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Rick Fleeter – A Personal History of Smallsats

Dr. Rick Fleeter, associate adjunct professor at Brown University and visiting lecturer at La Sapienza (Rome), has decades of personal history with small satellites.

“I got started in microspace through amateur radio and AMSAT. In the early 1980s I had the unusual experience of spending evenings building small satellites in a garage in Redondo Beach, CA, paid for essentially with small contributions by the team that was building them, while during the day working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and then TRW, where it was insisted that without something close to $1 billion there wasn’t much you could do other than paper studies.”

Rick Fleeter was launching smallsats in the 1970s, when they were considered merely a hobby or toys. Since then he has helped change the perception of cubesats to useful tools by leading well designed, cost-minimized projects. As an example, Brown’s Space Engineering department built a satellite for just $5000. He has written books, founded the company AeroAstro and the Space Horizons annual conference at Brown.

In this interview, Cold Star Project host Jason Kanigan asks Dr. Rick Fleeter about the smallsat and cubesat field, new developments, frustrations with space, and even company development.

Inquiries for Dr. Fleeter can be emailed to: rick_fleeter@brown.edu

Talk to Cold Star by clicking here.

Published inInterview