Out of This World: Alumni Engineers Help Make the Launch of SpaceShipOne Possible
IT WAS A DAY THAT STIRRED the imaginations of such luminaries as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin. They recently stood with a multitude of well-wishers and stargazers
to watch SpaceShipOne rocket into the sky from California’s Mojave Desert. The successful
second flight of the first private-venture craft to leave the earth’s atmosphere and enter space earned Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his team a prize of $10 million.
It was also a dream come true for four Seattle
Pacific University graduates and a group of SPU student interns. They developed
the Electronic Flight Information System (EFIS) that provided
critical state-of-the-art back-up for the spacecraft’s cockpit instrumentation.
Electrical engineer Nick Bogner ’00 at Dynon Avionics heads the team that built the EFIS. He was joined by Dynon colleagues and fellow alumni Bryce Schober ’01, Paul Dunscomb
’01, and J.R. Willett ’02. SPU student summer interns also helped along the way.
Bogner, who was in on the project from the beginning, has worked
at Dynon for four years. He is energized that space is now within
reach of the common man. “The greatest thing about technology is that it makes more things accessible
to more people,” he says. “Even space travel is now a possibility for people other than government
Soon after Bogner began work at Dynon, SPU Director of Engineering
Anthony Donaldson invited Dynon’s president, John Torode, to the Greater Seattle Community Breakfast hosted by Seattle Pacific. The businessman told Donaldson how impressed he was with Bogner.
Since that time, Torode has almost exclusively
hired engineers and interns from SPU.
“God uses prepared people,” says Donaldson.
“Our engineers are called to serve, and their contributions continually bear fruit. They represent
the University so well that one San Diego company just decided to relocate to Seattle to have direct access to our graduates.”
Bogner says it was his yearlong senior project at SPU — designing a sophisticated controller for a saltwater reef aquarium — that gave him the experience and the confidence
to tackle something out of this world.
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