Faculty biographies

Mark Comninos

Mark Comninos is the co-founder of MARCOM Aeronautics and Space (Pty) LTD, Mr. Comninos holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University in Indiana (1995) and a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering (1997) from The University of Texas at Austin. Initially specializing in the aerodynamic analysis of launch vehicles via analytical and Computational Fluid Dynamics methods, Mark rapidly moved into the design of single and two stage to orbit reusable launch vehicles, building up significant experience in all aspects of space transportation systems.

Besides overall management of MARCOM and the logistical development of a fully integrated launch service, his primary duty as chief design engineer has been the blending of aerodynamic, flight dynamic, structural and propulsion system design requirements into what has now become the CHEETAH-1 CSLV.With a passion for analytic and computational analysis, Mark has conducted numerous aerodynamic analyses on a variety of launch and re-entry vehicles spanning all regions of the flight regime, from subsonic through supersonic to  hypersonic.

Mark also possesses significant experience in the area of flight dynamics, guidance, navigation and control. As the principal programmer of MARCOM’s flight dynamics simulator “LaunchSIM”, Mark has blended both simple and complicated time dependent multiple input, multiple output trajectory optimization algorithms into the first version of the CHEETAH-1 flight software.

Further to these talents, Mark possesses extensive experience in the design of liquid rocket engines, having conducted significant research and design of regeneratively cooled, turbopump-fed liquid propulsion systems inclusive of nozzle optimization algorithms, regenerative cooling analyses, turbine efficiency and overall performance computations.