Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2023-08-25T18:37:38+00:00

FreeFall Aerospace: Frequently Asked Questions

What makes FreeFall antennas unique?2023-08-24T21:42:42+00:00

Stationary spherical reflector, steerable feeds

What is FreeFall’s value proposition?2023-08-24T21:41:34+00:00

Innovative, flexible, low-cost antenna solutions

Who is on the leadership team at FreeFall?2024-01-17T18:54:10+00:00

Dan Geraci, CEO

Dan Geraci is the President of FreeFall Aerospace, whose groundbreaking technology has revolutionized the cost, functionality, and flexibility of cislunar and terrestrial communications landscapes. Before this role, Dan served as the President of Voyager Space Services. With decades of experience in international asset and wealth management, he has successfully led startups, acted as a turnaround specialist for mature businesses, and managed multi-billion-dollar P&Ls for global financial institutions. He serves on the Board of The Foundation for the Future, focusing on space economy workforce development and policy. For the past 17 years, Dan has been Chairman of the Board of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest non-profit founded by the late astronomer Carl Sagan, JPL head Bruce Murray, and its current CEO Bill Nye.

Doug Stetson, Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer

Significant Contributions: Angel Funding, Space Systems Background, Business Development

Doug is the CEO of FreeFall Aerospace, an early-stage company developing innovative antenna technology for satellite communications. Before founding FreeFall, Doug spent nearly 30 years at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a systems engineer, program manager, and senior executive. After leaving JPL in 2008, Doug established a consulting practice and was the project manager for the LightSail-1 mission that successfully deployed and tested a solar sail in Earth orbit. Doug holds a B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. He is a multiple recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and the JPL Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Dr. Chris Walker, Co-founder, Chief Scientist, and VP for R&D

Significant Contribution: Inventor of FreeFall’s antenna technology

 Chris has over 30 years of experience in industry and academia developing state-of-the-art antenna systems. In addition to his role at FreeFall, Chris is a professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona with joint appointments in Electrical Engineering and Mechanical/ Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Walker has led numerous observing campaigns in Antarctica and is the Principal Investigator of the GUSTO mission, a NASA Small Explorer mission set for balloon launch in late 2021. He was also PI of the successful NASA Stratospheric THz Observatory, among other projects, and is the recipient of the UA “2018 Inventor of the Year” award. Chris was a Millikan Fellow at Caltech and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. 

Rick KettnerVP of Product Development

Rick will help further develop FreeFall’s antenna technology, including the Data Sail, Inflatable, and Orbital Mesh Relay. Rick has spent the past 32 years in the Aerospace and Defense industry with organizations including Northrop Grumman, Orbital, and General Dynamics. He has held leadership positions in engineering, operations, and administration. Mr. Kettner has extensive experience in all system and component development phases, including taking concepts beyond prototypes and maturing them into high-quality, delivered product lines. Having designed and developed several systems for aerospace applications, he possesses thorough knowledge of all engineering disciplines (systems, electrical, mechanical). Rick has supported multiple areas/products in Aerospace, including launch vehicles, satellite platforms, and ground systems.

Dr. Juan Carlos Lopez-Tonazzi, Chief Engineer

Juan Carlos has over 30 years of experience in applied physics, materials science, and related fields, with a career spanning R&D, academics, and manufacturing. His expertise encompasses electromagnetics, sensors, optics, spectroscopy, and engineering development and manufacturing of complex mechanical systems. He has invented or perfected numerous non-invasive sensing and monitoring techniques and is the author or co-author of over 50 patents and patent applications. Juan Carlos holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires and is fluent in Spanish, French, and English.

Julie Bonner, Director of Communications

Julie Bonner, Director of Communications for FreeFall Aerospace, connects partners to their intelligent antenna systems for space and ground. She’s developed campaigns for international corporations like Clear Channel Outdoor to Tucson-based start-ups and non-profits. Julie was awarded the Tucson AdFed Next Generation Award for significantly impacting the advertising industry through leadership, career achievements, and personal qualities, inspiring others to excel. She’s the Chair of the Women in the Workforce Committee for the Arizona Technology Council and a graduate of Greater Tucson Leadership. Julie holds a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from Drexel University and an MBA.

What recognitions have FreeFall Aerospace earned?2023-08-24T21:37:38+00:00

Startup of the Year Finalist 2022 – Copper Cactus Awards

Innovation Leader of the Year 2019 – FreeFall Aerospace

Innovator of the Year StartUp Company 2019 – FreeFall Aerospace

Inventor of the Year 2018 – Chris Walker, Co-Founder of FreeFall Aerospace

TechConnect Defense Innovation Awards 2017 & 2018

What are some of the major milestones?2023-08-24T21:36:03+00:00

2022: Successful TVAC Test of the Inflatable Cubesat Antenna (CATSAT) in partnership with NASA and the University of Arizona

2021: Inflation Control System Validated for Spaceflight

2019: Declared Innovator of the Year – Arizona Commerce Authority and Arizona Technology Council

2018 Successful High-Altitude Test Above New Mexico

Who’s on the Board?2023-08-24T21:34:46+00:00

Fletcher McCusker, UAVC, CEO, UA Venture Capital

Founder SinfoníaRx and Providence Service Corp. Chairman of the Rio Nuevo District


Ken Dorushka, Senior Executive

(retired) AT&T, Lucent; Member of Paragon Space Development


Scott Webster, Co-founder, Orbital Science Corp

Board Chairmanships: Cobham, MBDA, Telesat


Doug Stetson, Co-founder and CEO, FreeFall Aerospace

28 years at NASA/JPL as a Systems Engineer and Senior Executive


Dr. Chris Walker, Co-founder & Chief Scientist, FreeFall Aerospace

Professor of Astronomy and EE, University of Arizona

How did FreeFall Aerospace get started?2023-08-24T21:25:28+00:00

We Started in the Stars

FreeFall antenna technology is based on research in high-frequency radio astronomy conducted at the University of Arizona.

The initial concept for FreeFall Aerospace began in the summer of 2016 when the two founders, Doug Stetson and Dr. Chris Walker, worked together on a proposal for a NASA balloon-borne high-energy astronomy telescope called GUSTO. Together, they realized that the systems Dr. Walker was studying to improve his observations could significantly benefit small spacecraft communications. Dr. Walker had already been awarded grants from the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts and the Naval Research Laboratory to study specific aspects of the technology. After forming their company, Doug and Chris continued developing ideas on space science. They established FreeFall Aerospace as an LLC and officed at the UA Center for Innovation. FreeFall was awarded its first grant in early 2017 by the National Reconnaissance Office. After exploring the concepts with colleagues at NASA and in the “NewSpace” community, they determined significant commercial and DOD potential for the technology. In mid-2018, FreeFall hired the first employees and began to move toward prototype development.

Where is FreeFall Aerospace based?2024-01-17T18:55:02+00:00

FreeFall Aerospace is located in Tucson, Arizona. 

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