Greg Olsen 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, he
launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket TMA-7 on October 1, 2005 with Cosmonaut
Valeri Tokarev and Astronaut Bill McArthur (Expedition 12). He 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). He
performed more than 150 orbits of the earth and logged almost 4 million miles
of weightless travel during his 10 days in space.
After an illustrious career as a research
scientist and entrepreneur, Greg is now president of GHO Ventures in Princeton, NJ where he manages his “angel” investments, South African winery, Montana ranch, and performs numerous speaking engagements to encourage children –
especially minorities and females- to consider careers in science and
engineering. He is 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.
Greg 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). He 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. He 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). He 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. Greg is an IEEE
LEOS Fellow and the first recipient of the prestigious IEEE Aron Kressel Award.
Greg founded EPITAXX, a fiber-optic
detector manufacturer in 1984 together with Vladimir Ban. It was sold in 1990
for $12 million. He then founded Sensors Unlimited, a near-infrared camera
manufacturer in 1992 with Marshall Cohen. Sensors was sold to Finisar Corp. for
$600 million in 2000, repurchased by the management team in 2002 for $6
million, then sold again to Goodrich, Corp. in 2005 for $60 million.
Greg is active in many civic organizations
including Trenton Big Brothers and Sisters, Trenton Boys and Girls Club,
Trenton Soup Kitchen, Princeton Historical Society, Custer Battlefield
Preservation Committee and Fairleigh Dickinson University and University of Virginia Alumni Associations. In his spare time he enjoys golf, country and
western music and dancing, opera and horseback riding.