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Faculty biographies

Rene Laufer

He is appointed as professor and head of subject, chaired professor of onboard space systems at the Kiruna Space Campus within the Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering of the Lulea University of Technology (LTU), Sweden, and is also an adjunct faculty at the Institute of Space Systems of the University of Stuttgart, Germany. Rene Laufer teaches astronomical, lunar and planetary exploration as well as space systems engineering and spaceflight – as a visiting lecturer also at universities in Germany, France, Italy and the USA. His research interests include small satellite technology and missions, in-situ and remote sensing instruments, future lunar and planetary exploration and utilisation. Rene Laufer is involved in small satellite related activities, projects as well as conferences and symposia and is one of the co-chairs of the Permanent Small Satellite Committee of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) of which he is a member since 2009.

From 2009 to 2020 he was an associate research professor at Baylor University, Texas, USA, and heading the Space Science Lab at the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER). Before he worked as a staff scientist and lecturer at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Space Systems in small satellite projects as well as instrument development. Until 2003 he worked for almost ten years at German Aerospace Center (DLR) in planetary exploration, supporting various missions (Galileo, Mars Pathfinder, Deep Space 1, Cassini, Mars Express) in testing, analysis and operations, systems administration as well as education and public outreach. Rene Laufer graduated in Aerospace Engineering at Technical University of Berlin, Germany and received his Ph.D. from the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He also was as a freelancer in event management, actively involved with the Berlin planetarium and observatory for more than ten years in lecturing and outreach. Rene Laufer likes traveling, motorcycling, skiing, archery, movies, arts and a lot of other things. Being an alumnus of the International Space University’s (ISU) Space Studies Program 2003 held in Strasbourg, he returned to ISU regularly until 2019 and chaired team projects and departments since 2006 in several countries. In January 2016 he was appointed an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town.