Richard French, who spent 12 years at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has joined Rocket Lab as director of global government launch services.
The company said Thursday French will oversee small satellite launch and on-orbit service offerings for customers in the U.S. and international civili space markets.
He previously worked as the lead systems engineer on NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive mission and earned the Honors Early Career Public Achievement Medal from the agency for his efforts in that program.
French also held managerial positions in the space technology mission directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at the JPL Office of Space Technology, where he helped drive public-private partnerships and establish a startup accelertor program.
His appointment comes as Rocket Lab builds a second launch complex in Virginia to support government satellite missions and aims to introduce an on-orbit offering powered by company-built Photon satellite bus.
French holds both a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering and a master's degree in space engineering from University of Michigan.