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Stanford “Scott” Smith

- January 31, 2020

Stanford Scott Smith, age 61, of Evergreen passed Friday, January 31, 2020.

Born in Ohio in 1958, Scott passed away following complications with a lengthy illness in Jan 2020 in hospital near his family home in Colorado.

Scott is survived by his wife, Roxanne; 3 children, Adrianne, Lauren, and Nathan; and 5 grandchildren, Michael, Joshua, Kaelynn, Alana, and Bowie.

Scott received his Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University and Masters in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University.

He was a brilliant pioneer in the space technology industry, with a career spanning nearly 40 years of bringing his talents to companies such as Lockheed Martin, Space Imaging, Digital Globe, and Iridium. Scott was an invaluable board member of such companies as Rocket Lab, Skybox, and Iris Automation, and his passion for mentoring innovative aerospace startups led him to devote his expertise to Bessemer Venture Partners, even after he retired as Chief Operating Officer of Iridium in 2018, where he was pivotal to the successful launch of the constellation of 66 Iridium NEXT satellites via SpaceX rockets. He received numerous professional accolades and awards in the aerospace industry.

In his personal life, Scott was an avid collector of exotic cars. He enjoyed off-roading adventures and piloting drones, was ecstatic about finally traveling for pleasure instead of business, and remained enthusiastic about great classic rock artists and films. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family and playing with his grandchildren. He will be missed greatly by all whose lives he touched, especially his loving family.

Some of Scott’s associations have written articles in memory of him and his accomplishments in the Aerospace Industry – 

In Memoriam: Stanford Scott Smith | Rocket Lab

In Memoriam: Stanford Scott Smith

Contributions in memory of Stanford Scott Smith may be made to – 

Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center




22 Responses

  1. Manny (& Sue) DiMiceli says:

    I will forever cherish my memories of working with Scott on Iridium. The many projects he worked on benefited from his superior technical and leadership skills. His enthusiasm for the next challenge was inspiring. We hope Scott’s family is consoled by the fact that he was held in high esteem by all who worked with him and their fond memories of Scott.

    • Roxanne says:

      Hello Manny,

      I remember you two working at Lockheed in the earlier years. I sometimes wish we’d never left there. But I could never return to California. You were right to leave!!

      Our lives changed so dramatically after he moved us to CO for Space Imaging, then DG, etc. Those 38 years passed too quickly and were not all spent together due to his travel for his jobs, which he really poured himself into heart and soul.

      We had little time at the end once he retired. We often mused and hoped it wouldn’t happen like those you’d see at the back of the Lockheed Star. But…

      I hope you are both happy and well. Thanks again for your kind thoughts.


  2. Kirk Schreiner says:

    Roxanne and family
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    The Schreiner family

  3. Don Thoma says:

    We will forever be indebted to Scott for his leadership of Iridium NEXT and his unwavering support of Aireon. Without him we would not be where we are.

    On a personal note he was a friend, supporter and mentor for me and countless others.

    He will be greatly missed.

    • Roxanne says:

      I know Scott was highly regarded by many and am glad he was such a good friend and mentor to you.

      I can’t stop the feeling I lost the last 10 years sharing him with Iridium. He was so focused on making that company the success it is by getting all the satellites successfully launched, and felt he completed that mission. He began in 1990, so really this has been a lifelong quest for him.

      I will miss him every day, even though I still haven’t accepted he’s gone.

      Thank you for the thoughts.

  4. Ron & Sandi Koons says:

    Roxanne and Family –
    Ron and I were shocked and sad to hear
    about Scott’s passing.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    He will be missed.

    • Roxanne says:

      Thank you for your reply. Sorry I missed you at the memorial. I will persevere with my family, but will miss him every day. I still await his return from a trip…


  5. Tom Heyl says:

    I was deeply saddened to hear of Scott’s passing; a good man who will be missed. My sincere condolences to his family.

