Hon. Assoc. Prof Rene Laufer Associate Research Professor and Head of CASPER Space Science Lab, Baylor University, Texas, USA as well as with the Institute of Space Systems of the University of Stuttgart, Germany (as a visiting scientist and adjunct faculty). He is appointed as an associate research professor heading CASPER’s Space Science Lab (SSL) and teaches astronomical, lunar and planetary exploration as well as systems engineering – 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 utilization. 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.
Until 2003 he worked 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 (Dipl.-Ing.) in Aerospace Engineering at Technical University of Berlin, Germany and received his Ph.D. (Dr.-Ing.) 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 returns to ISU regularly since 2004 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.