Our Team

Joshua Farahzad

Project Lead

Josh is a sophomore at Duke University studying electrical engineering and economics. He's operated a business, a nonprofit and has volunteered at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Josh's long term interests lie in human biology and space. He's excited to work with motivated students who share his passions for space. He can be reached at joshfarahzad@gmail.com.

Saad Mirza

Design Lead

Saad is skilled in systems-level design and optimization of unguided suborbital rocket systems, having previously served as the project manager of Princeton University's SpaceShot team. Saad has also worked at the Georgia Tech Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory. He hopes to lead the team to success, and in the long term, usher in a new era of supersonic commercial air travel. Saad can be reached at saadzmirza@gmail.com.

Timothy Wynia


Timothy is a rising senior at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, where he is studying a double major of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science with an emphasis on controls, and algorithm applications. Timothy is excited to be joining the team to follow his passion for applied aerospace engineering. When not working with the team, Timothy plays a strong game of ping-pong, and will be spending his summer in Indianapolis, IN, working for Raytheon.

Brandon Cea


Brandon is currently a sophomore at the United States Military Academy where he studies Aerospace Engineering and is the project lead for the West Point SPEAR program. Last semester Brandon completed a research project regarding PIKSI differential GPS systems interfacing through ROS and machine learning software. He hopes to work on hypersonic glider vehicles in the future and is excited to see this project lift off.

Hannah Boubel


Hannah is a sophomore at the United States Military Academy studying Space Science with a Nuclear Engineering track. She is a member of SPEAR, a student run space team at West Point. Hannah’s long term interests include space exploration and missile defense.

Chase Lewis


Chase is a mechanical engineering student at the United States Military Academy. He serves as the technical lead for West Point’s Space Engineering and Applied Research (SPEAR) Program. Chase has a strong passion for working in the realm of space and is very excited to work with other motivated teams.

John Yarden Elias


Yarden is a junior at Sacramento State University studying Mechanical Engineering with a strong passion for Aerospace and Astronautics. He is the founder of Liquid Propulsion Group on his school campus and will be contributing to the efforts in the structures subsystem working on optimization and analysis, and will be interning at Raytheon this Summer.

Nicole Meister


At Princeton, Nicole studies Electrical Engineering with additional interests in Computer Science. Nicole has had significant research experience, interning for 2 years at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory working on marsupial robots and presented at various conferences such as the International Science and Engineering Fair 2018 and America’s leading Multiple Sclerosis Conference (ACTRIMS 2019) for her work in precision medicine.

Eliana Berger


Eliana Berger is from Long Island, New York and will be attending Northeastern University this fall. She is passionate about science and founded Golden Heroes, a medical nonprofit that brings comfort and joy to children with cancer. Eliana joined Operation Space because she wants to encourage other teens to fearlessly pursue their ambitious goals.

Noah McGuinness


Noah is a freshman at Princeton University. He was responsible for the CAD assembly of the team’s rocket. Noah is presently studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and plans to obtain a certificate in Robotics and Intelligent Systems. Noah is an active member in the music community, performing with the jazz band and afrobeat group, Sensemaya.

Chris Romanoski


Chris is a senior in Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt University, where he is the president of the NASA Student Launch team. Building off a summer spent interning in propulsion at NASA Marshall, he is anxious for the opportunity to pursue his passion for rocketry with peers from across the country to do something truly extraordinary with Operation Space.

Coleman Merchant


Coleman previously was the chief engineer for Princeton Spaceshot and Princeton Racing Electric. Coleman has previously worked at Tesla and SpaceX, gaining experience in advanced composites, machining, and mechanical/aerospace engineering.

Brian Munguia


Brian has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from The Ohio State University and a MS in Aeronautics & Astronautics from Stanford University. He's currently a PhD candidate in Aeronautics & Astronautics at Stanford University focusing on CFD-based design optimization. He joined the project because he really likes the collaborative nature of it, bringing several universities and members of industry together to make something cool.

Satya Nayagam


Satya is studying Chemical and Biological Engineering with a Certificate in Materials Science. Satya worked for two summers at NASA, and has also designed and built payloads for flight on Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman launch vehicles.

Jan Balk


Jan Balk studies Aerospace Engineering at Purdue University. He is the team lead of Purdue AIAA’s rocket design team and led his city’s first robotics team in high school. He joined Operation Space because it is an opportunity to solve difficult challenges and work with like-minded students from around the country.

Miles Simpkins


Miles is studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and has had a passion for flight since day one. At his high school in Texas, he was president of an aerospace club that conducted high altitude balloon launches including a world record attempt.

