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SSPI Hall of Fame

The SSPI Hall of Fame recognizes the invaluable contributions of the visionaries who have transformed life on planet Earth for the better through satellite technology. Members of the Hall of Fame are recognized pioneers in communications, satellite-related aerospace, scientific research, or the development and delivery of applications for business, institutions and government via satellite.

Induction into the Hall of Fame will be based on a record of significant achievement in organizations that develop, operate and/or use satellite technology to achieve their mission. The Awards selection committee particularly favors achievements with lasting value such as:

  • The successful introduction of new or improved technologies or services
  • The creation of new businesses, business models or markets
  • Contributions to long-term organizational growth
  • The solution of new types of problems using satellite technology

Service to the industry through education, legal and regulatory advances and related contributions is also honored through the Hall of Fame.


13th Induction - 2013

SSPI will induct five new members into its Satellite Hall of Fame on March 19, 2013, at SSPI's annual Gala in Washington, DC.



Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. Since joining SES in 1995, Romain Bausch provided the leadership that transformed SES from a regional satellite company offering direct-to-home TV distribution in Europe to a global satellite operator serving broadcasters, telcos, enterprise, and government customers.





Robert Zitter, Executive Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, Home Box Office. Robert Zitter is responsible for HBO’s technology interests worldwide, overseeing satellite-based distribution, origination, production operations and engineering. Zitter’s career has included spearheading the introduction of digital compression technology, the development and launch of HBO HD and HBO On Demand and the founding of HBO’s businesses in Latin America, Asia and Europe.





Susan Irwin, President, Euroconsult US. Susan Irwin, one of the original founders and directors of SSPI, has more than 30 years experience researching and analyzing industry trends and developments on the use of satellite communications for voice, video and data. She was a pioneer of satellite distance learning, teleconferencing and business television and has been a key contributor to the commercial advancement of innovations such as DTH, digital compression and satellite broadband.





Prof. U. R. Rao, Chairman, the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad. More than any other single individual, Professor Rao is responsible for the creation of India’s space and satellite capabilities and their application to the nation’s development. Rao, who has published over 360 scientific and technical papers in various journals, has received many honors and awards, including the Padma Bhushan Award, a very high civilian award of the Government of India.





Dick Tauber, VP Transmission Systems & New Technology for the CNN News Group. Dick Tauber, a former member of the SSPI Board of Directors, is the current President of the Board of Directors of the Southeast Chapter of SSPI, which he helped found in 2005. Tauber has received three Emmy Awards for his work at CNN - 1986 for his part in Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s Goodwill Games, in 2002 honoring CNN’s coverage of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 and a Technical Emmy in 2007 for CNN’s mobile, IP newsgathering system.




12th Induction - 2011

SSPI inducted seven new members into its Satellite Hall of Fame at a ceremony on March 15, 2011, underwritten by KPMG.



Masanori Akiyama, President and CEO of Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation, for his visionary leadership in developing the satellite business in Japan from its inception with the first commercial Japanese satellite launched in 1989 to the formation, through mergers, of the fifth largest FSS provider in the world today.





Robert Bednarek, President and CEO of SES WORLDSKIES, for over 30 years as an industry innovator and leader in the top technology management position at PanAmSat, the first competitive international operator, and the top executive position at SES WORLDSKIES, one of the most successful satellite operators in today’s market.





Giuliano Berretta, Chairman of the Board of Eutelsat Communications, for two decades of leadership at Eutelsat, which he transformed from a treaty organization into a growing publicly-traded company with a market capitalization of 6bn euros.





Ellen Hoff, President of W.L. Prichard & Co., for the indelible mark she has made on the satellite industry by persuading satellite operators to introduce digital services and a wide range of smaller antennas to enhance the competitive position of the satellite sector.





Edward Horowitz, former CEO of SES AMERICOM, for his serial accomplishments in helping to build HBO as the first satellite-delivered cable programmer, innovative leadership of SES AMERICOM, and most recently, as co-founder of U.S. Space, which offers commercial, privately-financed military satellite communications to the U.S. Government and has joint-ventured with ATK to create ViviSat, provider of life extension services for on-orbit satellites.





Jean-Yves Le Gall, CEO of Arianespace, for a distinguished career in satellites spanning nearly 30 years, rising from a position as a researcher for a French star-mapping mission to leadership of two commercial launch services companies: Starsem, which brought the Soyuz launch vehicle to Western markets, and Arianespace, where he overcame problems with the Ariane 5 launcher to make the company a global leader in launch services.





Dean Olmstead, in a rare posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame, in recognition of a career that spanned government and industry, international and domestic assignments, leadership and Board positions with the most storied names in the business, and which, though cut short by illness, had a transformative impact on the industry.

