The University of Southern California’s Rocket Propulsion Laboratory is an undergraduate research laboratory that designs, builds and tests experimental rocketry and propulsion hardware.


Engineering and Operations Team Members

 
 

KRISTJAN SALASOO
Chief Engineer & Chief Operating Officer
Kristjan oversees the overall design, construction and launch of each vehicle. In addition, he is responsible for directing the research, development and implementation of new flight technologies and manufacturing infrastructure. Kristjan has interned in the Process Engineering divison at SpaceX and is currently a junior working toward his B.S. in Astronautical Engineering.

 
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RYAN OLLIGES
Chief Composites Engineer & Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Ryan is responsible for ensuring RPL has the budget to continue its operations. As Chief Composites Engineer he implements new methods, techniques and materials for constructing RPL's advanced composite structures. Ryan has worked as a research assistant in the M.C. Gill Composites Center at USC and has launched his own composite skateboard company, 121C. Ryan is currently a junior working towards his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, with a minor in Entrepreneurship.

 
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KEVIN GERANEO
Chief Aerodynamics Engineer
Kevin is responsible for making sure RPL rockets go nowhere but up. He analyses the aerodynamic profile and flight conditions of each rocket to ensure they acheive maximum possible performance and stability. Outside of RPL, Kevin is an avid gamer and cook. He is currently a junior working towards his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering.

 
 
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BRAD HARTWIG
Chief Propulsion Engineer
As Chief Propulsion Engineer, Brad continues to lead the development of experimental propellant compositions and propellant manufacturing processes. Brad has worked in the Advanced Design group at Cessna’s McCauley Propeller Systems and is currently a senior working towards his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering.

 

MONICA NGUYEN
Chief Recovery Engineer
Many at RPL work to get the rocket off the ground in one piece up, but it is Monica's job to make sure it comes down in one. As Chief Recovery Engineer she is resposnible for designing and implementing the parachute deployment system which allows the vehicle to come back down to earth safely. Outside RPL, Monica researches shock wave mitigation in USC professor Dr. Veronica Eliasson's lab and serves as the External Vice President of the Student Coalition for Asian Pacific Empowerment. Monica is currently a junior working towards her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

 
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CARTER ALLEN
Chief Avionics Engineer & Chief Compliance Officer
As Chief Compliance Officer, Carter is responsible for ensuring that RPL is in compliance with all University, State and Federal regulations. His primary mission is to maintain a safe and healthy work enviornment and enforce the rules and best pratices towards acheiving that end. As Chief Avionics Engineer, Carter oversees the design, development and implmentation for the electronic systems on board each rocket. These systems which record and transmit flight data are vital to tracking and recovering RPL vehicles. Carter has interned at Blue Origin and is currently a sophomore working towards his B.S. in Astronautical Engineering.

 

ALLIE GEHRIS
Chief Propulsion Engineer & Chief Communications Officer
Ian is responsible for making sure the lab has everything it needs to maintain its cutting-edge level of technology. He has worked at Skybox Imaging, LLC where he was a Camera Systems Engineer Intern and responsible for the initial testing of flight cameras. Outside of RPL, he also enjoys hiking, biking, flying, and playing guitar. Ian is a senior working toward his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering.

 
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PRESTON FEGLEY
Chief Infrastructure Officer
Ian is responsible for making sure the lab has everything it needs to maintain its cutting-edge level of technology. He has worked at Skybox Imaging, LLC where he was a Camera Systems Engineer Intern and responsible for the initial testing of flight cameras. Outside of RPL, he also enjoys hiking, biking, flying, and playing guitar. Ian is a senior working toward his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering.

 

ROBERTO LOPEZ
Chief Resource Officer
As Chief Resource Officer, Roberto is responsible for making sure RPL has the right tools to get the job done. Roberto is also a member of the USC Lunar Colony Design Team; this team has published a proposal to NASA outlining a low-cost, large-scale, near term, sustainable colony. Outside of RPL, Roberto enjoys hiking, guitar, and stargazing. He is currently a Junior working towards his B.S. in Astronautical Engineering.

 
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TYLER AHLF
Chief Design Engineer
Tyler is responsible for the modeling and analysis of all RPL vehicles and ground support hardware. He continues to optomize each system for flight and ensure that each component will meet its required saftey and performance margin. Tyler has interned for United Launch Alliance (ULA) and works for Fluid Synchrony, a medical device startup developing implantable microfluidic drug delivery pumps. Tyler is currently a junior working towards his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. When he's not in the lab, Tyler can be found somewhere on Mammoth Mountain with the USC Ski and Snowboard Team.

 

Core Team Members

 

Nick Orenstein Ph.D. - ASTE

      Alex Coco       Jr. - ASTE

   Brad Hartwig    Jr. - AE

    Adam Rising    Jr. - EE

Brady Runyon  Jr. - ME

Brennan  Swanton  Jr. - EE

 

  Arren Yedikian  Jr. - AE

 Tyler Ahlf   Soph. - ME

 Preston Fegley  Soph. - AE

 Megan Frisk  Soph. - ASTE

 Allie Gehris  Soph. - ASTE

Roberto Lopez Soph. - ASTE

 

Merritt Opdycke  Soph. - ASTE

Adam Aitoumeziane  Fr. - ASTE

 Damian Balla   Fr. - ASTE

 Jacob Hogge   Fr. - ASTE

Skye Mceowen  Fr. - ASTE

Haley Karow          Fr. - ASTE