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 & CEO 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. Greg is currently “Entrepreneur in Residence” and serves on the Advisory of both the ACEE & SEAS Councils at Princeton University as well as the Advisory Board to University of Virginia Materials Science and Engineering School. He is active in the NJTC Venture Fund, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the National Academy of Engineering. He serves on his investments’ Boards as well as the West Point ME Advisory Board, Fairleigh Dickinson Board of Trustees and the Deborah Heart & Lung Center Foundation. His technical interests are now in the power electronics and alternative energy fields.
Greg received 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 to1983. 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. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2010. He is also a 2019 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
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, and 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 Literacy Movement, Custer Battlefield Preservation Committee, NYPD Foundation, Navy Seal Foundation, 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.