11th Induction - 2009

SSPI inducted five new members into its Satellite Hall of Fame at an invitation-only ceremony on March 25, 2009, sponsored by Booz & Co.:

Dr. Denis Curtin, Chief Operating Officer, XTAR, for his influence on the industry over a four-decade career, including solar cell/solar array development at COMSAT Laboratories, head of engineering responsible for design, building and operation of the Loral Orion satellites, and subsequently chief operating officer of XTAR, the first commercial X-Band satellite system.
Mary Frost, for a distinguished career as head of operations for ABC, as president of GlobeCast America, one of the most innovative organizations in the industry, and in volunteer leadership positions with numerous industry trade groups.
Peter Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Asia Satellite Telecommunications, for three decades of executive leadership with British Telecom, Cable & Wireless, and as Chief Executive Officer of Asiasat since 1993, which he has grown into a diversified, publicly-traded satellite fleet operator.
Pradman Kaul, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Hughes Network Systems, for both business and technology leadership in a long career with Hughes, which included development of the TDMA satellite communications system, VSAT technology, digital set-top boxes and the Internet Protocol over Satellite standard.
D.K. Sachdev, President, SpaceTel Consultancy, for a professional career devoted to innovation in satellite, first with an Indian manufacturer of earth stations, then with Intelsat and Worldspace, and finally as a professor of engineering at George Mason University.

Tenth Induction - 2007

Robert Berry, Chairman of Space Systems/Loral, for leadership in providing three generations of satellites to Intelsat, the US Department of Defense and other customers and introducing key direct broadcast, mobile and other satellite technologies.
Laurier Boisvert, President and CEO (retired) of Telesat Canada, for the transformation of Telesat Canada from an unprofitable national service provider into a vibrant international competitor in satellite services and pioneer in commercializing the Ka frequency band.
Mary Ann Elliott, Chairman and CEO of Arrowhead Global Communications, for entrepreneurship in the founding of Arrowhead Global and its growth into a major provider of end-to-end communications solutions to the U.S. Federal government.
Dr. Yasuo Hirata, Chairman of KDDI R&D Laboratories, for major contributions to the development of digital mobile satellite communications systems and technologies, including the INMARSAT Standard-B system and "punctured” forward error correction techniques.
Conny Kullman, Chairman (retired) of Intelsat, for leadership of Intelsat through its transformation from an intergovernmental organization into a privately-held operator of terrestrial networks and the world's largest commercial satellite fleet.
Dr. Delbert Smith, Senior Telecommunications Counsel, Jones Day, for his instrumental role in the recovery of the Palapa B2 and Westar VI satellites, which greatly strengthened the satellite insurance industry, and for originating the first satellite communications publication and conference.

Ninth Induction - 2005

Steven Dorfman, as an innovator in a series of positions with Hughes Electronics that helped pioneer the "cable neighborhood” concept and catalyze the growth of the cable and Direct to the Home (DTH) Satellite industries.

Eddy Hartenstein, for co-founding and providing the business leadership that built DIRECTV into the dominant DTH service in the United States.
Polly Rash Hollis, for her leadership in the public, educational and health applications of satellites, championing of the ACTS experimental satellite and her service to the Society of Satellite Professionals International and in the founding of the annual Gala and Hall of Fame programs.

Dr. Clay T. Whitehead, for contributions as a policymaker who fostered creation of the US "Open Skies” policy and as a business executive who was instrumental in founding Hughes Communications in the US and Astra in Europe.

Takuya Yoshida, as the former chairman of JSAT and innovator in the development of digital satellite broadcasting satellite services in Japan.

Eighth Induction - 2003

William "Mac" Evans, Former President of the Canadian Space Agency, recipient of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, and the Outstanding Achievement Award for Public Service in Canada.
David E. Hershberg, Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Globecomm Systems Inc.
Dr. Takashi Iida, Executive Director of the Japanese Space Exploration Agency (JAXA), former President of Communications Research Lab (CRL) of Japan (now National Institute for Information and Communications Technology), General Chairman of the AIAA International Communications Satellite Systems Conference 21 in Yokohama, Japan.
Peter Marshall, Former CEO and General Manager of Visnews, Former President of Keystone Communications, First SSPI Vice President for International Liaison, and Former SSPI President, Fellow of Britain’s Royal Television Society and founder of the North American Chapter of the same.

Seventh Induction - 2001

  • Robert D. Briskman, An early leading engineer of the Comsat Corporation who was the technical designer and one of the founders of the Sirius Satellite audio broadcasting system.
  • Professor Kazuhiro Miyauchi, One of the leading professors of Japan in the field of digital communications satellites.
  • Dr. Joseph N. Pelton, Founding president of SSPI, founder of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, former Dean of the International Space University and author of many books on satellite communications.
  • Noah A. Samara, Founder of the Worldspace Satellite Network and pioneer in obtaining frequencies for direct audio broadcasting via satellite.
  • Robert N. Wold, Founder of Wold Communications, one of the early consolidators of broadcast video traffic via satellite, which evolved through mergers into what is now GlobeCast America.

