Space Dynamics Lab memorializes friend and colleague

By Karen Wolfe
Utah State University/Space Dynamics Laboratory
April 19, 2007

North Logan—With next Wednesday’s scheduled launch of a NASA science mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, friends and coworkers from the Space Dynamics Laboratory remember a young engineer who died at 32 from metastatic melanoma, an end-stage form of skin cancer.

Brandon Paulsen, a talented and respected engineer, was SDL’s first program manager for the Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment (SOFIE), which is one of three instruments flying on board NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) science experiment. Paulsen died on October 24, 2005, seven months after being diagnosed with advanced-stage skin cancer.

Just days later, friends and colleagues attached a NASA-approved plaque to the SOFIE instrument honoring Paulsen’s short but accomplished life. On April 25, SOFIE and the AIM mission will be launched into low-Earth orbit aboard a Pegasus rocket, where it will remain in orbit for at least two years. As SOFIE flies some 300 miles above Earth, employees of SDL memorialize a father, husband, friend and colleague.

Paulsen joined SDL in May of 1997 while completing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Utah State University, and was hired full time in April of 1998. His time at SDL was marked by significant accomplishments in a quickly advancing career.

Beyond managing the SOFIE program, he was also program manager for SDL’s Floating Potential Measurement Unit which is helping keep astronauts on board the International Space Station safe by monitoring space charging.

Paulsen’s wife of 11 years, Jolyn, still lives in Cache Valley with their four children Madison, 10, McKay, 9, Michael, 6, and Marcus, 3. The couple met at USU and married in September of 1994. Paulsen is also survived by his parents Mark and Sherry Paulsen of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and many siblings and extended family.