Leadership

Welcome to the Explore Space Challenge website and thank you for visiting! I’m excited to share some details with you about Project Exploration and the Explore Space Challenge.

My name is Judy Lubin and I’m in charge of the rocket part of the Explore Space Challenge. I am excited to be working in partnership with Ken Biba who is providing leadership and vision for the satellite portion.

I was born on the south-side of Chicago in a neighborhood adjacent to the Back of the Yards neighborhood where my Dad grew up. My Dad managed to rise against the low expectations set for urban youth of his neighborhood. He put himself through college, got a job as an engineer and moved his family to the suburbs. I grew up with enough resources to know that, when I dreamed, I had the support I needed to achieve my dream. In turn, I raised my kids with the same view of possibility always in their sights.

Now, I am working with a group of students in the same Back of the Yards neighborhood that my Dad grew up in, adjacent to the neighborhood of my birth. I’m excited to be sharing my love of rocketry with these students.

I began launching rockets with my own kids when they were young. My son took an interest and taught me how to launch large, high-powered rockets. Now, he does rocket science for a living as a propulsion engineer for Firefly Aerospace. I am so grateful that he is able to live his dream. And I am committed to helping all kids live their dreams, whether in rockets or elsewhere, especially kids in the Chicago area.

I have been involved with Project Exploration since 2013, and Board Chair since 2015. I joined because I captivated by PE’s mission and approach to education. I believe that education can be life-changing when the curriculum truly engages the students and when teachers can connect to the students. PE’s emphasis on real science with real scientists ensures that it provides meaningful experiences to every student it touches.

I am excited to be working in partnership on this program with Ken Biba. Ken also grew up in the Chicago area but has spent most of his adult life in the San Francisco area. Launching out the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, Ken is an amateur rocketry legend, having been part of the team to launch the first hobby rocket to over 100,000 feet. He has over 45 years of experience in the computer network industry and is also the co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of OpenSpace Networks, a stealth startup examining ultra-low-cost solutions for putting satellites into Low Earth Orbit.

In addition, Ken is an avid youth mentor and educator in both rockets and satellites. He co-founded several well-known rocketry education programs including the S4 (Small Satellites for Secondary Schools) program used in the Explore Space Challenge. He has been working closely with our Chicago based team and has made many trips “back home” to ensure program quality.

I hope that you will follow our team as we launch our dreams to 30,000 feet!

-Judy