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David Finkleman

AOE Advisory Board
  • Ph.D., 1968, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • M.S., 1964, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • B.S., 1963, Aerospace Engineering, VA Tech

Dave has failed retirement three times.  Col, USAF(Ret), Assistant Director of Labs and Assistant Chief Technical Officer of the Air Force, Federal Senior Executive Service (Chief Technical Officer, United States Space Command and NORAD), and Senior Scientist (Analytical Graphics, Inc.).  He is currently Chief Engineer for SkySentry, LLC, which conducts communication and surveillance missions with satellites, high altitude airships, aircraft, and aerostats.  He is an active Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute of Space Law, through peer election.  There are only a few hundred so recognized in the world.  He contributes to diverse studies of those organizations.  He devotes considerable effort to leading the Space Operations Working Group of the International Organization for Standardization and Working Group 7a of the International Telecommunications Union.  He is a lecturer for the International Space University.


  • VA Tech Academy of Engineering Excellence
  • International Academy of Astronautics
  • International Institute for Space Law
  • AIAA Bronze Medal for Excellence in Standardization
  • Lifetime Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Fellow of the American Astronautical Society
  • Fellow of the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International
  • Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal
  • Legion of Merit
  • Navy Distinguished Service Medal
  • OSD Distinguished Civilian Service Medal
  • Associate Member, American Bar Association


Over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals, conference proceedings, AIAA educational books, and popular magazines in diverse disciplines including operations research, laser physics, computational gasdynamics, aerodynamics, guidance and control, and technical policy, law, and regulation. 

Industry Experience:

Present:  Chief Engineer SkySentry, LLC

2004-2014:  Senior Scientist, Analytical Graphics, Inc.

1985-2004:  Chief Technical Officer, US Space Command, NORAD, AF Space Command, and US Northern Command.

1984-1985:   Director of Kinetic Energy Weapons, Strategic Defense Initiative

1983-1984:   Director of Technology and Systems, Army Ballistic Missile Defense Organization

1973-1983:  Deputy Program Manager, Navy Directed Energy Weapons Project (PM-22)


Academic Experience:

Associate Professor of Aeronautics, United States Air Force Academy, 1967-1973

Adjunct Professor of Aeronautics, University of Maryland

Lecturer, International Space University

Dave is a well-recognized authority in space debris and satellite collision and operational safety.  He is an active contributor to that research and literature and participates in many small satellite projects.  He conducts and collaborates in research projects and publications in space operations policy, satellite aerodynamics, and engineering education.   His interests are diverse, and he continues to conduct research and to publish.  He is currently deep into analysis of the stability of the space environment.