Robert E. Berry Career Highlights
Robert E. Berry was a pioneer in the aerospace industry, playing a fundamental role in developing some of the world's most innovative communications.
A native of Atlantic City, N.J., Mr. Berry earned his bachelor of science degree from the Science School of Manhattan College in 1953 and a master's degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1958.
With outstanding contributions to the field spanning over five decades, Bob was the recipient of multiple awards.
Mr. Berry was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame in 2009 for his outstanding professional achievements and significant contributions to the Silicon Valley community.
In 2007, he was inducted into the Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) Hall of Fame.
When Mr. Berry was unanimously selected by an independent advisory board to receive the ISCe Lifetime achievement award, David Bross, ISCe Conference Chairman at the time, shared "Bob was instrumental in building today's communications satellite industry and his early recognition of the importance of commercial satellites was fundamental to the industry's direction."
In 2003, he received the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation Award for his leadership, creative engineering, and management role in the design and launch of more than 170 satellites.
In 1996, Mr. Robert E. Berry was selected for the Aerospace Communications Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Bob was an active member of professional associations including the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and the National Security Industrial Association.
He was a member of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Space Systems Technology Advisory Committee for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Mr. Berry was also named a Fellow of the AIAA in 1999 and held a Life Membership in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Launching his technology career in 1957, Mr. Berry was instrumental in providing three generations of satellite platforms to Intelsat, helping the intergovernmental consortium provide fixed satellite services to more than 149 countries, territories, and dependencies.
While Bob was most well known for his momentous role in the creation of today’s commercial satellite industry, he also held positions with Philco Ford Corporation, General Electric, and served as a U.S. Navy communications officer for three years in London. Bob worked in the Pentagon after being appointed as the Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering by U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1975 and he was also the founder and chief executive of IRT Corporation, a manufacturer of high technology products that pioneered the measurement of earth’s resources from space with maritime satellite communications.
A highly respected visionary, Robert E. Berry spent a significant portion of his career in leadership at Space Systems /Loral (SS/L). He was the general manager of Ford Aerospace’s Space Systems Division, SS/L’s predecessor company formed in 1977. During his tenure at SS/L, Bob Berry served as president, chairman and senior vice president.
When Bob retired from SSL in 2009, the chief executive officer at the time, Pat DeWitt shared, "Bob has truly inspired many at SS/L including myself. His contribution over the years to our company and the worldwide satellite industry will not be forgotten."
"Bob has truly inspired many at SS/L including myself. His contribution over the years to our company and the worldwide satellite industry will not be forgotten."
Mr. Berry hosted many global leaders at SSL to demonstrate Silicon Valley's leadership and the opportunities to improve the world with technology and space innovation. Visits included hosting congressional representative Anna Esshoo in 1999 and U.S. President George H. Bush at the SS/L facility during a visit to Palo Alto in 1989.
It was during his time at SS/L that Bob was responsible for the development and construction of more than 170 satellites. Bob also participated in the development and construction of an additional 63 satellites. Bob spearheaded the direction and development of some of the most innovative U.S. and international communications and meteorological satellite projects, supporting defense, civil and commercial applications. Under Mr. Berry’s leadership, SS/L became a major market leader in the satellite industry, reaching annual sales of more than $1.5 billion.
Mr. Berry led SS/L to preeminence in international satellite communications programs, with SS/L leading the market for very large satellites for global interconnectivity. Many of these satellites were pioneering space efforts, such as those for multiple frequency network satellites supporting direct-to-home TV broadcasting, audio broadcasting to cars, mobile user connections, combined communications and meteorology, defense communications, high speed internet connections, and air traffic control.
Under his direction, Ford Aerospace and SS/L pioneered spaceborne high power energy management technology, culminating in applications for direct broadcast and multipurpose satellites and the 125 KW system for the International Space Station.
In addition, Mr. Berry directed SS/L’s industry leading multiple beam and beam shaping antenna applications, its multiple launch low orbit small satellites, electric propulsion development, and its utilization of GPS for satellite tracking and ranging. He initiated and managed Ford Aerospace’s participation as a member of the Milstar industry team.
"My hope is to continue making a contribution to the ongoing expansion of satellite capabilities and satellite services." Robert E. Berry
Mr. Berry also developed new ventures for SS/L, including a commercial service for defense satellite communications, which eventually spun into several start-up companies.
Retiring at the age of 80, Robert E. Berry shared, "My hope is to continue making a contribution to the ongoing expansion of satellite capabilities and satellite services."
Friends and former colleagues are invited to share stories and reflections about Robert E. Berry Senior, 1928 -2018, on the memorial website to honor the many ways he's had a positive impact on people's lives.