Richard Sarmento

Grad Research Assistant
Graduate Assistant/Associate
TEMPE Campus

Student Information

Graduate Student
Liberal Arts & Sciences


I'm heading back to school after a long hiatus... I've always been interested in astrophysics. So why not!

A bit about me.

I'm one of the founders of KinetX, Inc., an aerospace engineering firm here in Tempe. We specialize in satellite systems engineering. I started the company with some friends from Lockheed back in 1993. We've grown to about 55 employees and work on everything from low-earth orbiting military satellites to deep space navigation for NASA.

Personally, I like to exercise: I've completed IRONMAN Arizona. I hold a private pilot's license with an instrument rating. I'm also a Commander in the Navy where I'm the commanding officer of the Office of Naval Intelligence 0194 detachment in Camp Parks, CA

Research Interests

I study the first stars.

I'm interested in the transition from the very first stars (Population III stars) to 'normal' star formation. I use large scale simulations that model the relevant physics to investigate this transition.

Research Group


Board member for KinetX, Inc. from 1993-2014.

Industry Positions

Boeing, Chandler AZ                                                                           2005 –  Oct 2016

Hosted Payload Ops Center – Software Dev Lead                           2013- Oct 2016

Lead software engineer for the IRIDIUM satellite Hosted Payload Operations Center. I was responsible for requirements analysis, design and the development of the Hosted Payload Operations Center. The Hosted Payload is an aircraft transponder receiver payload on the NEXT IRIDIUM satellite. The Hosted Payload (HPL) receives aircraft transponder broadcasts, converts them to aircraft tracks and forwards the information to NAVCANADA and the FAA.


IRIDIUM Ground System - Senior Software Engineer                                         2005-2013

Software systems engineer for the IRIDIUM satellite constellation. Responsible for designing and implementing fixes and enhancements to IRIDIUM ground control software. Primarily responsible for Mission Planning and Control software. Software developed in C++ on a UNIX network with distributed object infrastructure.

Part of IRIDIUM NEXT (replacement satellite network) design team. Perform system requirements analysis for the purposed system. Team lead for Hosted Payload Controller development.

Key Accomplishments:

Analyzed the IRIDIUM satellite network to determine likely failure modes and associated mitigation strategies.  Designed and developed a methodology & software to schedule connectivity to disconnected satellite sub-networks using otherwise idle ground resources.

Mapped SVs with component failures and special constraints to pseudo-SVs so that the linear constraint model could be used to generate contact schedules.

Supported requirements development for the IRIDIUM NEXT Preliminary and Critical design reviews.

Orbital Sciences, Chandler AZ                                                              2003 – 2004

Senior Software Engineer – Launch Vehicle Telemetry

Designed and developed C++ telemetry processing and analysis software for Orbital launch vehicles.

Spectrum Astro, Gilbert AZ                                                                   1999 – 2003

Senior Software Engineer – Low Earth Orbit Constellation Simulation

Developed a simulation of LEO constellation for theater level missile warning system on a cluster of Linux PCs. Technologies used include C++ and OpenGL as well as in-house developed graphics libraries.