Hugh Ferguson

Web Dev, Business

Hugh is a sophomore at Northeastern University's Honors College studying computer science and economics. He is passionate about social entrepreneurship and co-founded mission: toothbrush, a nonprofit supplying oral health supplies to disadvantaged families. He joined Operation Space because he is fascinated by science, physics, and realizing people's potential to achieve. Hugh can be reached at hughferguson25@gmail.com.

Miguel Opeña


Miguel’s number one interest is math, and he is using it to model rocket trajectories. Aside from trying to launch a rocket into space, Miguel also performs research for Princeton’s Intelligent Robot Motion Lab, where he is applying math and algorithms to autonomous robotic controls.

Karelia Silvestrini


Karelia is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Aerospace Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. She started the first AIAA branch at PUPR, and has also participated in community work such as motivating public school students about STEM careers as well as assisting on NASA Kennedy Space Center volunteer program.

Adam Katz


Adam is a Business Analytics major at MIT. He's a pitcher on MIT's baseball team, a member of the Baker Foundation, and Co-founder and President of Textless. Adam joined Operation Space because he loves to challenge what is possible and hopes to inspire others to do the same.

Nathan Spilker


Nathan is on the structures team for Operation Space; he is the overseer of the rocket CAD model and helped design the interstage adapter mechanism. Nathan is a sophomore studying Aerospace engineering at Princeton and is pursuing a certificate in engineering physics.

Matt Chiarelli


Matthew Chiarelli is a rising sophomore studying media production and business at New Paltz. With a passion for documentary filmmaking and a fascination with space in general, Matt joined to document the process with the hopes of sharing the experience with the world.

Saaketh Kanikicharla


Saaketh is a BS/MS student at NYU Stern’s School of Business majoring in finance and accounting. He has run a company and operated a non profit. His interests include consulting and biotechnology. He will be spending his summer at T3 Trading.

Anthony Parfilko


Anthony is a junior at Rutgers university, where he studies Mechanical Engineering at the Honors Academy. A dedicated member of AIAA and one of the first members of STAR, he enjoys hands-on problems that require both mastery of tools and lateral thinking. He joined Operation Space in search of a challenging project that pushes the limits of expectation.

Dayan Mitchell


Dayan is an Army ROTC cadet interested in pursuing a degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a certificate in Computer Science at Princeton University. He primarily works with the logistics team ensuring operations are running smoothly.

Steven Latimer


Steve is a senior at Clarkson University majoring in Aeronautical Engineering and Physics. He joined the team to learn about building and launching a rocket while contributing all that he can to the project.

Gerardo Javier Barillas


Gerardo is a Senior Aerospace Engineering major at Texas A&M University. A-Whoop! He has led the mechanical sub-team for A&M’s AIAA CanSat team, as well as being part of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition. He joined Operation Space because he wants to show the potential and abilities that young students have in the area of aerospace engineering. He also loves manned spaceflight and is an avid follower of private space corporations. Gig ‘Em!

Timothy Nuber


Timothy is currently studying Aerospace Engineering at Rutgers University Honors College, where he runs the Space Technology Association. An avid cosmic explorer, he joined Operation Space to connect with fellow students paving the way to the stars.

Eric Katzen


Eric is a Graduate from Hofstra University where he received his BS ME and a concentration in Aeronautical Engineering. He has had internships/Co-Ops with Ripak Aerospace Processing, Lockheed Martin, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center & the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and United Airlines. He will be starting a full-time position with The Boeing Company accompanied with a MS in Electrical Engineering concentrating in Control Systems at NJIT.

Dalton Alexander


Dalton is a junior Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering student at Clarkson University, where he is the President of the AIAA chapter. He joined Operation Space because he wants to learn about rocketry with a great team. "This is probably the closest thing to being an astronaut as I'll be in my life"

Luke Truitt

Business Team

Luke is a sophomore at Duke University majoring in Computer Engineering and Economics. He thinks space is one of the most important elements of our future and has always been interested both in space and the economics surrounding it. He is hoping to make some connections with interesting people who share some of the same ambitions and goals.

Matthew Boudreau


Matthew is a senior Mechanical Engineer at Cornell University, where he is doing climate engineering research. He joined Operation Space because it seems like a great way to build up his rocketry skills and have a lot of fun for the summer. He also feels that too many university project teams are based around competition between universities, rather than cooperation, which sets this project apart.

Logan O’Donnell


Logan is studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and is a member of the Logistics Team. In addition to Rocketry, Logan is an Army ROTC Cadet who plays hockey and golf.

Andy Xu


Andy is studying Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. Outside of SpaceShot, Andy conducts research on climate change through the morphology of foraminiferans and curating the Princeton Paleontology and Mineral Collection.

