May 7, 2020 – Midland, Texas – Kepler announces that Ronald Jones will be joining the Kepler and Kepler SpaceCore team as an advisor for all maters regarding rocketry, rocket propulsion and rocket development, as well as an Advisory Board Member of both Kepler Aerospace and Kepler SpaceCore.
Mr. Jones currently serves as Firehawk Aerospace Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Scientist. He also represents the company on the NASA Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative, a collaborative body managed by John Hopkins University on NASA’s behalf to investigate the technologies, existing and imagined, that will be required for NASA to carry out its Artemis plans over the next few years. He is a prolific inventor and possesses great curiosity about the world and his interests span a broad-range of academic disciplines. With numerous utility patents awarded, he has demonstrated an almost uncanny ability to connect facts and information from disparate fields from which he is able to visualize solutions to recognized problems and unfulfilled needs.
However, he has learned from experience the importance of critical assessment in determining what problem to take-on and where to invest his energy and resources.
Today, Mr. Jones focuses most of his time and attention addressing the need for humans to become a spacefaring species; with the goal of ultimately colonizing and thriving on other planets. To realize this goal, Mr. Jones believes two major challenges must be overcome – one being biological incompatibility and the other the lack of safe, affordable, efficient space transportation. Mr. Jones is focused on the issue of significantly improving space transportation, leaving others to address the biological challenges.
Ronald ‘Ron’ Jones studied Physics Engineering at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY and earned a BA in Experimental Psychology from Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA in 1971. His senior capstone project was in the field of Psychopharmacology involving an experimental investigation of the physical basis for memory in mammals.
In 1971, he also graduated from the Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School, Pensacola, FL after which he served as a Naval Flight Officer until 1973.
After leaving the U.S. Navy, Ron attended the University of Louisville from 1974-1975 where he took graduate level courses in Industrial Relations while working full-time as a Job Analyst for the City of Louisville.
In 1999, he co-founded and was President of Shared Replicators Inc., a rapid prototyping service bureau that supported over 100 manufacturers and research organizations nationally. The company was profitable by its second year of operation. In 2001, he and his team made history working with Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History paleontologists to 3D print from scan data, an exact full-scale tooling master of the Museum’s famed Triceratops dinosaur’s skull and lower jaw. Resin castings made from the tooling masters were later assembled to form a complete recreation of the dinosaur, which continues on display at the Museum. Mr. Jones left the firm in 2005 to pursue his work in advanced composites and hybrid rockets full-time.
In 2002 and again in 2003, Ron was awarded consecutive applied research grants from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology to support his work in advanced composites. In 2003, he was awarded a utility patent for his invention titled: Method for making freeform-fabricated core composite articles (U.S. Patent Number 6,630,093).
Starting in 2004, Ron became interested in solving the recognized chronic problems inherent in hybrid rocket engines, i.e., inconsistent-unpredictable thrust, excessive vibration, wasted fuel, and low specific impulse. Despite their safety and mechanical simplicity advantages over other forms of chemical rockets and their great potential for lowering the cost of space access, hybrid rockets had received comparatively little in the way of research support from either NASA or the U.S. Department of Defense. Following three-years of personal investigation on his own time, Ron invented a breakthrough concept in 2007 – 3D printing hybrid rocket fuel from polymeric materials. This invention, trademarked 3D-Ultra, is considered by many rocket propulsion experts as the first breakthrough in this field in over 60 years. Mr. Jones was ultimately awarded a patent for this invention in September 2017 (Solid fuel grain for a hybrid propulsion system of a rocket and method for manufacturing same U.S. Patent Number 9,453,479). Subsequently, Mr. Jones was awarded four additional utility patents covering rocket propulsion inventions which further enhance the 2017 patent.
From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Jones was co-founder and CEO of Dynastrosi Laboratories, Inc. Dynastrosi was a boutique engineering firm focused primarily on the development of Savonius and Darrius type wind turbines constructed from advanced composites. Earning royalties for licensing the firm’s advanced composite patent and related trade secrets to wind energy clients and generating income for prototyping, testing, and professional engineering services, the company achieved profitability during its first year of operation. Unfortunately, by early 2009, the Great Recession had forced the firm’s wind energy clients to go out of business. After successfully completing its last contracts and paying off its creditors, Dynastrosi closed its doors in 2010.
In November 2010, Ron co-founded Rocket Crafters, Inc (RCI to further develop and commercialize his hybrid rocket technology. The technology was exclusively licensed to RCI under a world-wide grant within its field of use.
As RCI’s President & Chief Technology Officer from 2010-2017, Mr. Jones oversaw all research and development, manufacturing, and product development functions i.e., rocket propulsion, launch vehicle, supply chain management, manufacturing technology, and specialized ground equipment. Mr. Jones resigned his positions as RCI’s Chief Technologist and Board Member in May 2018 to found Firehawk Aerospace Inc. He remains a major shareholder in RCI.
Kepler and Kepler SpaceCore are elated to have another superstar like Ron Jones join the Kepler team. Kepler believes that his extensive background in rocket development and 3D printing experience will fill any gaps not covered presently by the Kepler team. As a consultant Mr. Jones will be overseeing Kepler’s rocket development operations out of Kepler’s Spaceport and Rocket facilities in Midland, Texas to ensure top-class performance for all of its clients.
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