Robert Briskman


Robert Briskman
Associated organizations
Sirius XM Radio, Telecommunications Engineering Consultants, Geostar Corporation
Judith Resnik Space Award, IEEE Centennial Medal, Glenn L. Martin Medal


Robert D. Briskman is President of Telecommunications Engineering Consultants (TEC) which provides technical services to clients involving communications, broadcast and navigation systems, particularly those utilizing satellites. Previously he was Co-Founder, Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President, Engineering of Sirius Satellite Radio since 1991 and then Technical Executive of Sirius XM Radio. He has been involved with communication satellite systems since their inception. Mr. Briskman, the technical innovator of mobile satellite radio services, was responsible for the development, implementation and operation of Sirius Satellite Radio’s broadcast distribution system. His technology development responsibility included design of low cost satellite receiving terminals for automobiles and of broadcast sound programming, earth station, terrestrial repeaters and satellite control facilities. During 2000, Briskman launched three Sirius satellites into a unique operational orbital constellation which he designed. The mobile subscriber radios use his patented space and time diversity technology.

Prior to Sirius XM Radio, Briskman was with the Geostar Corporation from 1986-1990. He was responsible at Geostar for the development, design, implementation and operation of the Radio Determination Satellite Service provided by Geostar, which allowed positioning and message communications between mobile users nationwide and their dispatch centers. Briskman directed the construction of Geostar’s space segment, the control and operations center and the development of the mobile terminals used on land, sea and airborne vehicles built by the SONY, Hughes Network Systems and Kenwood Corporations. He was responsible for the development of a miniaturized handheld transceiver by Motorola, which was the world’s smallest satellite earth terminal. Briskman served as Senior Vice President, Engineering.

Briskman was employed by the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) in January 1964, and was responsible initially for satellite command and control activities, including those involved with the launching of INTELSAT I (Early Bird). He was later a Department Manager in the Transmission Systems Division, where he was involved with the development and implementation of the INTELSAT global communications system. Among his efforts, early work in demand assigned single carrier per channel, radio frequency interference minimization and terrestrial interconnection was accomplished. Mr. Briskman was responsible from 1967-1973 for the technical planning involved with the provision of domestic communications services via satellites, including AT&T’s satellite systems.

Briskman joined COMSAT General Corporation on its founding in 1973 and was Assistant Vice President, Space and Information Systems. He was responsible for the COMSTAR satellite system, the development of earth resource and information systems, and the implementation of the first remote satellite data collection system in conjunction with the United States Geological Survey and Telesat Canada. He directed the construction of the Southbury and Santa Paula earth stations which were used for command and control of both MARISAT and COMSTAR satellites and for shore communications to the Atlantic and Pacific MARISAT satellites. Briskman joined Satellite Business Systems in mid-1977 where he was responsible for the Pre-Operational Program which provided voice and data communications services to many IBM facilities in the United States using the first demand-assigned, time division multiple access system ever placed in commercial operations.

Briskman returned to COMSAT General in 1980 where he was responsible as Vice President, Systems Implementation for the engineering of satellites, earth stations and communications technical facilities of COMSAT General and of clients, both within and external to COMSAT. His organization provided a complete range of technical services nationally and internationally, including those involved with software, spectrum engineering and teleconferencing. Briskman was responsible for the PALAPA (Indonesia’s domestic satellite system), MORELOS (Mexico’s domestic satellite system), ARABSAT and ITALSAT programs as well as for providing support to the INMARSAT, INTELSAT, STC (Direct broadcast), TELSTAR-3, ALASCOM, SATCOL, UNISAT, INTELMET, NORDSAT, CHINASAT AND CAMEROON programs.

Prior to COMSAT, Mr. Briskman joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during its founding in 1959. At NASA, Briskman was Chief of Program Support for the Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition. He was involved with the development of ground instrumentation for such projects as APOLLO, GEMINI, RANGER, MARINER, and ECHO. Briskman received the APOLLO Achievement Award from NASA for the design and implementation of the Unified S-Band System. Before NASA, he was employed by IBM in 1954 and worked on the design of the first asynchronous buffer system. After two years of military service as an Electronic Countermeasures Analyst Officer, for which he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Briskman was employed by the Army Security Agency. He was engaged in communications systems development and analysis.

Mr. Briskman is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow and past Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President for Technical Activities and Director of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) which gave him the 2008 IEEE AESS Pioneer Award for communications satellite development and the 2017 Judith Resnik Space Award. He has been President of the Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society, Director of the National Telecommunications Conference, Chairman of the EASCON Board of Directors, and Chairman of the IEEE Standards Board. Mr. Briskman has authored over seventy technical papers, holds many United States and foreign patents and is a licensed professional engineer. He is a Fellow of the AIAA, which gave him its 2007 Aerospace Communications Award, and the Washington Academy of Science, past President of the Washington Society of Engineers, and a member of IAA, AFCEA and the Old Crows. Mr. Briskman has been the Consulting Editor, Telecommunications for the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology over the past decade. He is also a recipient of the IEEE Centennial Medal and has been inducted into the SSPI Hall of Fame, the Space Technology Hall of Fame by the Space Foundation and the CEA Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame. Mr. Briskman has served for a decade on the Boards of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) where he was a former President. He is the recipient of the NABA International Achievement and the IAF Hall of Fame Awards. Mr. Briskman holds a B.S.E. degree from Princeton University and an M.S.E.E. degree from the University of Maryland which gave him in 2007 its Technology Business Leadership Award, in 2010 inducted him into its Innovation Hall of Fame and awarded him the Glenn L. Martin Medal in 2017.

Further Reading

Robert Briskman oral history

Secrets, Satellites and Howard Stern: From Cold War Derring-do to Sirius Radio, How Robert Briskman M.S. ’61 Helped Build the Foundations of Technologies That Define Modern Life