Tim Cerrie


Tim is entering his senior year as an Aeronautical Engineering major at Clarkson University. He has always been awed and fascinated by space and is very excited to be apart of Operation Space because it is a unique opportunity to be working with intelligent students from all over the country and accomplish something amazing.

Stephen Cushner


Stephen Cushner is a Sophomore at Columbia University in New York City, majoring in financial economics. Stephen is the treasurer of the Columbia Financial Investment Group (CFIG), Columbia’s largest finance club, and is the Preprofessional Representative of the Columbia College Student Councils. Stephen joined Operation Space because of his passion for pushing the limits and lifelong fascination with space and astronomy.

Ryan Piracha


Ryan Piracha is an award winning animator and editor based in Richmond, Virginia. He has recently completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Video Studies at George Mason University, and also has a background in STEM as an alumnus of FIRST Robotics. Outside of his work in media, Ryan is passionate about environmental sustainability and music.

Rocco Famiglietti


Rocco graduated from Hofstra University this past December with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently working as a design engineer at Curtiss-Wright in Farmingdale. He joined this team because he's always had a passion in aeronautics and astronautics and is honored to have an opportunity to gain experience in these fields.

Nicholas Florio


Nick is a rising senior Electrical Engineering major at Villanova University with a track in high frequency electronics. He hopes to use his engineering degree to contribute to innovations in space exploration and our world. Nick joined the team to learn and share in the same creative mindset as his teammates. Nick is currently the Co-Lead of Power Systems & Integration for Rutgers’ STAR CubeSat team and this summer he is a Design Engineering Intern in Antenna Systems at Harris Corporation.

Mohamed Moustafa


Mohamed is an Aerospace Engineering and Physics graduate from Wichita State University. He enjoys working on the intersection of aerospace and computer science. He joined Operation Space to do bold, daring things with like-minded individuals.

Keith Corso


Keith Corso is a finance major at Northeastern University. He is the President of Northeastern’s Entrepreneurs Club, Investment Analyst at IDEA, and Founder & CEO of BusRight. Keith is excited to prove that with the right people, anything is possible.

Jack Kiefer


Jack is a junior studying Computational Mathematics, Computer Science, Anthropology, and Physics at Utah State University. He has been heavily involved with SWE, AIAA, and USU's SmallSat and Rocketry teams. Fueled by a deep passion for space exploration and settlement, he joined Operation Space to "reach new heights."

Emerson Vargas Niño


Emerson has a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto and is a MASc candidate at the UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory, focusing on the design and optimization of Hall thrusters. He’s the rocket propulsion lead at the University of Toronto Aerospace Team where he’s developed hybrid rocket engines for over 4 years. Emerson joined Operation Space to push boundaries with like-minded individuals and inspire others to do the same.

Daniil Lisus


Daniil Lisus is a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student at McGill University in Canada. He has been helping build and launch rockets since his first year with the McGill Rocket Team and is very passionate about aerospace. He joined Operation Space to take on a new challenge and help take student led projects to a new level.

Bharvi M Chavre


Bharvi is a rising senior at G. W. Hewlett High School. She is the President of the Robotics Club and the business captain of FTC robotics team 7120 Bionica. Bharvi is excited to bring the business skills she learned at robotics to Operation Space. As a part of Operation Space, Bharvi hopes to inspire other teens to reach for the stars (pun intended)!

Connor Larson


Connor is a prospective Operations Research and Financial Engineering major with a strong side interest in rocketry and aviation. Connor is also a captain of Princeton’s Sailing Team and head of Operations for the University’s Model UN conference.

Vivek Vidyarthi


Vivek is currently an aerospace engineering undergraduate student at the School of Engineering at Rutgers University. He's involved with STAR, a club at Rutgers, where he works as the programming leaf of the weather balloon club.

Tarun Bandemegala


Tarun is a Senior Aerospace Engineering student at Wichita State University. He's led the WSU Chapter of AIAA and the local Astronomy club. His future interests lie in the field of Space Dynamics and Bioastronautics. He joined Operation Space to meet fellow explorers in his pursuit of Infinity and beyond.

Ryan Wong


Ryan is a sophomore at UC Berkeley with an intended major in Business Administration and Data Science. He serves as the Marketing Director for AFX and has consulted on companies such as JanSport. Ryan is extremely excited to help promote Operation Space nationwide and to show how a group of young individuals can come together to tackle such an amazing goal!

Kent Takada


Kent is a sophomore Mechanical Engineer at Cornell University. He joined Operation Space because he loves working in groups where every member has such a unique background. He has a strong passion for music and sports.