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Mike Kaplan Appointed VP of Business Development at LeoStella; CEO Mike Hettich Quoted

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Former NASA and Raytheon Technologies executive Mike Kaplan has joined satellite constellation manufacturing company LeoStella as vice president of business development.

In his new role, Kaplan will be expected to capture new business and manage customer relationships, capitalizing on his deep knowledge of space systems and technologies, the Tukwila, Washington-headquartered company said Thursday.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike to the LeoStella executive team…Mike’s addition to our company will help strengthen our position as a leader in small satellite constellation design and delivery,” shared Mike Hettich, CEO of LeoStella.

With broad work experience spanning both the public and private sectors, Kaplan began his career at the Naval Research Laboratory’s Naval Center for Space Technology, where he eventually became advanced concepts section head. Subsequently, he worked for seven years at NASA, where he redesigned and administered the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy program and incepted and oversaw the Terrestrial Planet Finder, among other accomplishments.

Over the years, Kaplan has also held senior leadership roles at Boeing, Raytheon Technologies, Ball Aerospace and Belcan, the latter of which was his most recent position before coming to LeoStella. At Belcan, he was vice president of new business development for the defense and space division.

Kaplan’s specialties include systems engineering, program management, strategic planning, contract negotiations and process improvement and he has fostered a particular focus in recent years on low earth orbit satellite constellations.

His work has additionally centered on supporting research behind technologies like spacecraft subsystems, spacecraft buses, planetary landers and robotic satellite servicers.

The executive’s counsel has been sought after by industry organizations and interest groups such as the AIAA Small Satellite and Space Systems Technical Committees, Space SMART think tank and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Kaplan said in a statement that he looks forward to meeting rising market interest in small satellites as VP of business development for LeoStella, adding that “The company has an established track record of delivering highly reliable and commercially operational satellites across a range of missions.”