top of page

Derek K. de Bastos

May 8, 1964 - August 2, 2021

Derek K. de Bastos, 57, of Greenwood Village, Colorado, was born on May 8, 1964, in Trenton, NJ, to Ricardo and Maria de Bastos. Derek graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

While Derek was raised in Mercer County, NJ, he claimed that he truly grew up at Lehigh under the nurturing of his brothers in Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep), many of whom were lifelong friends.

Upon graduation from Lehigh, Derek returned to Allentown, NJ to work as an RF payload engineer in RCA’s commercial communications satellite business. With the receipt of his very first paycheck, Derek went to Trenton-Robbinsville Airport (N87) to begin flying lessons. Derek’s incredible motivation and passion for flying allowed him to take his first solo flight less than 100 days after that first lesson, and he earned his pilot’s license that same year.

Professionally, Derek was equally motivated. His tenure at RCA spanned eleven years and four mergers, culminating into the company Lockheed Martin. It was at this job that he met his wife, Lisa (Kayton) de Bastos. By the time he left the East Windsor, NJ satellite facility in 1998, he had established himself as an industry leader in RF Satellite communications.

In 1998, Derek and Lisa married and relocated to Laytonsville, MD where all three of their children were born. In the DC area, Derek worked for Worldspace, a start-up company that broadcasted radio via satellite. Derek’s project within Worldspace eventually became XM Satellite Radio, fueling his proclamation that he was the first paid employee of XM Radio. Derek was the VP of Engineering for XM Satellite Radio, where he designed the XM radio delivery technology system and the signal test equipment. His second child is considered the youngest XM listener ever, as Derek had an XM test radio in the delivery room for her December 2001 birth—a full year before the service was offered to the public. In 2002, the United States Space Foundation inducted Derek into the Space Technology Hall of Fame for Satellite Radio Technology recognizing his design of the XM system—Derek taught himself the trajectory and orbital science required to make it all work. Also, while at XM, Derek incorporated his love for aviation into his job by assisting in the delivery of the XM datalink weather services, and even coined its name, XM-WX, a creative use of the mirror image of XM and the aviation abbreviation for weather.

In 2013, after a fifteen-year tenure at XM Radio (now SiriusXM), Derek relocated to Greenwood Village, CO with his wife, three children, a golden retriever, a cat, and a bearded dragon lizard for the opportunity to be the Chief Technology Officer for EchoStar Satellite Services. In this role, Derek was responsible for the procurement, technical direction, and technical operations of the company’s satellites and oversaw systems engineering and program management. He was still working in this capacity at the time of his death.

Derek also continued his commitment to flying and the flying community. He achieved many certifications, and eventually purchased his own dream airplane, a Beechcraft 58 Baron, that he personally painted and registered with a custom tail number, N875DB. The highly personal number represented: the year he received his Private Pilot’s license (87); the number of people in his family (5); and the monogram of his beloved family (DB). Which was more important, the flying or the family, we may never know.

Derek loved his new home in Colorado. He picked up big game and bird hunting alongside his companion, a Yellow Lab named Kelty (7). Derek enjoyed to ski, hike, and off-road his Jeep in the Rockies with his family. He was also a talented cook, a Level 3 Amateur Extra Class in Ham Radio, and an Advanced SCUBA Diver, all while continuing his first love of flying and even more challenging, formation flying.

The family had an annual tradition of attending EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI, through mass arrival with the “Bonanzas to Oshkosh” (B2Osh) group. The family attended and participated in B2Osh since 2005, never missing a year up to and including 2021, (except for Airventure’s cancelation in 2020). At the first Oshkosh, Derek’s youngest child slept in a Pack’N’Play instead of a sleeping bag, and the family packed a duffel full of nothing but diapers for the campsite. Derek called this the “happiest place on Earth,” and there he met his second group of brothers. In February 2020, he was elected to the Board of Directors for the American Bonanza Society (ABS). It is comforting that Derek’s final week was spent happily at Oshkosh ’21. Upon his return from the festival, he contracted Covid-19, and within 18 hours of testing positive, he lost the battle on August 2, 2021.

Derek is survived by his loving wife of 23 years Lisa F. (Kayton) de Bastos; his three children, Ricardo Alan (Ricky) 21, Class of 2022 cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, Kayton Sage (Kaytie) 19, a sophomore at the Pennsylvania State University, and Gianna Faye (Gia) 17, a senior at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, CO; his parents, Ricardo and Maria de Bastos of Lambertville, NJ; his brother and sister-in-law Jeffrey and Kelly de Bastos of Forked River, NJ, as well as many aunts, cousins, other relatives, and dear friends.

A Colorado visitation for family and friends will be held on Tuesday, August 17, 2021; 5 PM to 8 PM at the Romero Family Funeral Home, 15150 East Iliff Ave, Aurora, CO, to be followed by a missing man formation flight provided by his fellow pilot brothers.

Another visitation for family and friends will be held on Monday, August 30, 2021; 9 AM to 11 AM at the Buklad-Merlino Memorial Home, 30 Yardville-Allentown Road, Yardville, NJ. On this exact date in 1997, twenty-four years ago, Derek proposed to Lisa in Holgate, NJ. Funeral services will be held after the visitation from 11 AM to 1 PM. The burial will then take place at Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery, Hamilton, NJ with another missing man formation flown by his friends.

Topic: New Jersey Funeral Services for Derek De Bastos

Time: Aug 30, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 860 4523 4121

Password: 12345

Dial By Phone:

+13017158592...........86045234121#..........0#,,12345# US (Washington DC)

+13126266799...........86045234121#..........0#,,12345# US (Chicago)

Thank you for your prayers and support in our time of grief.

Need help joining the meeting? Please call Eulogy Stream at 609-439-8114

Please sign our guestbook

Leave a tribute or memory in the comments area, below.



Eric Sinn
Eric Sinn
Aug 30, 2021

My name is Eric Sinn. I was one of Derek’s flight instructors at Trenton Robbinsville Airport (N87) back in 1995. He came up to me and asked if he could rent an airplane.

I needed to check him out so he was able to fly by himself in a club airplane. Derek and I became friends from the first minute we met. We had incredible adventures in numerous small single engine aircraft. His passion for flying and his love for his golden retriever made me admire this person.

When Derek moved to Maryland with Lisa we always still kept in touch either through email or Christmas cards. My family grew up watching his kids grow through Lisa and Derek’s wonderful…


As a West Point grad, I have taken a interest in Derik’ son’s adventures at the Air Force Academy as relayed by his proud grandfather Ric. Jeff Tucker 1972 USMA and SBYC.


I think I can speak for a large portion of the satellite and launch vehicle community and say we are shocked and saddened by this tragic news, and we send our deeply felt condolences to the entire de Bastos family. I first met Derek when we were both Summer Interns at RCA East Windsor, little realizing that we would be colleagues for the following 3+ decades. Derek was tough, smart, fair, and always had a sense of humor no matter how tough the situation we found ourselves in during a mission integration or launch. He asked difficult questions, and always sensed where the future issues were going to crop up. But he asked those questions only because he was so…



If you'd like to send flowers, please consider one of our local florists →

bottom of page