Thursday, July 19, 2012

AeroAstro: Farewell to a Pioneer

Smallsat company closed down

Every revolution has its heralds, and Rick Fleeter was one of the key people behind the the microsatellite revolution - doing space missions with far smaller satellites in innovative ways. Fleeter's impact was lasting, but his pioneering company is taking its last breath.  AeroAstro, which he founded in 1988, was acquired by Comtech. As of the last Conference on Small Satellites, Comtech AeroAstro was still an enthusiastic presence, even though Fleeter had sold all his interest long ago.  But the company only had one funded satellite contract and the US Navy just unfunded it, so Comtech is shutting AeroAstro down.  The revolution (though battered, bruised, reformulated, and dismissed many times) lives on, but those of us who see the value in it are sorry to see AeroAstro vanish from the ranks.

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