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Space has a workforce problem.

Rocket Lab to launch four HASTE missions for Leidos. AWS India signs an MOU with ISRO. Russia promises North Korea cooperation on space development. And more.





What’s to be done about the workforce issue in the space industry? N2K offers some solutions. Rocket Lab contracts with Leidos to launch four HASTE missions. Amazon Web Services India has signed an MOU with ISRO. Russia promises North Korea cooperation on developing space capabilities, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Stephan Reckie, Executive Director at the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) on entrepreneurship in space around the world.

You can connect with Stephan on LinkedIn and find out more about GEN on their website.

Selected Reading

The space industry's looming workforce problem- Axios

Rocket Lab Signs Deal with Leidos to Launch Four HASTE Missions- Business Wire

SpaceX no longer taking losses to produce Starlink satellite antennas, a key step to improving profitability- CNBC

SES Introduces Cruise Industry’s First Integrated MEO-LEO Service with Starlink- PR

Amazon's AWS ties up with ISRO to advance its AI capabilities with cloud technologies- Myind

North Korea's Kim meets Putin at Russian space center- Nikkei

LMO Space Partners With In-Space Missions On AUREA SDA Programme- PR

Dragonfly Aerospace Selects Neuraspace for Enhanced Space Sustainability through Smarter Space Traffic Management- PR

SkyFi Launches Two New Services- Via Satellite

A year after New Shepard’s accident, Blue Origin may return to flight next month- Ars Technica

Panel calls for giant boost to space station research- Science.org

Saltzman Reveals New Space Units That Put Operations and Sustainment Under One Roof- Air and Space Forces

Rob Rainhart Named President of HawkEye 360- PR Newswire

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>> Maria Varmazis: We hear it a lot, that space is for everyone, and that the industry needs people from all backgrounds and skillsets. But the ground truth is the space industry is having a hard time finding the people it needs to keep growing at its current pace, let alone where it's projected to be in the future. And it's a complex issue, to be sure. And a lot of organizations are trying to make some progress here. And we have some thoughts.

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Today is September 13th, 2023. I'm Maria Varmazis, and this is T-Minus.

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What's to be done about the workforce issue in the space industry? We'll share our thoughts on that. The top headlines for today, Rocket Lab contracts with Leidos to launch four HASTE missions. Amazon Web Services India has signed an MOU with ISRO. Russia promised North Korea cooperation on developing space capabilities. And our guest today is Stephan Reckie, Executive Director of the Global Entrepreneurship Network on entrepreneurship in space around the world.

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We're going to start out the top of our show today a little differently. Axios put out a top story on the space industry's ongoing struggle to attract and retain talent. And for some context on this issue, we're bringing in our Executive Producer Brandon Karpf, to dive a little deeper on this.

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Okay, so we have this report about the space industry's looming workforce problem. We hear about this a lot. It comes up on interviews here all the time. Brandon, why is this such a tough nut to crack?

>> Brandon Karpf: The big picture problem here is, it's an ultimate misalignment between what people are saying they need, because they're trying to solve the problem today, without thinking about the issues strategically. And this is totally relevant to actually our mission here at N2K, and some recent conversations I've had. For example, I just had a conversation with Courtney Black at ISS National Lab, and one of her coworkers, Shamryn [phonetic], and you know, the issue is, and Axios nailed it, but they're not really identifying the bigger problem, which is strategy. People are saying we have not enough people, without really identifying the critical roles, the critical knowledge areas, and the critical requirements that are coming in the next two, three, five, ten years, and aligning those to a workforce strategy.

>> Maria Varmazis: Okay, so what would that look like? Like, what's needed there? Where's the gap?

>> Brandon Karpf: Yes, this is a project we're working on in the background. And for anyone listening, if you have thoughts or want to participate, by all means, please reach out to us at space@n2k.com. The idea is, first understanding the environment, the actual workforce environment. That's mapping out the workforce, mapping out the critical knowledge areas, the critical skills, the critical work functions, developing a workforce mapping as well as a skills mapping, and then tying that to critical intelligence and information requirements that feed each of those skills, as well as, and this is the really important part, the development in each of those skills. So, what that looks like is industry insights, right? That's understanding the industry. Talent insights. Understanding the talent. And then workforce development, which is tying those two things together in an actionable, functional, forward-looking program that can lead the workforce, based on the industry insights and the talent insights through a development life cycle. That's exactly what we're working on and building at N2K. That's something that we've built out for the cybersecurity industry and that we're working to developing right now for the space industry. So again, this is today's stuff, we're working on right now in the background. If anyone has inputs, or wants to participate, reach out. This is what we're trying to solve.

