Technical Experience

TWAI, Burlington, MA – October 2016 to Present

Senior Scientist responsible for the development and evaluation of remote sensing applications and  techniques for use on high altitude platforms.

Visidyne, Inc., Burlington, MA – July 1992 to Present

Senior Project Scientist in Visidyne’s Applied Physics Group specializing in the acquisition and analysis of remote sensing data from air- and space-based platforms. Experienced in all aspects of science projects including proposal preparation, experiment planning, instrument design and specification, observation program execution as well as data processing, analysis and report preparation. Participated in a number of space projects including CIRRIS 1A, IBSS, MSTI 3, MSX and RAMOS

Currently responsible for the acquisition and analysis of orbital imagery for the assessment of stereographic techniques to determine the altitudes of clouds as part of the  CyMISS (Cyclone Intensity Measurement from the ISS) project whose goal is to determine the strength of powerful tropical cyclones such as hurricanes. Worked with the crew the ISS to acquire photography needed for this project and received the 2017 Innovation in Earth Science and Remote Sensing Award for this work from CASIS which manages the ISS National Laboratory for NASA.

Principle Investigator on U.S. science team for Stereo Experiment in the joint U.S.-Russian RAMOS program.  Also provided support in data reduction and all aspects of experiment planning and mission design for the U.S. contribution to this program.

Other accomplishments include:

The development of stereo imaging and analysis techniques using Earth orbiting satellite data.


Analysis of pathfinder aircraft- and spacecraft-based IR and polarization imagery in support of RAMOS project instrument and experiment development.


Coordinate modeling and simulation efforts.


Played lead role in developing detailed experiment plans.


Lead member of science team in developing and negotiating instrument and spacecraft requirements with Russian and American engineering teams.


Have also gathered and disseminated information on Russian space-based remote sensing assets, capabilities, and instruments for U.S. program managers to support RAMOS project planning.

A complete bibliography of RAMOS-related work can be found here

Responsible for the development of optical data reduction and  processing software as well as a key contributor in the system design, experiment planning and operation of the portable SAM  (Solar Aureole Measurement) designed to measure cloud and atmospheric aerosol properties by observing the Sun.  Was Project Manager and lead scientist for several field measurement campaigns employing SAM and other instruments responsible for experiment design, managing teams in the field, analysis of data and preparation of reports.

A complete bibliography of SAM-related work can be found here

Key contributions to other major projects include:

The development of image reconstruction algorithms for novel synthetic aperture/adaptive optics telescope concepts.


Reduction, noise removal and analysis of photometer and spectrometer data acquired by EXCEDE III sounding rocket flight of April 27, 1990.


The development of computer simulations needed to support engineering studies of various laser-based ranging and scannerless 3D imaging concepts for commercial and defense applications.

Digital Equipment Corp., Andover, MA – July 1987 to July 1992

Senior Hardware Engineer in DEC’s Advance Test Technology Group.  Was Project Manager and key technical support for in-house effort to develop optical and laser plasma-based methods for non-contact interconnect verification of PWBs (Printed Wire Boards) and similar devices.

Received total of seven patents in U.S., Europe, and Japan for the development of these new technologies:

Laser Activated Plasma Chamber for Non-Contact Testing, U.S. Patent No. 5,202,623 issued April 13, 1993


Test Cell for Non-Contact Open/Shorts Testing of Electrical Circuits, U.S. Patent No. 5,032,788 issued July 16, 1991, European Patent No. 409,398, Japanese Patent No. 3,037,578


Method and Apparatus for Non-Contact Opens/Shorts Testing of Electrical Circuits, U.S. Patent Number 4,970,461 issued November 13, 1990; European Patent No. 405,737, Japanese Patent No. 3,135,778


In addition to these accomplishments:

Responsible for the Advance Test Technology Group’s optics, machine vision and computer imaging needs for prototype manufacturing and testing.


Appointed as Andover site laser safety officer.


Served as a permanent member of several internal technical committees charged with evaluating new test technologies and directing research as part of joint programs with area universities such as the University of Massachusetts – Lowell and RPI of Troy, NY.

Visidyne, Inc., Burlington, MA – January 1985 to July 1987

Scientist in Visidyne’s Experimental Research and Development Group.  Involved in a wide variety of projects for the development of X-ray and infrared optical instrumentation for space-based applications.  Accomplishments included:

Developed image processing, restoration algorithms and software needed to support the development and evaluation of a variable MTF imaging system.


Responsible for IR optical design of variable MTF imaging system flight-prototype.


Developed manufacturing and testing techniques and used them to fabricate prototype X-ray mirror arrays for Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s LAMAR telescope intended for use as a Space Shuttle payload.


Evaluated the effects of manufacturing defects on the performance of thin foil X-ray reflectors of the type used on the BBXRT flown on NASA’s Astro 1 Space Shuttle mission flown in December 1990.

Other Experience:

Freelance Writer – March 1990 to present

Freelance writer specializing in astronomy, astrobiology and the history of spaceflight with over 300 contributions to books, websites and print magazines including Scientific American and Sky & Telescope. Currently a regular contributor to Centauri Dreams and The Space Review.

Also maintains the Drew Ex Machina website which regularly posts essays on various space-related topics with over 100,000 unique visitors annually.

A complete bibliography is available here.


Concord-Carlisle Adult & Community Education Program, Concord, MA – September 1996 to December 2001

Instructor for popular-level course, Astronomy for Beginners.


Helmers Publishing, Inc, Peterborough, NH – June 1995 to September 1998

Member of the Editorial Board of SETIQuest Magazine.  Regular contributor of popular level articles and technical publication reviews on astronomy, astrobiology, and SETI.

A complete listing with access to these contributions to SETIQuest Magazine can be found here.


BS Physics with minor in Optics, 1985, University of Lowell


University of Lowell Physics Department – Summer 1984

Responsible for the reduction of meteorological data and the development of data visualization software. This work served as the basis of an article, “Searching for Patterns of Rainfall in a Storm”, that appeared in the Amateur Scientist column in the January 1985 issue of Scientific American. The article can be accessed on line here.


University of Lowell Research Foundation – Summer 1982

Assembled, tested and modified high-vacuum systems for use on 7.5 MeV particle accelerator as well as designed and constructed monitoring and timing circuits for vacuum pump cryogenic condensers.


Other Achievements

Presented paper on original research, “Population Changes in Nearby Stars”, at a national meeting cosponsored by the National Society of Physics Students and the American Vacuum Society in November 1983.

Received The Bendix Award in 1983 for project on “The Development of a IR Laser Diode System for Studies in Optical Non-Linearity”.

Vice President of local chapter of the Society of Physics Students 1982-83, President 1983-84 and Zone 1 New England Associate Councillor 1984-85.