I was the third private citizen to orbit the earth on the International Space Station (ISS). After training for five months (900 hours) at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Moscow, I launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket TMA-7 on October 1, 2005 with Cosmonaut Valeri Tokarev and Astronaut Bill McArthur (Expedition 12). I then docked to the ISS on October 3, and returned to earth on Soyuz TMA-6 on October 11 with Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and Astronaut John Phillips (Expedition 11). I performed more than 150 orbits of the earth and logged almost 4 million miles of weightless travel during my 10 days in space.
After an illustrious career as a research scientist and entrepreneur, I am now president of GHO Ventures in Princeton, NJ where I manage my “angel” investments, South African winery, Montana ranch, and perform numerous speaking engagements to encourage children – especially minorities and females- to consider careers in science and engineering. I am active in the New Jersey Technology Counsel (NJTC), NJTC Venture Fund, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the NJ Commission on Science and Technology.
I received a BS Physics (1966), a BSEE and MS Physics (1968) from Fairleigh Dickinson University, then was awarded a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Virginia (1971). I performed post-doctoral studies at the University of Port Elizabeth (South Africa), taught elementary physics classes, and then worked as a research scientist at RCA Labs (Sarnoff Center) from 1972 to 1983. I developed vapor phase epitaxial crystal growth of optoelectronic devices, including laser diodes and photodetectors for fiber optic applications based on the material indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs). I was awarded 12 patents, wrote more than 100 technical papers, co-authored several book chapters and has given numerous invited lectures to both technical and trade journal audiences. I am an IEEE LEOS Fellow and the first recipient of the prestigious IEEE Aron Kressel Award.