H. Robert Gribben, 54, executive vice president of the Earth Satellite Corp. and an authority on reconnaissance and remote sensing systems, died of cancer June 26 at Mount Vernon Hospital.

Mr. Gribben joined the Earth Satellite Corp. in 1973, and was a director as well as an officer of the company. The firm conducts photographic and other surveys of the earth from government and commercial satellites. Much of its work is for the government.

Before joining the Earth Satellite Corp., Mr. Gribben worked for the Raytheon Corp. He joined that company in 1957 and lived in New Jersey before being moving to Washington in 1964 to head the Autometric division. This specializes in photogrammetric reconnaissance systems. In 1971, the job was transferred to the Raytheon offices in Sudbury, Mass., and Mr. Gribben worked there until returning here to join the Earth Satellite Corp.

In the course of his career Mr. Gribben wrote or contributed to more than 100 papers that appeared in professional journals, including "Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing," "Scientific American" and "World Cartography." He had made presentations to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. He also had spoken to industry and civic groups.

Mr. Gribben was born in New Kensington, Pa. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in forestry. From 1954 to 1957 he served in the Navy and for part of that time was stationed in the Pacific.

He was a member of the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, the Alexandria Jaycees and the Woodlawn Country Club.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Towson Gribben of Alexandria; three children, Linda Sue Gribben of Arlington, Amy Beth O'Bryan of Richmond, and Debra Lynne Bendahan of Springfield; his mother, Helen Baker Gribben of Pennsylvania; one brother, James Baker Gribben of Houston, and two grandchildren.