Tom Hill

Tom Hill attended Penn State University under an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) scholarship and graduated in 1990 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. The night before graduation he received a commission in the Air Force as a second lieutenant. While waiting to enter active military service, he worked at Edwards Air Force Base as a civil servant, doing early research and development on advanced materials and their application to rocket propulsion. Called to active duty in May of 1991, he entered Undergraduate Space and Missile Training (then called Undergraduate Space Training) to enter Air Force Space Command. After completing training, he reported to Schreiver Air Force Base (then called Falcon AFB) for duty with the First Space Operations Squadron. As an orbital analyst, he carried out early orbit and station keeping maneuver planning as well as orbital refinement for the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Defense Support Program (DSP), along with some work on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). His next assignment took him to Turkey, where Space Command operated a small tracking station named Pirinclik, which was closed in 1997. The station was founded in the 50s to monitor Soviet missile tests, but in the mid 90s the primary duty of the 75 Americans there was to provide orbital tracking data for Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs. Tom served as a crew commander and chief of training during this tour. After Turkey, he did an assignment at Vandenberg AFB in California. As a launch crew commander and operations support flight commander, Tom served in every operational position within the squadron structure: launch crew commander, launch director, mission planner, trainer, and evaluator and was the launch crew commander for the Titan II launch of the NOAA-K spacecraft on May 13 1998. He also served as deputy launch director for a Titan IVB launch from Vandenberg on May 22nd 1999. In late 1999, Tom left active duty for the Air Force, though he still serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve. He and his wife moved to suburban Maryland, where he works for The Aerospace Corporation as a senior project engineer. In his first position as a civilian, working with the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), he served as the simulation leader for the GOES-M mission, planning training scenarios for the control crews to hone their skills. He also worked with the next generation GOES spacecraft, developing operations and contingency procedures for GOES N and testing them against the spacecraft. Once the satellite launched in May of 2006, he served as a test director during the operational checkout. Starting in November 2006, Tom took a position within the flight operations segment on the Landsat program. In this position, he oversees technical operations of both the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 spacecraft, with an eye to keeping them in operation while future missions come on line to continue their mission of monitoring the changing surface of the Earth. Outside of his paid career, Tom maintains an interest in all things related to space, especially human spaceflight. He is an active member of The Mars Society, having led the Analog Rover Project, and founded The Kepler Prize for Mars Mission Design within the organization. He has authored several papers for presentation there, as well as articles for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and Space Operations Online Magazine, The Space Review, High Frontier (the Air Force journal for space professionals), and Space Times (the Magazine of the American Astronautical Society). An avid public speaker, Tom volunteers to present space-related topics to colleagues, civil organizations, and children of all ages. He also has served as a Discovery Station volunteer at The National Air and Space Museum, discussing topics ranging from ancient astronomy through telescopes, Mars rovers, and meteorites with visitors to one of the most popular museums in the world. He currently serves as a JPL Solar System Ambassador. Space: What Now? Is his first published book. He followed it with an illustrated children's book entitled I Want to go to Mars. Tom says "I believe that the human race is better off pursuing a future that involves space. While many of the reasons cited for doing so are overblown or in some cases just wrong, the positive reasons, combined with our innate need to expand our horizons and look beyond the next hill come together to make a compelling case for expansion beyond Earth."

Broadcast 1016 (Special Edition)

Guest: Tom Hill was the guest for this Space Show program to discuss his Mars Society award winning proposal, Tethered Experiment for Mars inter-Planetary Operations Cubed (TEMPO3), a mission designed to demonstrate the generation of artificial gravity using a CubeSat satellite. Tom started the discussion with the basics pertaining to his winning this award at the recently held 2008 Mars Society Conference in Boulder, Colorado. Tom's proposal was the winner out of 30 proposals.

Broadcast 520 (Special Edition)

Tom Hill and Marilyn Glass were the guests for this program discussing their new book for children, "I Want To Go To Mars." This book is designed for primary school children to excite them about space and in particular Mars. You can learn more about the book and order it online at We also discussed space education for kids and the school system in general, space and science teachers, and how to motivate kids for space and science.

Broadcast 312 (Special Edition)

Tom Hill, author of "Space: What Now? The Past, Present, and Possible Futures of Activities in Space," was the guest for this Space Show program. He began the interview by discussing how he met Buzz Aldrin and how he got Buzz to write the Forward for this book Tom then discussed some of the more salient chapters and conclusions in his book. Tom Hill did a stellar job in providing us with a condenses history of how we started, how we got to where we are today in space development, and events since the Columbia accident.

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