  6. Andy Cleland says:

    Our thoughts are with Scott’s family at this difficult time. We knew Scott from our work with him over several years when he worked at Iridium. It was such a shock to hear this very sad news. Scott will leave a gap in the lives of all the people he touched through his life. That includes the team at CCL.

    We recognised Scott as a strong leader and held him in high regard.

    Please accept the condolences of the CCL team in Cambridge UK.

    • Roxanne says:

      I appreciate your thoughts for us. I am still in denial. It’s as if he’s just on one of many trips and he should walk through the door. That is hard.

      I regret not being able to meet you a couple years ago when he had to cancel the trip due my bad flu.

      I know he liked your team of guys out there.

      Thank you for your reply.

      In grief,

  7. John Campbell says:

    I was shocked and saddened to hear of Scott’s passing. He was a good friend and mentor and played an enormous role in Iridium’s success. It was a pleasure to work with him and watch him lead his team. He was a straight shooter and loved fast cars and I value the time I spent with him
    John Campbell
    LT Gen USAF (Ret)

    • Roxanne says:

      Thank you for your kind words about Scott. I remember many years ago you came to our house for dinner. Probably during the DG years. Scott always spoke very highly of you I recall. I’m just now getting to the replies.

      I know he will be missed by many in the industry, but no one will miss him more than myself and our children. Sadly, half our 38 years of marriage were spent traveling and working to help said industry. We had little time left once he retired before he became ill. He refused to let me notify anyone until it was too late.

      As an aside, I was shocked and saddened to find that nothing was said or released about his passing or accomplishments by Iridium Satellite, Inc. Between you and me, it’s telling. Rocket Lab, Bessemer Venture Partners, and others immediately gave heartfelt, sincere memorials to him on their websites.

      I just thought you should know how the company that took the last 10 years of his (and our) life felt about him. A small “tweet” means nothing.

      Thank you again for your kind words and allowing me to vent.

      In loving memory of Scott,

  8. Jim Shaneyfelt says:

    I’m shocked and saddened to hear of Scott’s passing. I had the pleasure of working with Scott after the Lockheed team arrived in Chandler to work on the Iridium program in 1990, and again when he was my boss until my retirement from the company in 2016. Scott was a great engineer and boss. Sincere condolences and best wishes to his family as you celebrate his life.

    • Roxanne says:

      Thanks for the thoughts. I remember vividly the 1990 year he worked in Chandler. I was “Laura Engles Wilder” like Little House on the Prairie. Every time he’d pull away from our house, something would go wrong at home and I’d have to figure out the water pump, the wood burning stove, electrical issues. But I persevered until his return.

      Each time he left, it was always great to have him home again. I only with he’d retired sooner, but then who would have completed his mission!?

      If only Iridium could have posted something about his passing. Curious.

      Thanks again,

  9. John Neer says:

    Scott was a colleague and friend for over 30 years. His engineering excellence is unsurpassed in the aerospace industry I have worked in for over 50 years. He was a pleasure to work with and when it came time to change the world’s communication with Iridium(block 1 and 2), he was with me. When it came time for us to start Space Imaging and usher in the “Age of Transparency” he was there at the “dawn” giving birth to IKONOS.
    He is leaving the world a better place that he found it and few are able to claim that…and he never did.
    We have lost a friend, a colleague, someone we all looked up to and learned from. He made us look good because of what he did never seeking more than a heartfelt thanks and a pat on the back…
    To Roxanne and the family know your husband and father is at rest; the fight is over but his memories last forever.

    • Roxanne says:

      Thank you John for everything you did regarding the memorial service. It was a wonderful presentation and so much information was learned by so many who thought they knew about who he was. Myself included in some of it.

      I must let you know how grateful I am for your contact and advice.

      Take care and be healthy,


  10. Richard Tortorelli says:

    It was an honor to work for Scott. I will miss him.

  11. Frank Buntschuh says:

    I am honored and privileged to have worked with and for Scott on both generations of Iridium. His presence is missed.

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