HomeKey PeopleContact UsFacilitiesNewsPublicationsSpace Elevator HistoryAdvanced AircraftAdvanced SpacecraftSpace Debris RemovalLunar DevelopmentLow-Cost Launch

Position:  Senior Engineer, STAR, Inc.


Education:  B.A., Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1975; M.S., Engineering Geoscience, University of California, Berkeley, 1976



  • 1999-Present:  Senior Engineer, STAR, Inc.
  • 1991-1999:  President, Threshold Technologies.  GPS system analysis and design.  Propulsion consulting.  Consulting work on space tether projects with Tether Applications, including major involvement in first successful and cost effective space tether deployment--20 km SEDS-1 tether, and PMG electrodynamic tether.
  • 1986-1999:  Senior Engineer, Energy Science Laboratories, Inc.  Project Engineer on several projects, including non-eroding nozzle for chemical rockets, cooled composite nozzle design for VentureStar linear aerospike engine, and Stirling engine regenerator.  Work on several other propulsion projects, including photolyzable substrates for space applications, transpiration cooled rocket engines, arcjet anode, and solar thermal receiver design.  Engineering work on advanced space propulsion concepts, including tethers, liquid rocket tankage and low cost small launch vehicle systems.
  • 1984-1985:  Technical Manager, Automation and Robotics Panel, California Space Institute, Univ. of Calif. San Diego Applications of Automation and Robotics to the NASA Space Station Program.
  • 1982-1984:  Owner, Oldson Astronautics.  Consulting on advanced space propulsion, External Tank uses in orbit, and programming.
  • 1979-1980:  Project Manager, Lunar Liquid Oxygen Plant Design Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley Preliminary design of oxygen extraction and liquefaction plant for propellant supply on the Moon.
  • 1977-1981:  Staff Scientist, Marine Sciences Group, Lawrence Berkeley Lab.  Marine geophysics and data analysis, primarily in support of the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion project, Dept. of Energy.


Selected publications:
"Investigation of a Photolyzable Substrate for Solar Sails."
  T.R. Knowles and J. Oldson.  Report on JPL PO#1205501, July 1999.
"Microtruss Composite Sails".  T.R. Knowles, J. Oldson,
  P. Lieu.  Paper presented at 10th Advanced Space Propulsion Workshop,
  MSFC, April 1999.
"Non-Eroding PCM Composite Nozzle". T.R. Knowles and J. Oldson.
  Final Report to USAF Phillips Lab, PL-TR-95-3007, December 1996.
"Tethers for Small Satellite Applications," J.A. Carroll and
  J. Oldson.  Paper presented at 1995 AIAA/USU Small Satellite Conf.,
  Logan, UT.
"Potential Launch Cost Savings of a Tether Transport Facility,"
  J. Oldson and J.A. Carroll, AIAA 95-2895  Paper presented at Joint
  Propulsion Conference, San Diego, July 1995,
"The Gluhareff Pressure Jet," J. Oldson, AIAA 94-2825, Paper
  presented at Joint C Propulsion Conf., Indianapolis, June 1994.
"Pulsed Single-Blow Regenerator Testing" J. C. Oldson, T. R.
  Knowles, and J. Rauch, 27th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering
  Conf. Proc, Vol    , pp. 5.399-5.403.
"Composite Regenerator for Stirling Engine," Energy Science Laboratories,
  Inc., Phase I Final Report, SBIR Contract NO. NAS3-25886, for NASA Lewis
  Research Center, August 1990.  Timothy R. Knowles, Principal Investigator;
  John Oldson, Project Engineer
Final Report on SEDS Experiment Design Definition Contract NAS8-37380,"
  Joseph A. Carroll, Charles M. Alexander, and John C. Oldson, February 1990.
"Improved Efficiency Electric Propulsion for Orbit Transfer Missions,"
  Contract Final Report for Air Force Astronautics Laboratory, John Oldson,
  Principal Investigator, Energy Science Laboratories, Inc., 1988.