He has served in senior leadership positions at NASA, Boeing, Raytheon Technologies, Ball Aerospace, Space Systems Loral, and most recently, Belcan.
LeoStella, a specialized satellite constellation design and manufacturing company, has expanded its leadership team with the addition of Mike Kaplan as vice president of business development. Kaplan will bolster LeoStella’s new business and customer efforts. Based in Tukwila, Washington, LeoStella is a joint venture between Thales Alenia Space and BlackSky.
Kaplan brings more than 40 years of experience in the space industry, with positions at both government and private organizations. He has served in senior leadership positions at NASA, Boeing, Raytheon Technologies, Ball Aerospace, Space Systems Loral, and most recently, Belcan. Kaplan’s work has involved leading teams in the development of novel technologies such as spacecraft subsystems, spacecraft buses, planetary landers, and robotic satellite servicers.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mike to the LeoStella executive team,” said Mike Hettich, CEO of LeoStella. “His industry expertise and experience with building and managing teams in the space sector are undeniable assets. Mike’s addition to our company will help strengthen our position as a leader in small satellite constellation design and delivery.”
In his roles before joining LeoStella, Kaplan led the creation of several transformational space missions, including the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). Recently, he has focused on proliferated LEO constellations to revolutionize weather prediction.
“LeoStella is a leading player in the smallsat constellation transformation currently underway,” stated Mike Kaplan, vice president of business development for LeoStella. “The company has an established track record of delivering highly reliable and commercially operational satellites across a range of missions. The company is well-positioned to meet the increasing demand for smallsats. It is an exciting time for the company and the industry.”
Kaplan’s expertise garnered him positions with several industry organizations and interest groups, including as an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a member of the AIAA Small Satellite and Space Systems Technical Committees, Space SMART think tank, and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE).