Dr. Robert (Bob) A. Nelson was an engineer’s engineer. He was a well-respected first as a physics teacher, and then after earning his PhD, as a satellite communications expert, an author, a consultant and an instructor for the Applied Technology Institute course Satellite Communication Systems Engineering. Bob was president of Satellite Engineering Research Corporation, a consulting firm in Bethesda, Maryland. He also served for a number of years as the Technical Editor for Via Sat magazine. He was a coauthor of the textbook Satellite Communications Systems Engineering (second edition).
Dr. Nelson was born in Mount Vernon, New York August 14, 1944. Bob died on Sunday April 28, 2013 after a many month battle with cancer. In spite of the cancer he remained professionally active until the end teaching, and even chairing a technical session during the Satellite 2013 conference in April 2013. He will be missed.
Dr. Nelson performed studies on satellite communications, orbit and constellation analysis, and spacecraft design for Space Systems/Loral, GLOBALSTAR, ICO, Sirius Satellite Radio, Arinc, NASA, Naval Research Laboratory, and many other companies and government agencies.
Dr Nelson earned a degree in Engineering Physics from Lehigh University and decided that he was called to the teaching profession. He went on to complete a Master of Education from Lehigh and became a Physics and Math teacher for 15 years in Armonk, New York. His interest in Physics continued to grow and Bob his PhD in Physics from the University of Maryland He was a licensed Professional Engineer. He taught in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland and the long-running short course Satellite Communication Systems Engineering for ATIcourses.
Dr. Nelson’s clients included Space Systems/Loral, GLOBALSTAR, ICO, Arinc, Naval Research Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace, NASA and many other companies and government agencies. He was an active member of the Space and Satellite community and was recently moderator at the Satellite 2013 session “Quest to Defy Physics: Ka-band and Rain Attenuation”. He is coauthor of the textbook Satellite Communication Systems Engineering, 2nd ed. (Prentice Hall, 1993). Dr. Nelson was the Technical Editor of Via Satellite magazine. He was a member of IEEE, AIAA, APS, AAPT, AAS, IAU, and ION.
Essays on Space and Satellite Communications — by Robert A. Nelson
- Advances in Spacecraft Technology
- Antennas: The Interface With Space
- Earth Station High Power Amplifiers — KPA, TWTA, or SSPA?
- Earth Station Technology — The Smarts Behind the Dish
- The Global Positioning Satellite
- The International System of Units (SI)
- Iridium: From Concept to Reality
- Modulation, Power, and Bandwidth — Tradeoffs in Communication Systems Design
- A Primer on Satellite Communications
- What Is the Radius of the Geostationary Orbit?
- Rain — How It Affects the Communications Link
- Rocket Science — Technology Trends in Propulsion
- Satellite Constellation Geometry
- Spacecraft Battery Technology
- V-Band — Expansion of the Spectrum Frontier
Dr Nelson was a respected and trusted colleague who had a passion and dedication for everything that he did.