Dr. Rick Fleeter is a professor of engineering at Brown University and La Sapienza / University of Rome, where he is also a consultant to the Italian Space Agency. In 1988 he founded and was for 21 years President of the small satellite and space transportation company AeroAstro, during which time he also co-founded Encounter 2001, and created the International Small Satellite Organization (ISSO) and Space Horizons. He has been responsible for development of over 20 miniature satellites ranging from 1 to 110 kg.
Rick has written the only two books dedicated to small satellite technology and management, Micro Space Craft and The Logic of Microspace. He authored the small satellite chapters of the two most recent major textbooks on spacecraft engineering, Space Mission Analysis and Design and Reducing Space Mission Cost and the Small Satellite Technology entry in Macmillan’s Space Sciences encyclopedia.
His book of episodes from the road, trail and air following the life of the itinerant aerospace manager, triathlete and long distance cyclist, Travels of a Thermodynamicist, was released in Spring, 2007
His most recent book, Love Is Strong As Death, which he co-wrote with his late wife Nancy, was released in January 2011.
Rick and Nancy were both professionals whose work took them all over the world. While he founded and managed the aerospace engineering company Nancy managed arts organizations including American Ballet Theater and the J.F. Kennedy Center. Rick was also writing books and teaching aerospace engineering and design while Nancy continued to practice and teach ballet. They lived at various times, sometimes simultaneously, in suburban Washington, DC, Manhattan, Charlestown, RI, Rome, Tokyo and Gold Coast Australia.
In temporary retirement from extreme forms of cycling after his 4th encounter with an automobile, he swims, plays piano, cello and synthesizer, but mostly sits in front of computers, in Charlestown, Rhode Island and Rome, Italy.
Rick blogs at http://rfleeter.wordpress.com/.
Rick’s earlier professional activities:
Director of Space Technology at Defense Systems Inc. (1986 - 1988) where he was the program manager and/or a lead engineer for programs totaling 15 satellites. He originated two major programs totaling eight new satellites and creating over $4M in sales.
Project Engineer at TRW Space and Technology Group (1983 - 1986) where he originated, marketed and performed research and development programs on aerospace propulsion systems and laser applications in combustion. Rick received a commendation for his contributions to the successful rescue of the $150M TDRS-1 communications satellite and was awarded a patent for propellant additives which resulted in a major government funded program.
Senior Scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech (1981 - 1983), where he participated in Mars mission and space station advanced designs and pursued research in spacecraft and aircraft propulsion.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s Rick contributed to AMSAT, the world's most experienced small satellite organization. He was AMSAT's program manager for propulsion on the PACSAT communications satellite program.
Rick has authored numerous papers on thermodynamics, propulsion and small satellite design and program management. As Adjunct Professor of Engineering at UCLA and Cal State Long Beach he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in thermodynamics theory and application. He also teaches professional courses in space systems design, space project management and other space and technology related topics.
Rick served two years as a member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board. He is a member of Sigma Xi, ARRL and AMSAT.