Sixth Induction - 1999

  • John A. Johnoson, One of the authors of the Communications Satellite Act of 1962 and First Chairman of the initial oversight committee of Intelsat.
  • Takuro Muratani, Top engineer of KDD who undertook leading work in digital coding and especially in digital mobile satellite engineering.
  • John G. Puente, Founder of Digital Communications Corporation that led in the development of TDMA and digital satellite systems that eventually became Hughes Network Systems.

Fifth Induction - 1997

  • Dr. Burton I. Edelson, Associate Administrator of NASA responsible for the ACTS Satellite, the Hubble Telescope, the Galileo Mission to Jupiter, and the Explorer Mission that confirmed the "Big Bang."
  • Olof Lundberg, The Founding Director General of Inmarsat.
  • Dr. Ken-Ichi Miya, Top engineer of KDD Labs, Intelsat Technical Committee Chair and author of a major text on satellite communications.
  • Dr. Wilbur Pritchard, First Director of Comsat Labs, designer of some of the world’s first defense communications satellite systems and author in the field. He was also the first Chairman of the SSPI International Advisory Council and a Founding member of the SSPI.

Fourth Induction - 1993

  • Rene Anselmo, The founder of the PanAmSat System that became the first serious international competitor to Intelsat.
  • Stanley Hubbard, The CEO and intellectual leader of the Hubbard Broadcast Company, who led development of one of the first direct broadcast satellite systems to be deployed in North America.
  • Sidney Metzger, The chief scientist of the Comsat Corporation, who led efforts to define the characteristics of the early Intelsat satellites and the Standard A and B earth stations.
  • Tadahiro Sekimoto, The chief scientist of the Comsat Corporation, who led efforts to define the characteristics of the early Intelsat satellites and the Standard A and B earth stations.

Third Induction - 1991

  • Dr. Joseph V. Charyk, The first President and then Chairman of the Board of Comsat. Comsat managed the interim Intelsat system as well as deployed Marisat satellite and owned and operated US domestic satellites.
  • Frederic d’Allest, The top executive of Arianespace who oversaw the development and successful launch of the first Ariane vehicles.
  • Sidney Topol, The very long-time leader of Scientific Atlanta whose company built many of the original Standard A Intelsat earth stations plus many of the earth station for many domestic satellite networks.

Second Induction - 1989

  • Santiago Astrain, The first Secretary General of Intelsat as well as the first Director General of the Intelsat system, who led the organization for over 10 years.
  • Andrea Caruso, One of key leaders at the dawn of the communications satellite era for both Telespazio and Intelsat, who went on to become the founding Director General of Eutelsat.
  • Leonard Jaffe, The top scientist and NAS engineer who designed and oversaw the deployment of NASA’s Applications Test Satellite (ATS) series from ATS-1 to -6 as well as the Communications Technology Satellite CTS.
  • Koji Kobayashi, The long-time CEO and Chairman of the NEC Corporation of Japan, who made famous the concept of an integrated C & C (Computers and Communications) enterprise.

First Induction - 1987

  • Arthur C. Clarke, Conceiver of the geosynchronous communications satellite in his famous 1945 Wireless World article, and author of 2001: the Space Odyssey and numerous works of science fact and fiction.
  • <Dr.William H. Pickering, Former head of JPL who, with James Van Allen, designed the Explorer 1 satellite that discovered the Van Allen Belt.
  • Dr. John R. Pierce, The Bell Labs scientist and engineer who led development of the Echo and Telstar communications satellites from which the communications satellite industry sprang.
  • Dr. Harold Rosen, The Hughes Aircraft designer and lead engineer of the first geostationary communications satellite, Syncom III, as well as Early Bird and dozens of the earliest communications satellites.
  • Adolph K. Thiel, an Austrian-born German expert in guided missiles on Wernher von Braun's teams in Germany and the USA, who supervised design of the Redstone and Thor rockets and was director of space projects when TRW developed the Explorer VI and Pioneer V robot spacecraft.
  • Dr. James A. Van Allen, Professor at Astrophysics who designed Explorer 1, America's first successful satellite, that discovered the Van Allen belts.
  • COSPAS/SARSAT, In the only Hall of Fame award to an organization rather than an individual, recognizing the hundreds of people around the world who developed, deployed and operated both the COSPAS and SARSAT satellite networks to carry out worldwide search and rescue operations for pilots and people lost at sea or in hazardous terrain.

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