>> Maria Varmazis: All right, so I hear a lot of discussion about sort of the hard metrics of, you know, what needs to be developed in filling that gap there, but I feel like there's sort of a bit of an unsaid culture question as well, about, "Why is it hard for people to figure out their place in the space industry?" Even though we have people saying, "Hey, there's space for you," there's a lot of people from the outside looking in going, "I don't really understand how to make a foothold there." I don't know how on earth one would address such a complicated question, but at the same time, you mentioned cybersecurity. I remember in the cyber days, there were a lot of discussions about, "Hey, the cyber culture is kind of hostile to outsiders," for lack of better term. And I haven't really heard that as much from the space world, yet. Any thoughts on that?

>> Brandon Karpf: I think it is similar, right? Whenever you have an industry of highly technical and skilled people, they tend to move in that barrier-defining, language type environment, barrier-defining actions and activities, especially militarized--

>> Maria Varmazis: Yes.

>> Brandon Karpf: -and then a non-inclusive type environment, right? The insiders are on the inside. The outsiders are most definitely on the outside. That's solved, I think, starting with just shining light on the challenges, and then creating a dialogue around those challenges. I think that dialogue typically can get elevated in industry interest groups. So, highly focused interest groups, which I haven't seen so many in the aerospace industry. By that I mean, there are policy focused organizations, small non-profits focused on policy. There are a few interest groups. The makings of an early marketing society in the space industry. The makings of some diversity-focused organizations, but they're very nascent. And that's where those conversations need to start, and that's where the culture really begins to change is a focus at every industry event, bringing in those organizations, bringing in those focus discussions around panels, having panel discussions that aren't just about the launch services and the technology, but are actually around community and culture within the industry. And that moves the industry forward.

Now, I think it's starting to happen. We see it with Space Workforce 2030 is very nascent, but it is beginning. I think this is the cusp, and adding more emphasis to it by focusing on the strategic workforce focus, the strategic workforce development, strategic workforce intelligence. That's what we're trying to drive and that's what we're advocating for.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yes, and it's encouraging that a lot of people are open to that which is--

>> Brandon Karpf: Right.

>> Maria Varmazis: -probably the most important part. If nobody's open to it, then it's never going to go anywhere. So.

>> Brandon Karpf: Right. Stake in the sand, that's our proposed solution. This is what we're working on in the cybersecurity industry. We've been doing it for years with quite a bit of success. And this is why we are entering the space market.

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>> Maria Varmazis: And now, let's do a little quick round-up of the rest of the headlines for today's Intelligence Briefing. Rocket Lab has signed a contract with Leidos to launch four HASTE missions. HASTE is the company's Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron vehicle. Rocket Lab was selected by Leidos under the MACH-TB project, which was awarded by Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense Test Resource Management Center. The missions are scheduled for 2024 and 2025 from Rocket Lab's facility at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

SpaceX has announced that it is no longer subsidizing the cost of its antennas that it sells with its satellite Starlink broadband services. The company's been able to reduce the cost per antenna, as demand for production has risen over the last few years.

And speaking of Starlink, they're partnering with SES to provide a new communication's solution for the cruise line industry. The companies are offering services that integrate Starlink's low earth orbit with SES's medium earth orbit satellite services. The new partnership aims to deliver bandwidth capacity of up to 3 gigabits per ship.

Amazon Web Services India has signed a Strategic Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, and the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center, to support space tech innovations through cloud computing. AWS says the collaboration will give space startups, research institutes, and students access to advanced cloud technologies that accelerate the development of new solutions in the space sector.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Vostochny Сosmodrome and promised military and space cooperation between the two nations.

[ Foreign language spoken ]

In a video released by the Kremlin, Russian President Putin was quoted as saying, "The leader of North Korea shows great interest in space, in rocketry, and they're trying to develop space. We'll show our new object. We'll talk about all the issues without haste. There is time."

LMO and In-Space Missions have partnered to explore the use of small satellite platforms for space-based, space domain awareness. The partnership is part of LMO's AUREA program, which stands for Autonomous Recognition of Foreign Assets. BAE Systems subsidiary In-Space Missions, plans to study the mission scope of a space-based space domain awareness demonstrator small satellite with a software stack on the ground to demonstrate end-user compatibility.

Dragonfly Aerospace and Neuraspace have announced a strategic partnership to explore Neuraspace's Space Traffic Management Platform for Space Sustainability. Dragonfly Aerospace plans to use Neuraspace's Space Traffic Management Platform for its EOS SAT-1 satellite for conjunction analysis and receiving maneuver suggestions. EOS SAT-1 is the world's first agricultural-focused satellite, and the first in a seven-satellite constellation providing the agriculture and forestry industries with high-quality data and analysis.

