Group member Yosune Casana’s team won the SPACE RACE challenge by NASA

SJSU Students win SPACE RACE challenge

SJSU alumni Russell Kirkman and graduate student Yosune Casana have been named challenge winners in the SPACE RACE startup competition.

The SPACE RACE contest is organized by the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and with support from the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation (MCA).

The objective of the CAI-NASA SPACE RACE is to facilitate the creation of technology startups by providing access to promising technology developed by NASA, training and mentoring, a $2,500 cash prize, and access to $1.2 million seed funding.

The winning team is composed by Russell Kirkman (B.S. Materials Engineering, SJSU), Yosune Casana (graduate student, Materials Engineering, SJSU) and Bruno Selva (M.S. Software engineering, Carnegie Mellon).

With support from their advisors, including Prof. Ozgur Keles from the BCME department, the team created the company Tellus Aerospace, Inc. with the objective of commercializing an innovative lightweight acoustic liner to reduce aircraft noise. The concept for the ceramic matrix composite acoustic liner was developed by a team of scientists at NASA Glenn Research Center. As challenge winners, the team has secured a license to further develop the technology and create a product.

SPACE RACE Contest Information


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI)
Medical Center of the Americas Foundation (MCA)

Support new entrepreneurs by providing training, mentoring, access to technology licenses and seed funding

$2,500 cash prize to challenge winners
Access to $1.2 million for seed funding
Access to NASA technology license

Team members:
Russell Kirkman – B.S. Materials engineering, SJSU
Yosune Casana – Graduate student in Materials engineering, SJSU
Bruno Selva – M.S. Software management, Carnegie Mellon

Prof. Ozgur Keles – Assistant Professor, Materials Engineering, San Jose State University
Ravi Thomas – Adjunct Faculty, Carnegie Mellon
Amadeo Casas – Entrepreneur, Engineering Manager at Lyft
Jeff Greason – Co-founder Agile Aero, Inc. and XCOR Aerospace
Vinod Menon- Executive Vice President SiTime Corporation

Ceramic matrix composite acoustic liner for jet engines developed at NASA Glenn Research Center (

Company created:
Tellus Aerospace, Inc


Posted 10th February 2017 by Ozgur Keles

Categories: Uncategorized