Name: Todd Mendenhall

Role: Theoretical Project Lead – Prime job consists of attempting to herd the cats. Second task is to try and keep the all-volunteer group learning and having fun.

Background: MSME from UCLA, BSME from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The bulk of my practical controls experience comes from participating in the design, manufacture, testing and on-orbit checkout of three satellites. The bulk of my mechanical experience comes from the design, construction and maintenance of combat robots built for Robot Wars, Robotica and BattleBots. Basically, I learned from being around a lot of smart people.

Description:  The BFD program has completely consumed my life for the past several months. If it wasn’t for my highly supportive wife, I would have gone “postal” long ago. In fact, it would have probably been so bad that after my actions, people would threaten to go “TerraHawk”. After this is over, I want to get back to more benign tinkering.

Name: Valerie Mendenhall

Role: Wife Raft (aka Life Raft)  general support and encourager to my husband, Todd, in his role as team lead.  I also occasionally serve in a minor systems engineering capacity, financial data entry, data management, and more often Chief Food Provider for the team (to include dessert!)

Background: B.S.E.E., B.S. in Physics, B.S. in Mathematics, M.S. in Optics 5 years experience at TRW as an optical engineer 10 years experience at TRW/Northrop Grumman as a systems engineer 2 years experience at Northrop Grumman in program management 1.5 years experience at Terabeam as a systems engineer.

Description: Valerie highly values her degree and work experience in optical engineering, but appreciates having broadened into systems engineering.  As a systems engineer, shes been challenged by working on many large optical systems for NASA and the Department of Defense.  She also has experience working in a small free space optical communications company.  Valeries scarce free time is spent on volunteer activities (which have taken her to Cambodia to see firsthand how a non-profit relief organization works, i.e., World Vision) and pursuing non-technical, creative pursuits – quilting, scrapbooking and rubber stamping among them.  She loves documenting BFD development process because it gives her an excuse to use her digital SLR camera!

Name: Denny Gudea

Role: writing software to fix broken hardware

Background: Computer Science from CSUF. Software Development for Northrop Grumman. Programs include Integrated Avionics, Orbital Express, TSAT, as well as “others”.

Description: When he is not writing software for spacecraft during the day and not writing software for the BFD during the night, he enjoys sleeping. Other hobbies include anything which involve going fast and risking his life. Including, but not limited to snowboarding, kiteboarding, being chased by the CHP.

Name: Greg Shreve

Role: Sensor Processing Architecture and Algorithms

Background: System engineering, signal processing algorithm development, electronic hardware engineering, and management for projects involving commuications, video, radar and other sensors.  Inventor  or co-inventor on 14 patents in radar signal processing, video and vision processing, applications of ultrawideband radar, and neural networks.  Education: MS, Electrical Engineering, 1976, Ohio State University. BS, Astronomy, 1974, Ohio State University.

Description: Used to take pictures using film.  Used to work in darkroom all night.  Used to dabble with electronic music and multitrack.  Used to drive Volkswagen bug.  Used to use Macintosh computer.  Used to do amateur radio.  Used to hike.  Used to ride bicycle.  Used to read science fiction.  Keeps up with science and space progress.  Boots up GPS for trips to Radio Shack.  Likes Star Trek.

Name: Jim Hart

Role: Im mainly involved in the electronic/electrical aspects of the project, building, fixing and wiring most everything that is required.  Having a mechanical background I can also fabricate.  My main job is to be sure the software group has something to write code for.

Background: Degree in mechanics, current day job is aerospace electronics test engineer.

Description: Typical gadget freak.  When not taking stuff apart to see how it works I enjoy landsailing, off-roading, computers and reading.  Thanks to Todd Mendenhall I\’ve also been involved in combat robotics.  Any spare time is spent sleeping.

Name: Mark Hardgrove

Role: Computing Systems, IT

Background: To be filled in.

Description: Mark has many traits. Including but not limited to getting his kids to do grunt work at the shop.



Name: Rob Sweeney

Role: Algorithm design and implementation

Background:Bachelor of Science – Worcester Polytechnic Institute – Mechanical Engineering – 2003. Master of Science – Worcester Polytechnic Institute – Mechanical Engineering – 2005. Currently employed in the Control Systems Department at Northrop Grumman.

Description: 28 year old New England native. Interests include pretty much anything outdoors, hiking, biking, flag football, soccer, skiing.

Name: Aaron Shumate

Role: GUI Software Development

Background: MS in EE. Currently working for Northrop Grumman in embedded flight software development.

Description: 32 years old. Originally from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Currently living in California. Data pack rat (6TB and growing). Native American. Eagle Scout. Star Trek fan. Very happily married to his bunny soul mate with two wonderful cats!!!


Name: Ken Sterk

Role: Algorithm Development, Machining, Fabrication and Assembly, Pizza Order, Cannon Fodder

Background: Undergrad and Masters at Cornell University in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. RoboCup World Champion (2002 and 2003). Currently employed at Northrop Grumman doing Controls/Algorithms Development. FIRST Robotics Mentor for Beach City Robotics since 2004.

Description: Likes to build stuff, tinker with stuff. break stuff. and do stuff.