By David Kornfeld, Denver JDS Alum (Class of 2016)
Can Color War lead you to Mars? Perhaps!
After completing his last quarter of college at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) remotely, in July David Kornfeld (class of 2016) began working at SpaceX on the power electronics team. His passion is in the electric mobility space and cares deeply about renewables, and he hopes that we can electrify industries that are traditionally carbon producing.
David went from Denver JDS in 2016 to Caltech and studied electrical engineering - but spent a lot of his free time building electric racecars for the international Formula SAE competition. Perhaps it was the leadership opportunities available to him at Denver JDS, and his ability to remain calm even during high-intensity Color War competitions, that allowed him to take a leadership role and become the team lead for his racing team. Coordinating large groups - particularly of overworked college students - definitely takes some finesse and skill.
At a competition in the summer of 2019, David was approached by a SpaceX engineer working on motor controllers in space. Familiar with the company after having done an internship with Tesla before his junior year at Caltech, and after a rigorous interview process, David was excited to start under this engineer's supervision - only to find out that his supervisor-to-be had left the company before David began. And suddenly, David was put in charge of the motor systems for Starship - SpaceX's new Mars rocket platform - which are used to control the vehicle as it flies through the atmosphere. Unlike the more widely known platform, Falcon, which recently brought astronauts to the International Space Station, Starship's goal is to enable interplanetary travel. Everything is still in theory and being prototyped, but travel to both the moon and Mars are part of Starship's plans.