March 28th, 2016 

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM


At Casa del Mar 

1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, CA 90405 


What SPACEPORT LA  Is All About



Where Great Minds Reunite

Lectures. Networking. Workshops. Parties!

SPACEPORT LA is the home base for space enthusiasts, learners and professionals living in Los Angeles, California. Our goal is to advance space exploration by increasing public awareness and stimulating innovators to create new space startups in the Los Angeles area. Our members gather regularly to celebrate our passion in space, brainstorm, educate eachother and expand our networks. We also invite guest speakers to keep our knowledge up to date, communicate new breakthroughs and spur new ideas. 


MSL Flight Engineer and NASA's 'Mohawk Guy'


Although NASA’s mission control room was packed with dozens of rocket scientists during the landing of Mars Curiosity rover, no one made a bigger impression on live-television viewers than flight engineer Bobak Ferdowsi.

The Oakland native has become the star of NASA’s mission coverage, becoming an overnight internet sensation, thanks in large part to his stars-and-stripes, mohawk haircut and his ever-growing social media fan base.

Since his television debut in the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) mission control, he has become known as simply, ‘Mohawk Guy.’

Throughout the Mars rover landing, twitter hashtags such as ‘Mars Landing,’ ‘Mars Curiosity’ and ‘JPL’ became worldwide trends, and the account MarsCuriosity grew to more than 900,000 followers within just a week its landing.

President Obama called JPL to congratulate the engineers on their successful Mars landing. During the call he gave a shout out to Mohawk Guy, celebrating his unique appearance and how his edgy mohawk was making science ‘cooler’ than it used to be. Since Curiosity’s landing, Ferdowsi helped popularize the Mars rover mission with young people and modernize the public’s perception of NASA scientists and engineers. SpaceportLA invites him to Santa Monica to know more about his personal journey; From Bobak to the Mohawk Guy... but most importantly to learn and get inspired by the stories behind the scene, and his vision of the near future about space affair and Mars mission.




Curtis is an Aerospace Systems Engineer with a passion for space. He has more than 10 years experiences in designing, managing, and executing engineering projects and have both technical and management experiences. Curtis earned his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech, and he is ready to making ideas, people, hardware into space.
Curtis specialities: Systems Engineering, Analysis, Design, SysML, Problem Solving, Space Industry, Coding, MatLab, Python, JMP, Communicating in Japanese



Monica is a managing partner at LightSpeed Innvations, an aerospace accelerator. Monica has over 22 years of experience in the technology and aerospace industries; with expertise in technology R&D, product development, strategic partnerships, and innovation strategy.  She frequently advises high-tech start-ups and corporations on their business and technology strategies.   As part of the steering committee for the Wharton Angel Network and Wharton Aerospace Ventures, Monica works actively with investors and entrepreneurs.  Monica holds both BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Southern California, a Systems Engineering certificate from the California Institute of Technology, and an MBA from The Wharton School. She currently holds a faculty position at The Wharton School.



Vera is the CEO and Founder of MARS CITY DESIGN.

Vera comes from multidisciplinary background in master planning in various fields of art; architecture, urban design, filmmaking and storytelling, has made her specialized in conceptual strategy in technology, innovation and business development. Vera contributes her expertise in combining these fields, creating a collaborative competition platform for designing cities for Mars, our next step to settle the Red Planet. Vera is the Master Architect and planner of Mars City Design.



Technical Director for Google Lunar XPRIZE


Andrew is the Director for Technical Operations at the XPRIZE Foundation where he supports the operation of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. Coming from a background in the aerospace and mechanical engineering fields, Andrew previously worked in the private space industry in Europe as a technology developer, project manager and entrepreneur. Among other roles, he worked for 4 years as a specialist at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands where he supported the development of space missions, including significant contributions to future lunar and Mars landers as well as the VEGA launch vehicle. As Director of Technical Operations for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, he is responsible for selecting and managing the panel of independent judges, communicating technical aspects of the prize to the space industry and the general public, and he also led the implementation of the Milestone Prizes program held in 2014. Andrew holds a Ph.D and bachelors degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Sydney and a Masters degree in Space Studies from the International Space University.



Norris Tie currently works at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems as an air-breathing propulsion engineer. He graduated from UCLA Class of June 2014 in aerospace engineering. He is passionate about both aerospace and entrepreneurship. He served as President of UCLA's Technical Entrepreneurial Community (TEC) and founded UCLA's Entrepreneurship Council, which now has around 20 organizations, ranging from the Law School, Anderson School of Business, Startup UCLA, and student groups like TEC. He also participated in UCLA's Rocket Project as safety officer and the UCLA ELFIN cubesat project. In his spare time, he is learning to build rockets. He is interested in anything that moves humans faster around the world and/or through space, namely rockets and high speed propulsion engines. 



Mr. Jacobson co-founded Desert Sky Holdings, a Los Angeles based investment group that focuses on below the radar opportunities. Jacobson co-led the first institutional investment in XCOR Aerospace. Jacobson is the co-founder of Aerospace & Defense Forum, a former board member of the Space Frontier Foundation, and is a member of Space Angels Network. Jacobson was inspired by the first XPRIZE competition to to helping grow and enhance the space eco-system through advocacy, investment, leadership and technology development.