Memorials for SET Mentors

Space Environment Technologies acknowledges mentors who have contributed to the success of our company. We are greatly appreciative of their insights and assistance to our community.

Dick Donnelly

Richard F. Donnelly (March 26, 1937-August 19, 2009) was a mentor of Space Environment Technologies. He graduated from Washington High School and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois.

Dick did research in ionospheric and solar-terrestrial physics at the Boulder Labs for 30 years. He liked to say that they paid him for doing his hobby. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Dick was instrumental in organizing the SOLar Electromagnetic Radiation Study for cycle 22 (SOLERS22) and published the “Proceedings of the Workshop on the Solar Electromagnetic Radiation Study for Solar Cycle 22” in July 1992 through NOAA ERL.

Dick played a key role in the history of Space Environment Technologies. Both Tobiska (SET President and Space Weather Division Chief Scientist) and Bouwer (Space Weather Division Chief Engineer) worked for Dick at NOAA ERL SEL in the 1980’s.

Under Dick’s guidance, they developed major indices now operationally used by the space weather community including the GOES 0.1-0.8 nm background index, the NOAA Mg II core-to-wing ratio index, and the SERF2 solar flux model, which was the precursor to SOLAR2000 and later SIP. These indices and solar irradiances were originally developed under Dick’s mentorship and now provide flare irradiances and indices for major operational space weather systems. Some of these are the JB2008 thermospheric density model that provides the most accurate specification of densities for satellite operations. CAPS and, soon, GAIM, incorporate information from these irradiances and indices that serve alerts and warnings to aviation and emergency responder HF communication users.

Bill Atwell

William Atwell (May 03, 1939-October 11, 2019) was a Senior Research Scientist of Space Environment Technologies. He was an internationally-recognized expert in the field of radiation physics that includes space radiation environments (geomagnetically-trapped Van Allen radiation, solar proton events, and galactic cosmic radiation), radiation effects on humans and onboard electronics/avionics systems, spacecraft and satellite 3-D CAD modeling and shielding analysis, development and use of high-energy particle transport/dose codes, active and passive detectors/dosimetry, and space radiation mission support (late Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, ASTP, Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station programs). Bill’s career covered 42 years with The Boeing Company, Houston, TX, and he retired as a high-level Boeing Technical Fellow in June 2014 and immediately joined SET.

During his career he was a Co-Investigator on a number of NASA and ESA experiments. He mentored MS/PhD students at Colorado State University, University of Southern California, University of Maryland, and Texan A & M University, and he served on the University of Houston-Clear Lake Physics Advisory Board for several years. In addition, he had over 300 scientific and technical publications and presentations. He had an MS and BS from Indiana State University (Major: Physics/Math with an English minor) and did his PhD work in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Florida.

He participated actively and fully in our community’s effort to improve safety for crew and passengers in the aviation radiation arena. For example, his shielding studies for the ARMAS program, his contributions to the NASA SAFESKY LWS Institute, his attendance at the annual Space Weather Workshop in Boulder (including his infamous late night “heater” sessions with some new cigar), his push to fly dosimeters on commercial suborbital spacecraft, and his role in assimilating measurements with models through the NASA LWS RADIAN project are a short, recent list.

Darrell Judge

Darrell L. Judge (November 02, 1934-August 26, 2014) was a professor emeritus of physics and astronomy and of astronautical engineering at the University of Southern California. He was an expert in the fields of spectroscopy, space science and solar physics, and was the founding director of the USC Space Sciences Center.

Following graduate school at USC Dornsife in the mid-1960s, Judge taught in the Department of Physics and Astronomy for 48 years. One of his greatest legacies is the USC Space Sciences Center (SSC), which he founded in 1978 to create new and multidisciplinary research opportunities for scientists and students. He was director of SSC from its inception in 1978 until his retirement in May 2013. Some of his most notable contributions include experiments flown on Pioneer 10 and 11 and the SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) spacecraft (a collaboration between NASA and the ESA).

In the early 2000’s Judge worked closely with Space Environment Technologies to evolve the solar irradiance measurements from his SOHO SEM instrument into the current JB2008 S10 index that dramatically improved specification of the Earth’s upper atmosphere densities. Leonid Didkovsky became the successor Director of SSC following Judge’s retirement and Didkovsky continues to play a major role in designing and developing SET instrumentation, particularly for the ARMAS program. Seth Wieman, also part of SSC under Judge, continues to contribute importantly to SET’s ARMAS mechanical systems development. Kevin Judge, son of Darrell Judge, has long worked with SET to create the firmware capability for ARMAS.

Charles Barth

Charles A. Barth (July 12, 1930-October 14, 2014) was director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder from 1965 to 1992 and professor until 2002 in CU-Boulder’s Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. He remained involved in research activities through 2013.

Barth was a pioneer in developing space-borne ultraviolet spectrometers, small spacecraft platforms, and planetary exploration systems. Under his guidance, science instruments were sent to every planet in the solar system. He was involved in many NASA missions, including 59 sounding rocket flights; Mariners 5, 6, 7, and 9; OGO 2, 4, 5, and 6; AE C and D; Apollo 17; Pioneer Venus; Galileo; and Cassini. As Principal Investigator, Barth led the Solar Mesospheric Explorer (SME) and Student Nitric Oxide Explorer (SNOE) missions that were operated from LASP.

Since the late 1950s, Barth studied planetary atmospheres, including Earth’s upper and middle atmosphere. He was among the first to recognize the importance of nitric oxide in Earth’s upper atmosphere, and its significance to ozone and water vapor. Of 140 published papers, 25 percent addressed nitric oxide, including his last published paper in 2010.

He was primary adviser for 22 Ph.D. students at CU-Boulder and inspired countless undergraduates in science and engineering with his commitment to hands-on education and training. Well-recognized for his research and teaching, his awards include the AGU Nicolet Lecture (1999), NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal (1983), University of Colorado Robert L. Stearns Award (1979), and NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1972).

In the 1980’s Barth was the primary PhD dissertation advisor for SET’s founder, W. Kent Tobiska, and helped Tobiska develop a solid foundation in solar and atmospheric physics that carried into the formation of SET in 2001. Barth developed the concept for the Solar Mesosphere Explorer (SME), which was the first university built and run NASA satellite. Tobiska worked on the SME project during his initial graduate work in the early 1980’s.