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Richard French

Business Development and Strategy, Space Systems
Rocket Lab


Richard French is Director of Business Development and Strategy for Rocket Lab’s Space Systems Division, leading strategy and business development for the Photon family of small spacecraft and spacecraft components. He spent over a decade at JPL, where he led development of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator program, managed technology partnerships with industry, and spent two years on detail to NASA HQ as a Staff Technologist in STMD, leading development of the Tipping Point and Announcement of Collaborative Opportunity. His earlier career includes a lead mechanical systems engineering role on the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission, helping to land the Curiosity Rover on Mars as a member of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) entry, descent, and landing systems engineering team, and supporting design of the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) forebody headshield. He holds a M.Eng. in space systems engineering and a B.S.E. in aerospace engineering, both from the University of Michigan.


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