Maj. Gen. John G. Rossi Credit: U.S. Army.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Rossi, who was scheduled to become the Army’s top space officer on Aug. 2, died July 31 at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, the service said in a press release.

Maj. Gen. John G. Rossi Credit: U.S. Army.
Maj. Gen. John G. Rossi Credit: U.S. Army.

The cause of death was under investigation, the Army said. Rossi was expected to lead U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Maj. Gen. John G. Rossi’s family,” Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, said in an Aug. 1 press release. “We share their grief during this time of loss. Our priority right now is to take care of the family, ensuring they have all the resources they need during this critical time.”

Rossi, 55, had previously served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He was schedule to replace Lt. Gen. David Mann, who led the Army’s space efforts since August 2013.

The Army’s is the Defense Department’s largest consumer of space capabilities, primarily through satellite communications.

In recent years, the Army has studied a rocket concept for launching small, low-orbiting satellites on short notice. In October, it launched three experimental communications cubesats on a mission with the National Reconnaissance Office. Those satellites are being used to help develop radios that provide beyond-line-of-sight communication for users in remote locations.

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.