LeoStella has appointed aerospace and technology industry leader Tim Kienberger to succeed Mike Hettich as CEO. Hettich has retired from LeoStella after leading the company since 2019.
LeoStella is a 50-50 joint venture between Thales Alenia Space, a French-Italian aerospace company, and BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY), a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence.
Kienberger takes the helm of LeoStella during a time of significant market growth when the demand for small satellites is expected to triple over the next few years. He will continue this growth and lead the company in developing new products and refining its manufacturing techniques to meet the increasing demand for smallsats.
Kienberger joins LeoStella with three decades of aerospace and defense technology experience, leading market strategy, operations management, program execution and business growth in small spacecraft emerging markets at companies including Boeing and L3Harris. Kienberger has led teams through successful rapid development, launch and operations of small spacecraft constellations while meeting cost, schedule and technical performance goals.
“Tim’s leadership will play a critical role as LeoStella capitalizes on the growing market demand for mission-flexible commercial small satellite products and services at scale,” said BlackSky CEO, Brian E. O’Toole. “His proven experience guiding business growth will be important for the next chapter of success, particularly as LeoStella moves into production on BlackSky’s next generation of satellites.”
“We warmly welcome Tim as the new CEO of LeoStella,” said Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “Teaming up with BlackSky to create LeoStella has been instrumental for Thales’ new space strategy, and we are proud of the many successes and achievements we have accomplished together. Tim’s leadership will be important in addressing new market opportunities as LeoStella emerges as a market leader of smallsat manufacturing and constellation development.”