PE PROFILE
Micro Aerospace Solutions, Inc. - Don Platt - President

Don Platt’s vision for space travel is that it should be accessible to as many people as possible. And he’s doing everything he can to share that vision and make it a reality.

Platt founded his company, Micro Aerospace Solutions (MAS) in Melbourne, Fla., to specialize in low-cost, innovative solutions to aerospace systems engineering challenges. The company concentrates on thruster, propulsion, attitude control, command and data handling, computer and communications systems for small and nanosatellites. MAS also offers spacecraft and system testing, data collection and monitoring systems and manned spacecraft display and control systems.

Platt says his goal is to contribute to lowering the cost of access to space. “If the price of space exploration is lowered, I think that other organizations would be interested in sponsoring space missions,” he said. “If we are to continue our exploration of space, we must lower the costs in these times of tight budgets.”

As an assistant professor at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), Platt communicates his vision to students of the Space Systems master’s degree program. He holds master’s degrees from FIT in space systems and aerospace engineering.

Now, small businesses that turn to SATOP for technical assistance also will benefit from Platt’s expertise. MAS became a SATOP Bronze Alliance Partner in July 2005 and wrapped up its first Request for Technical Assistance (RTA) in less than a month.

“Don’s expertise in electronics and micro-propulsion systems make him a great
fit for SATOP,” said Chris Gilfriche, SATOP Florida senior program engineer (and a former graduate student of Platt’s). “And while he has a vast technical background, he still has a very hands on approach that is so helpful when working with our requestors.”

Platt says that SATOP’s goal of assisting small businesses resonates with him because his own company is not large. “I know how it is to have a small business and need help with something, so I’m glad to be a resource to other small companies,” he said.

Like many engineers in the aerospace industry, Platt traces his love of space flight to his childhood. If he had to pinpoint a particular moment when his fascination with space travel crystallized, Platt says it was when he was four years old, watching one of the last Apollo launches. Video of the launch was set to the song “Light My Fire” by The Doors. “I was fascinated by fire and loved rockets, so right then and there I knew I wanted to ride a rocket into space. Yeah, I really wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid,” Platt said. He paused and added, “Hey, I STILL want to be an astronaut.”

One-on-one with Don Platt:

What job you would have had if you had not become an engineer and why?
I would probably be a college professor. I teach some classes and enjoy teaching college students and sharing some of my experiences. When you teach you never really know the impact you have on the future.

Do you enjoy any pastimes not related to engineering?
I enjoy traveling and seeing different areas from the world. It gives you a new perspective. I also run as often as I can and watch most of the typical sports on TV.

Engineering project you wish you could have worked on:
Definitely the Apollo moon program.

Personal accomplishment(s) of which you are most proud:
Hopefully my best accomplishments are still ahead of me but so far I am proud of my two master's degrees.

What do you enjoy most about being a SATOP volunteer?
Helping people see their dreams of small business success come true.