• Faculty

Carl Brandon


My undergraduate degree, in physics (minoring in history and psychology), was at Michigan State University, starting Fall, 1962, where I designed part of the cyclotron the summer of my freshman year, and continued to work on software for the cyclotron group (my adviser, Henry Blosser, was the head of it) for the rest of my time there. I wrote the second video game in the world, the other being done at MIT at about the same time in 1963. I also worked as a computer operator at nights to pay for flying lessons in the MSU flying club, where I obtained my private pilots license in 1964. After graduation (June, 1966), I started grad school in physics, but started working for IBM Components Division in Fishkill, NY, January, 1967.

At IBM, I designed their first memory chip, with two other people. It was probably the first completely computer design and manufacturing project of any kind in the world. During that time, I obtained my instrument rating, commercial pilots license, sea plane rating and glider license. I left IBM in January, 1969, to go back to grad school, and went to UMass, Amherst, in physics. I obtained my airplane, instrument and glider flight instructor ratings in 1969 while at UMass. I worked part time as an airplane flight instructor while in school, and spent the summer of 1970 as a full time glider flight instructor at Sugarbush Airport in Vermont. I switched to Zoology after a year, and did an M.S. on seagull soaring flight aerodynamics. My PhD., from the Zoology Department, awarded in 1979, was on bat flight aerodynamics and functional anatomy.

I started teaching at Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center, VT, in August, 1977, teaching physics and zoology. I initiated and taught Spacecraft Software (for our Software Engineering MS degree, with Peter Chapin), Spacecraft Technology I & II, Intro. Zoology, Anatomy and Physiology, Ada, Advanced Ada, Operating Systems and Pascal; and taught Calculus and non-calculus based Physics, Modern Physics, Introductory Chemistry and BASIC computer programming. Starting 2004, I have applied for 24 NASA grants, and have received 33, totaling about $700,000. This has resulted in the construction of a CubeSat that was launched in an Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket in November 19, 2013, the first by any college in New England or New York. It was in orbit and operational for 2 years and two days, before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere on November 21, 2015, and was the only successful satellite of any kind launched by a college in the North East of the United States until 2018. I have just started on a grant to work on a spacecraft software system with Jeremy Ouellette and our students to develop a satellite version of the JT65 weak signal protocol, that will allow a university satellite to communicate with a university ground station from Jupiter avoiding the very expensive and hard to get time on Deep Space Network of NASA. At about the time of my first grant, my son, Jack Brandon, was born, and is now 15 years old. He has traveled with me to technical conferences in Europe (where I gave talks in York, UK; Venice, Italy; Porto Venere, Italy; Stockholm, Sweden; Berlin, Germany; Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Pisa, Italy; Vienna, Austria; and Jerusalem, Israel). He accompanied me to the launch of our CubeSat from Wallops Island, VA in November, 2013. I have also given talks in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) multiple times, Washington, DC, multiple times, Cambridge, MA, multiple times, Ithaca, NY and Ottawa, Canada. I was a keynote speaker at Ada Europe, Lisbon in 2018, and an invited speaker (along with John Glenn, Scott Carpenter and Buzz Aldrin) at Space Operations, Washington, DC, in 2012 and an invited speaker at the Amateur Radio Satellite Corporation 50th Anniversary conference in 2019.

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