Vigontus Kulpa grew up in Huntsville, AL. Ever since he was young, Kulpa was always interested with the space program. He ended up going to college at UAH, and was considered a "feter" co-op engineer, so he actually started out at The Marshall Space Flight Center. There, Kulpa worked with the Human Systems Integration Branch. In college, Kulpa started out at UAH, but eventually ended up graduating from college at Auburn University. He then came back to UAH to receive his Master's degree in Systems Engineering and his Doctorate in Psychology and Human Factors. Kulpa's first full-time assignment was as a Crew Procedures Engineer. In this job, he was considered "between" the scientists that did the experiments, and the astronauts. Kulpa ended up working with the Avionics group to design a battery-operated wrench, and he took this on the KC-135. He also was able to work to help re-design the space station. After a while, he switched jobs and worked with the Neutral-Buoyancy Tank where he worked on how to make a space shuttle suit work underwater.
Bran Griffin was born in Medford, Oregon. His father was in the military, so they moved around a lot. Bran went to the University of Texas his first year of college, and he studied Architecture. Then, he graduated college with a degree in Architecture from Washington State University. He then went to graduate scholl in Southern California, and he received a fine arts degree. After this, Bran wanted to get a degree in something a little more stable, so he went back to school to get his master's degree in Architecture. After this, Bran was on a shuttleship for a couple of years in Rome, and then he came back to start his career in teaching Architecture. Even though he was teaching Architecture, he had an intense passion for space. Because of this passion, he started to become involved with the Johnson Space Center with a faculty fellowship. Bran was in their Spacecraft Design Division. Since he wanted to be closer to be a part of the Space Industry, he decided to move to Washington State. After a while of working in Washington State, he received a job offer from Boeing in Hunstville, AL and began his career there being involved with the space station.
Charles Van Valkenburg grew up in Huntsville, AL, and he went to Auburn University. There, he majored in Industrial Design and he had a part-time job as a draftsman at one of the civil engineering firms. After graduating college, he received a job at Essex in Huntsville. At this job, Charles would get in the water of the Neutral Buoyancy Tank and make sure that all the tools and everything was in place for an astronaut. Sometimes, he would even be the test subject. After all the testing from the day, they would all have a debriefing session at this company where the astronaut, human factors experts, and engineers would all make inputs. After the debriefing, they would take the ideas and get the machinists to make some modifications to the hardware. Charles would also work in pressure suits, and he explains how restricted the suit made him feel. He also mentions the foot restraints, and how difficult they were to work with. In his career, Charles was also able to help design the underwater version of the manned maneuvering unit.