From left to right: Tony Busalacchi, Tim James, Aleta Jackson, Dan DeLong, Jeff Greason
Jeff Greason has over 25 years’ experience managing innovative technical project teams at XCOR Aerospace, Rotary Rocket and Intel Corporation, and now as CEO of Agile Aero. As president and co-founder of XCOR, he led the engineering team that developed over 14 different long-life, highly-reusable liquid-fueled rocket engines. He has also worked on a low-cost liquid propellant piston pump, and two manned reusable rocket aircraft - the EZ-Rocket and the X-Racer, which broke all previous barriers for low cost and rapid reflight of rocket vehicles with 66 successful flights between them.
Jeff is a recognized expert in reusable launch vehicle (RLV) regulations. He has been a member of the COMSTAC RLV working group since 2000 and presently serves on the full COMSTAC, and he was integral in the first spaceport license at an airport, in Mojave, California, and the first spaceport license at a scheduled air service airport, in Midland, Texas. He was one of the architects of the regulatory policy embodied in the 2004 Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act; following which he co-founded the trade association for the commercial space industry, now the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. He also recently took over as Chairman of the Board at the Tau Zero foundation, a non-profit group working towards practical interstellar transportation technologies.
In 2009 he was named by the White House to a panel of independent experts that examined alternatives for advancing the United States’ human space exploration agenda. Chaired by Normal Augustine, the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee examined ongoing and planned NASA activities and present options for a safe, innovative, affordable, and sustainable human space flight program after the retirement of the space shuttle. He has remained active in national space transportation policy and has given several widely circulated speeches on the subject.
Greason was cited by Time magazine in 2001 as one of the “Inventors of the Year” for his team’s work on the EZ-Rocket. In 2016 the National Space Society awarded him the Space Pioneer Award for Entrepreneurial Business. Mr. Greason holds 25 U.S. patents. He graduated with honors from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and currently lives in Midland, Texas.
Dan DeLong is Chief Engineer at Agile Aero. Prior to joining Agile Aero, he co-founded XCOR in September 1999, where served as Chief Engineer and Vice President. He was design lead for all new hardware development including four generations of rocket engines, the propulsion installation in the EZ-Rocket (a Long-EZ airplane owned and flown by DeLong before it was modified for rocket propulsion) and X-Racer, and propellant pump hardware.
DeLong was a co-founder of Rotary Rocket Company in 1997, where he was engineering lead in developing a 5,000 lb thrust high pressure rocket engine, and the rotating disc propellant pump/vehicle base heat shield assembly.
Prior to joining RRC, DeLong was half owner and president of Eureka Design, Inc., where he designed, built, and tested the fast acting cavitating venturi throttling hardware for the Kistler Aerospace K-0 rocket engine. From 1989 to 1994 he was a principal engineer with Boeing Missiles and Space Division. He was lead engineer for Boeing’s Life Support Systems Internal Research and Development program. He also served as an engineering analyst in the Life Support group developing Space Station air and water recycling systems.
He worked for Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville, Alabama, from 1984 to 1989, where he developed the Spaceplane and Frequent Flyer air-launched orbital vehicle designs. From 1978 through 1983, he was at Perry Oceanographics where he was the project engineer on a U.S. Navy contract to develop a closed-cycle internal combustion engine needed to power a small submersible. He was lead mechanical engineer developing Perry’s RECON III remotely piloted vehicle, its tether tender, and deck handling system.
From 1974 to 1978, DeLong was an underwater equipment designer for Westinghouse Ocean Research & Engineering Division. He did detail design work on the emergency life support equipment on board the U.S. Navy’s Turtle and Sea Cliff submersibles.
DeLong has an Engineering degree from Cornell University, and is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), American Society for Metals (ASM), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA, past president of the Huntsville, AL chapter), and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
Loretta 'Aleta' Jackson has over 40 years’ experience in the aerospace community, starting with electronics research and prototype development with McDonnell Douglas on the Gemini program. She has been chief researcher for several small electronics and engineering firms in Tucson, Arizona. Some of the projects she has worked on include Manned Orbiting Laboratory, StarTracker, the Tomahawk cruise missile program, Strategic Defense Initiative Organization and the Delta Clipper/Clipper Graham DC-X.
For over ten years Aleta served as editor of the Journal of Practical Applications in Space. Her articles have been published in the Washington Post, Analog and technical magazines.
In September, 1999, she was one of the founders of XCOR Aerospace, the others being Jeff Greason, Dan DeLong and Doug Jones.
Aleta passed away from an illness in December 2016, but will always be one of our founders and an inspiration for our team.
Antonio 'Tony' Busalacchi III earned his degree in Physical Science with a concentration in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland where he also participated in graduate level research at the Space Power and Propulsion Lab. With an interest in alternative propulsion systems, his research focused on plasma technologies and included such diverse projects as a superconducting helicon thruster, dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuators, and nanoparticle generation using helicon plasma.
Before graduating he interned at the Consumer Product Safety Commission. There, he helped design and build a large cyclic load tester for testing fatigue stress and failure on numerous household items such as ATVs, chairs and baby cribs.
After graduation he joined Jeff, Dan, and Aleta at XCOR as a mechanical design engineer. He worked primarily on designing structural components of the Lynx launch vehicle including the windscreen, seat belts, and landing gear. Having an interest in photography and videography, he also became an indispensable part of XCOR’s rocket engine testing team. Combining his talents for testing and design, he became the lead design and test engineer for the Lynx landing gear.
Tim James is the team’s native Midlander. For the past 5 years he has worked as an engineer in the oil and gas industry where he specialized in the design of natural gas compression systems and surface production facilities. Multi-disciplined by nature, he also developed expertise in advanced automation programming, electrical system design, and motion control during this time.
He graduated with Highest Honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering specializing in material science. Participating heavily in the collegiate Formula SAE program, he gained design and fabrication experience with advanced metal alloys as well as carbon, glass and aramid fiber reinforced polymer composites. The FSAE program also helped hone his skills as a machinist, TIG welder, and CNC operator.
Having always had a passion for aerospace technology, Tim began looking for career opportunities in the industry, during which time he met Jeff, Dan, and Aleta. He turned down several offers from established aerospace companies operating in Texas to instead join the Agile Aero team.