Archive for August 2020

Giorgio Coraluppi and Michael Hockenberry — Compunetix

August 26, 2020 @ 10:24 am

In this episode:


We meet Dr. Giorgio Coraluppi, President of Compunetix, Inc. and subsidiaries, and Michael Hockenberry, Vice President and Federal Systems Division Manager of Compunetix, Inc.


In 1987, Compunetix won a contract to deliver a digital voice switching system for NASA Goddard that would accommodate the agency’s range of communication needs. At the time, the agency was using an analog system requiring the manual switching of cables. Compunetix integrated their patented algorithm into the NASA infrastructure, developing two new digital systems for voice switching and voice distribution — allowing software-enabled switching, and eliminating the need for manual switching.


By 1992, the new 4,000-port system had been installed, and eventually entirely replaced NASA’s previous system. Following that, Compunetix developed a commercial version of the technology, and today, the Compunetix bridge hardware is used by nearly every major conference call provider. The technology was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2020.


Dr. Giorgio Coraluppi received his doctorate in electrical engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in 1958. He served in the Italian Armed Forces, worked for the Electronic Research Laboratory of Olivetti, American Optical Company, and Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since founding Compunetix, Inc. in 1968, he has been president of the company and its subsidiaries.


Michael Hockenberry has been an integral part of Compunetix for over 32 years. He was hired in 1988 as a design engineer on the NASA Goddard Voice Switching System (VSS). He also developed the conferencing module for the company’s first commercial conferencing systems, the CONTEX 240 and 480. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Pennsylvania State University.


In this conversation, Dr. Coraluppi and Hockenberry discuss the company’s guiding philosophy, their experiences at NASA working on the VSS, the role that Compunetix played in Command Center communications following the 9/11 tragedies, and the hardware they developed for IBM’s “Deep Blue,” the computer that challenged world chess champion Garry Kasparov. In recalling his experiences working on the VSS at NASA as a young engineer, Hockenberry says, “I got to see images coming down from Hubble that nobody else in the world got to see yet, just by being there at that time. It was a very interesting environment.”


To learn more about Compunetix, visit


Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space Foundation, Space4U, Space Technology · Comments

Meredith Garofalo – WeatherNation

August 12, 2020 @ 8:11 am

In this episode:


We meet Meredith Garofalo, an award-winning Certified Broadcast Meteorologist who is part of the team at the WeatherNation TV network. She’s also co-chair of the AMS Station Scientist Committee, which focuses on raising greater awareness and outreach to promote science education for the community. She has earned a bachelor's degree in Meteorology from Valparaiso University, and a Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society.


In this conversation, Meredith talks about what inspired her to become a meteorologist, how she feels that space is important to her profession, and some of the most challenging aspects of forecasting weather. She also shares how important mentors were in inspiring her to follow her career path, the ways that space weather can affect our weather here on Earth, and she recalls her on-location coverage of severe weather events like Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Debby.


Discussing the common misconceptions that people have about meteorologists, Meredith says, “Yes, sometimes we’re not going to be right. And a lot of times when we’re not right, we’ll be able to go back and look at what happened and be able to explain, and there are going to be those times where maybe we can’t explain, because it’s an area that we’re still learning stuff from daily.”


To learn more about WeatherNation visit


Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space Foundation, Space4U, meteorology · Comments

Jason Held – Saber Astronautics

August 5, 2020 @ 8:10 am

In this episode:


We meet Jason Held, CEO of Saber Astronautics, a mission control operations software and services company, with locations in Sydney, Australia, and Boulder, Colorado, USA. Prior to founding Saber, Jason was a Major in the U.S. Army's USSTRATCOM (Space Command) during which time he served as an active-duty engineer at Army Space and Missile Command Battle Lab. Later, as a civilian, he wrote flight software for the Hubble Space Telescope and testing for the International Space Station. He has lectured for the IRS Space Station Design Workshop, the University of New South Wales, and the International Space University. He also led a research expedition in the high Canadian Arctic, and he has served on the Australian government's Expert Reference Group designing their space agency.


In this conversation Jason explains how his passion for space began in childhood, yet he felt space jobs were inaccessible due to his academic struggles. He details how he believes that the perceived hurdles to space jobs can be overcome to achieve the democratization of space. He also discusses the capabilities of Saber's PIGI satellite tracking software, and how Saber partnered with an Australian craft brewery to create a recipe and drinking vessel that allows beer to be consumed in space.


In describing his feelings about the democratization of space, Jason says, “Space is something that anybody can do. You know, if someone like myself, with the history I had on the academic side can pull into it, I think anybody can... So, the more exposure that you have to it at a young age, the more you’re going to be ready for the markets that are going to come up, and the space jobs that are going to come up in 10 to 20 years’ time.”


To learn more about Saber Astronautics, visit


Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, Space Technology · Comments

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