Our People

Tom Sarafin

Tom Sarafin

Tom Sarafin is President and Chief Engineer of Instar Engineering and Consulting, Inc. He has worked full time in the space industry since 1979 as a structural engineer, a mechanical systems engineer, a project manager, and a consultant. Since founding Instar in 1993, he's consulted for NASA, DARPA, the DOD Space Test Program (STP), Lockheed Martin, DigitalGlobe, Space Systems/Loral, Spaceflight Industries, and other organizations. He was a core member of the team that developed NASA-STD-5020, "Requirements for Threaded Fastening Systems in Spaceflight Hardware" (March 2012). He is the editor and principal author of Spacecraft Structures and Mechanisms: From Concept to Launch and is a contributing author to Space Mission Analysis and Design. He's also the principal author of a series of papers titled "Vibration Testing of Small Satellites." Since 1995, he has taught over 250 courses to more than 5000 engineers and managers in the aerospace industry.

Poti (Pete) Doukas

Poti (Pete) Doukas

Poti (Pete) Doukas is Vice President and Sr. Consultant at Instar with over 35 years experience in space programs. Poti worked at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (formerly Martin Marietta Astronautics) from 1978 to 2006, when he joined Instar. While at Lockheed Martin, he served as Engineering Manager for the Phoenix Mars Lander program (2008), Mechanical Engineering Lead for the Genesis spacecraft (2001-04), Structures and Mechanisms Subsystem Lead for Stardust (1999-2006), and Structural Analysis Lead for Mars Global Surveyor (1996-2006). Poti also performed stress analysis and developed flight hardware for the Cassini mission to Saturn as well as the Space Shuttle Orbiter and External Tank. Since joining Instar, Poti has consulted and provided engineering services for the DOD Space Test Program (STP-2 mission), USAF Academy (FalconSAT-5 and -6 small satellite programs), Lockheed Martin (Orion crew module), DigitalGlobe, Design Net Engineering, AeroAstro, and NovaWurks. Poti also teaches Instar short courses and develops new educational materials; he's currently developing a practical introductory course on design and development of composite structures. He's a contributing author to Space Mission Analysis and Design [1st and 2nd eds, 1991 and 1992] and Spacecraft Structures and Mechanisms: From Concept to Launch [1995].

Mike Browning

Mike Browning

Mike Browning is a Principal Engineer at Instar with over 30 years of aerospace industry experience as a structural and thermal analyst. He started his engineering career at Rocketdyne working on the Space Shuttle main engines from 1983 to 1988. He then worked at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (formerly Martin Marietta Astronautics) from 1988 to 2000, primarily as a stress analyst and a thermal analyst for military spacecraft, but also serving in the roles of electrical power systems analyst and lead engineer for performance testing of a reaction control system. Mike worked at Coherent Technologies from 2000 until 2010 (Coherent Technologies became Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies (LMCT) in 2005). Mike was the Design Analysis Lead for LMCT's first space-qualified coherent laser radar payload. Since joining Instar in 2010, Mike has provided guidance, finite element modeling, and analysis (structural and thermal) for the FalconSAT program at the USAF Academy, the Orion Crew Module program at Lockheed Martin, and the Rideshare Adapter program at Design Net Engineering. He was the lead analysis engineer or consultant for vibration testing of the FalconSAT-6, DANDE, CUSat, and eXCITe small satellites, a role that included designing force limiting strategies and data interpretation. He's presently serving the same role for the Oculus and Prox-1 small satellites.

Lenny Demchak

Lenny Demchak

Lenny Demchak has nearly 40 years of experience in spacecraft dynamics, loads, vibration, control systems, and mechanical systems. He retired from Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (Denver) in 2011 and now serves as a part-time consultant at Instar Engineering. While at Lockheed Martin, Lenny served as Principal Systems Engineer in support of military spacecraft operations. He also served as Structural Dynamics Lead Engineer responsible for design, development, and testing of large military spacecraft. Lenny has experience in a wide range of dynamics analyses and tests, including transient loads, random vibration, acoustics, shock, slosh, modal surveys, jitter, and interaction between the structure and the control system. Lenny is a contributing author to Spacecraft Structures and Mechanisms: From Concept to Launch [1995]. He's also served as a contributing committee member for the AIAA standard, "Moving Mechanical Assemblies for Space and Launch Vehicles" (S-114-2005).

Lou Arthur

Lou Arthur

Lou Arthur is a part-time consultant at Instar. He retired in 1995 after 22 years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and 14 years at Martin Marietta Astronautics Group. Lou is a subject matter expert in the mechanical aspects of spacecraft design, integration, and test. At JPL, Lou designed the Voyager bus structure and was responsible for its manufacturing and assembly. Lou also helped integrate and test Ranger 1 and 2, Surveyor 2 - 5, Mariner 1969, Mariner 1971, and Mariner 1973. At Martin Marietta, Lou defined and coordinated requirements for integration and test on the Peacekeeper missile program, and he served as the lead engineer responsible for integration and test of a large military spacecraft. Lou is vastly knowledgeable in how to design for manufacturing, assembly, integration, test, and handling. From 1999 - 2003, he developed and taught a one-day course called "Avoiding Problems in Spacecraft Integration and Test", offered by Instar Engineering. Lou is a contributing author to Spacecraft Structures and Mechanisms: From Concept to Launch [1995].