanced concepts for space structures.

Fred Best

Technical Consultation and Support
  • Education: BS Engineering Physics (Mechanics) 1978, UW-Madison
  • Experience:
    • Technical Director at UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center
    • Lead Mechanical Engineering of the Hubble Space Telescope High Speed Photometer and the Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer (STS-54)
    • Instrument developments include: Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer, High-resolution Interferometer Sounder, Scanning HIS, Geostationary Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer
    • Co-Investigator under a NASA Instrument Incubator Program grant for an upcoming climate benchmark mission called CLARRO

Randy Iliff

Systems Engineering Consultant
  • Education:
    • B.S. Engineering / Industrial Design, Michigan State University
    • M.S. Systems Management, Research and Development, University of Southern California
    • Honorary Fellow appointment, UW-Madison Antarctic Astronomy and Astrophysics Research institute
    • McDonnell Douglas Advanced Design Group - hypersonic aircraft and missile systems
    • Helped clients such as Motorola, Honeywell, Qualcomm, and many others to plan, establish, refine, and confidently execute products ranging from single product subsystems to entire product families

Tim Feyereisen

Graduate Assistant
  • Education:
    • B.S., Engineering Mechanics (2010)
    • M.S., Engineering Mechanics (May 2011)
  • Four year varsity swim team athlete
  • Interests: Reading, Politics
  • Research: Hibernating Turbulence in Polymer Solutions

Max Salick

Graduate Assistant
  • Major:
    • B.S., Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics (2008)
    • M.S., Engineering Mechanics (2010)
    • Ph.D., Materials Science (2013)
  • Experience:
    • Several semesters as teaching assistant of engineering design courses
    • Conducting research on bio-mimetic hydrogel materials for regenerative medicine
    • Advisor of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
    • Leader of Engineers Without Borders Ė Haiti Irrigation Canal project
    • Guitarist/vocalist of local progressive rock band
  • Interests: engineering, teaching, research, live music performance, reading, volunteering, dogs

Ariel Arnson

  • Major: Textile and Apparel Design
  • Hometown: Delafield, WI
  • Interests: Clothes, Shopping, Walking in the woods
  • Future: Hopes to open a boutique

Marcus Fritz

  • Major: Engineering Mechanics-Astronautics (May 2011)
  • Hometown: Rhinelander, WI
  • Why Iím Doing X-Hab: I find the field of space development fascinating and would like to be as involved as I can.
  • Interests: Swimming, Snowboarding, Tennis, Movies

Michael Lucas

  • Major: Engineering Mechanics-Astronautics (May 2011)
  • Experience:
    • NASAís 2010 Microgravity University
    • WSGC High Altitude Instrument Development Program
  • Interests:
    • Focuses in thermal and structural analysis
    • Joined Badger X-Loft project to augment real design experience
  • Future: Aspirations for Engineering position in Aerospace Corporation or NASAís JPL facility

Sam Marron

  • Major: Engineering Mechanics-Astronautics (December 2010)
  • Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
  • Future: Graduate Degree in Aerospace Engineering
  • Interests: billiards, motorcycles, and soccer

Julie Mason

  • Major: Engineering Mechanics-Astronautics / French (May 2012)
  • Experience: NASA internship
  • Passion: Becoming an Astronaut, Space Advocacy
  • Future: Aerospace Engineering, Graduate School

Aaron Olson

  • Major: Mechanical Engineering, International Engineering
  • Hometown: Madison, WI (Born in Kikwit, DRC)
  • Experience: NASA Academy, NASA LARSS Internships, ISAE (French Aerospace Institute)
  • Interests: Space Exploration, Entrepreneurship, Sports, Philanthropy
  • Future: Graduate School, Work with NASA and the International Space Industry

Nicole Roth

  • Major: Finance, Investment and Banking / Economics (May 2011)
  • Hometown: Plymouth, MN
  • Future: Plans to work in the financial industry after graduation
  • Interests: the stock market, rugby, traveling

Peter Sweeney

  • Major: Engineering Mechanics-Astronautics (May 2012)
  • Hometown: Oshkosh, WI
  • Interests: going to his cabin in Eagle River, WI, traveling, and boating
  • Future: Plans to work in the space industry after graduation

Jordan Wachs

  • Major: Engineering Mechanics-Astronautics / Physics
  • Hometown: Eau Claire, WI
  • Future: Graduate Studies
  • Interests: climbing, hiking, traveling

Steven Wisser

  • Major: Engineering Mechanics - Astronautics, Certificate in Business (May 2011)
  • Hometown: Bloomington, MN
  • Future: Work in Automotive or Aerospace Industry
  • Interests: Computer-aided design techniques, new product design

Nathan Wong

  • Major: Engineering Mechanics-Astronautics (May 2011)
  • Hometown: La Crosse, WI
  • Nathan has worked three terms in the space industry and it has become his passion. The Badger X-Loft Project is a perfect culmination to his undergraduate degree.

Will Yu

  • Major: Engineering Mechanics-Astronautics (December 2010)
  • Hobbies: Frisbee, Soccer, Skydiving
  • Future: Aerospace Engineering Graduate School

Proposal Assistance

Anna Turner

University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Engineering Physics
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email us at
Madison, Wisconsin
Revised: 7/11/2011