Aphelion Aerospace was founded in early 2019 by a group of new and experienced aerospace engineers.
Miguel has more than 20 years of experience in engineering, leadership, and management of multidisciplinary engineering teams developing aircraft, launch vehicles, spacecraft, and associated ground support equipment in high-profile government and commercial space programs. Miguel is passionate about contributing to groundbreaking innovations in space exploration and aerospace transportation.
With the intent of becoming an effective well-rounded leader, he has devoted his entire career to gaining a broad background in engineering and leadership, encompassing: small startups and large corporations; design, analysis, test, and manufacturing; propulsion, structures, mechanisms, and thermofluid systems; technical leadership; project and people management. Previous programs include ULA Vulcan rocket at Belcan, Orion spacecraft and A2100 satellites at Lockheed Martin, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets at SpaceX, aircraft GNC at L3Harris, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 aircraft engines and ISS habitat module at Honeywell, and NASA Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster processing at Northrop Grumman.
Miguel holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA. He also holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University.
Matthew Travis studied at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, IL for Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering and Computer Science. At this time, he was also employed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. While there, he developed applications in C++ and Java. Create shared libraries in C/C++ that were callable from Java, in support of the Habanero object-sharing and collaboration project. Performed debugging and Q/A for the NCSA Mosaic web browser development team.
In 2003, he founded the Aerospace Research & Engineering Systems Institute near Kennedy Space Center, FL, to promote space exploration and STEM education with hands-on projects. Projects include the development of an experimental cubesat and research into new chemical propulsion technologies for space launch vehicles. He was deeply involved with the development of the organization’s projects. The projects included web-based mission simulation and real-time control, hardware-in-the-loop testing and educational media websites.
From 2003 to 2017, along with managing the non-profit organization, Mr. Travis worked on multiple space missions in various capacities with NASA, USAF and the commercial launch industry. His roles varied from engineering to media relations.
Mr. Travis co-founded Aphelion Orbitals in early 2017 and assumed the Chief Operating Officer role. He led a team of 10 employees developing a dedicated nanosatellite launch service and cubesat ecosystem. In close collaboration with the other founders, he helped secure Seed funding from Angel investors that enabled the company to grow rapidly. Aphelion Orbitals established a research & development facility in New Jersey, brought a line of cubesat systems to market, participated in the DARPA Launch Challenge and successfully demonstrated a flight-scale propulsion system.”
Mr. Travis founded and transitioned to Phoenix Launch Systems in 2019 to continue development of the launch system and build out the company’s business relationships, supply chain and international network of partners. During this time, he negotiated MOU’s with potential customers, executed an agreement for future launches from the Kodiak, Alaska spaceport and agreements with other potential spaceports, test locations and manufacturing partners. Also during this period, Mr. Travis led the company’s participation in the 2019 NewSpace Business Plan Competition and, significantly, participation in the 2020 U.S. Air Force AFWERX EngageSpace program. At the same time, he led the effort to ensure the company would survive the COVID-19 global pandemic. As a result, Phoenix Launch System was well-positioned for rapid growth at the end of 2020.
In early 2021, the company reorganized and rebranded as Aphelion Aerospace, where Mr. Travis is currently Chief Operating Officer. He is working with the leadership team to establish new headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado, build out R&D infrastructure, continue propulsion system and launch vehicle development. He is also actively involved with fundraising planning and execution and growth initiatives.
Engineer with satellite design experience contributing to General Atomics’ MAIA and ARGOS-4.
Rocket propulsion experience in experimental hybrid rocket engine technology in an academic setting and launch vehicle trajectory analysis at Ayala engineering.
Eduardo holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with experience in mechanical design and testing. His experience includes automotive developmental testing for DoD programs and research for General Motors through the University of Colorado.
Computer science student at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Interested in guidance systems.
Strategic & Technical Advisors
Team of highly accomplished former aerospace industry leaders & entrepreneurs
25+ years developing non-toxic, non-cryogenic thrusters & rocket engines
20+ years in artificial intelligence & digital technologies
Board of Advisors
José has over 31 year’s experience in cutting edge high-technology endeavors. Beginning in 1987 thru 1999, José served at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where he worked on a variety of projects including the development of a space deployed X-Ray laser as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative. He co-developed the first full-field digital mammography system for the earlier detection of breast cancer and he served as the Deputy Program Manager of the Highly Enriched Uranium Implementation program. In 1999, José was invited to the Department of Energy Headquarters in Washington DC to serve as the Laboratory’s Program Manager in the Office of International Material Protection and Cooperation.
In 2001, José joined the NASA Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas where he worked as the Branch Chief of the Materials and Processes Branch. There he oversaw the branch’s activities in the areas of materials and processes, fracture control, nondestructive evaluation, failure analysis, and Nanomaterials research. José was selected by NASA as a member of the 19th class of astronauts in 2004. After completing his training, he was selected as the flight engineer for the 14-day STS-128 Space Shuttle mission and flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station.
After STS-128, José was assigned to work at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. where he served as a Legislative Analyst and helped in the development of space policy, NASA’s annual budget package and served as liaison with key Congressional members. Additional duties included the development of an effective strategy that promoted the President’s new vision on Space Exploration.
Today, in addition to his position on the Board of Advisors of Aphelion Aerospace, José works as a consultant within the company he founded in 2012, Tierra Luna Engineering, LLC. Here, he works on his areas of interest that include aerospace consulting, renewable energy, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) outreach.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was also awarded 7 honorary doctorate degrees including from his alma mater, the University of the Pacific.
NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager & NASA Space Shuttle Assistant Launch Director
Business Management Director at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab
VP Product Management of 5G, Digital Transformation, Data Science, Robotics, AI Technologies at Deutsche Telekom