AeroAstro, Inc., the world’s premier small satellite technology company, today announced it has received the Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration for its design of miniature X-band transponders for small satellites. The recognition was given for AeroAstro’s work under a grant by the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR).

Named after Roland Tibbetts, a key proponent of SBIR, the annual awards will be presented in a ceremony at the Executive Office Building next to the White House on October 3, 2000. Key criteria given to win an award were, (1) economic impact of technological innovation, and (2) business achievement and effective collaborations.

Sixty-one (61) Tibbetts Awards were granted in a nationwide competition among small businesses and organizations, government agencies, universities and individuals. The winners were selected from thousands of companies and organizations that are working under SBIR contracts nationwide.

Nominated by Dr. James Chern, the NASA Goddard SBIR Program Manager, AeroAstro has designed its new transponder, smaller than a coffee mug, to be twelve times lighter and nine times smaller than previous communications systems, and require only one-fourth the voltage and half as much power. With a weight of less than 300 grams and 750 kilobit-per-second capability, they will communicate directly with ground stations on Earth.

The transponders will be flown on NASA’s Space Technology 5 (ST5) Nanosatellite Constellation Trailblazer mission. A part of the New Millennium Program, ST5 will fly three identical nanosatellites in formation in elliptical Earth orbit as preparation for nanosatellite missions involving up to hundreds of spacecraft. The miniaturized transponders are one of a number of advanced technologies to be demonstrated on the mission.

Dr. Rick Fleeter, President and CEO of AeroAstro, said, “We are honored to receive this national distinction that covers both the commercial space industry and the business community at large and are proud of the performance of AeroAstro’s engineering team. In addition to their use by NASA, our X-band transponders, with several customization options, are available commercially and will enable the next generation of miniature satellite applications.”

AeroAstro designed their award-winning space communications system by leveraging commercial technology from cell phones, Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) and Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) television.

Apioneer of micro- and nano-spacecraft applications in science, remote sensing and communications, AeroAstro led the trend towards high technology in miniature satellites ¾ now the industry standard ¾ with its highly successful ALEXIS satellite begun in 1988 and currently in its seventh year operating on-orbit.

AeroAstro is now paving the way to a new age of space communications with flexible tools that enable users to benefit from unprecedented access to space systems. AeroAstro has designed, constructed, tested and supported the launch of several small satellites. It has created numerous design programs and manufactures low-cost communications systems for ground and inter-satellite applications. NASA, the Air Force, and commercial and university customers have all employed AeroAstro throughout its 12-year history.

For more information about AeroAstro, call Dr. Rick Fleeter at 703-709-2240, David Goldstein at 617-451-8630, visit www.aeroastro.coma, write AeroAstro, 327 A Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02210 or e-mail

Note to editors please feel free to acces Aeroastros press room.


Dr. Rick Fleeter

AeroAstro, Inc.


David Goldstein

AeroAstro, Inc.


Don Levin

Levin Public Relations


Willy Gissen

Levin Public Relations