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And that concludes our briefing for today. We include a lot more stories, along with links to further reading in our Selected Reading section of our Show Notes. You'll find opinion pieces on the ISS and Blue Origin, and announcements from Earth Observation Platforms, SkyFi and HawkEye 360. They're all at space.n2k.com. Just click on this episode.

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Hey, T-Minus crew, if you find this podcast useful, certainly hope you do, please do us a favor and share a five-star rating and a short review in your favorite podcast app. It'll help other space professionals like you to find the show and join the T-Minus crew. Thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

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Our guest today is Stephan Reckie who is the Executive Director at the Global Entrepreneurship Network speaking to us today on Entrepreneurship in Space Around the World. I asked Stephan to start our conversation by telling us more about GEN, G-E-N, GEN, and how he developed the idea of Astro-preneurship [phonetic].

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>> Stephan Reckie: The Global Entrepreneurial Network is an amazing organization. It's a nonprofit, based in Washington D.C. and their charter is to map out all the entrepreneurial ecosystems on earth, or around the world. We have over 200 countries that we've mapped out the ecosystems and have managing directors or folks as part of GEN working towards making entrepreneurship as successful as possible. About seven years ago, I went to what's called the Global Entrepreneurship Congress which was an amazing gathering. It was like the United Nations for entrepreneurship. And this one happened to take place in Johannesburg. There's so many cool things going on. I've never been to South Africa, and just meeting the ecosystem members from just Africa alone, it was just overwhelming.

I went as part of a U.S. delegation, and relatively I was thinking, "Well, you know what? Being part of a U.S. delegation for entrepreneurship is boring compared to something creative like putting together a network for space entrepreneurship." So, came up with the idea of leveraging the word Astro-preneurship, meaning entrepreneurs in space. And one of the things GEN was really specific about is they did not want to have like a GEN FIN-TAC [phonetic] or GEN MED-TAC [phonetic] or GEN E-Commerce. So, I worked with the management team at GEN to look at space as a location to do business, just like we have these 200 country members of the [inaudible], I was able to create the Global Entrepreneurship Network for Space. And it really, truly leverages the global aspect of entrepreneurship because if you look at space, you actually -- if you do business in space, chances are, unless you're a geostationary satellite provider and you're only above a certain country, you're going to be doing business globally.

>> Maria Varmazis: So, there's a large ecosystem through GEN for GEN Space. So, what does that look like? If I was an entrepreneur who was interested in starting my own business in space, how would I approach GEN? Like, what would be -- the involvement be?

>> Stephan Reckie: So, the cool part about it is, is if you look at entrepreneurship, it requires some really common, I'll call them stakeholders and ecosystems. First you need entrepreneurs, right? The folks with the ideas and the businesses behind the ideas. Then ultimately, you need some way of funding those businesses. So, either it's the private world. So, it could be angels, venture capitalists, private equity folks, or you can also look at government or private/public partnerships where you look for government agencies to help do some grants. And then the other part of that is the future entrepreneurs. So, where's this future workforce come from? It's typically from academia. So, the big stakeholders within GEN Space are the entrepreneurs, the investors, the government agencies, and also the academic institutions.

>> Maria Varmazis: For businesses -- any business trying to get started in space, there are a lot of local, national regulatory hurdles. Is that something that GEN Space helps people navigate through, or is that something like what -- what's the involvement there?

>> Stephan Reckie: The other thing about GEN Space is we're a collaborative environment so that we really don't -- we don't have employees. So, we have advisors to GEN Space. So, I'm the Executive Director, in a volunteer role. Our advisors are truly global. So, we have advisors on every continent and we're trying to do in every country that has a leaning towards space. So, yes we can provide that guidance. So, from a higher level, GEN Space doesn't, but from an individual, country by country basis, we can make those connections. So, we're really trying to educate, inform, anyone interested in doing business in space that it really is no different than starting a business, except that obviously it's challenging to get to space, but the costs of space are getting reduced. Getting access to space, getting to and from the space, and the awareness is there. So, I think what's been happening with the latest kind of billionaire space race is the awareness is there. SpaceX has launched I think over 62 times just this year. So, it's getting to be almost as crazy as saying flights from an airport, and that's another thing is GEN Space is part of the Global Spaceport Alliance, and we're working with the spaceports, which is the up-and-coming access to space, similar to what airports did for aviation. So, it's pretty neat because we're trying to -- obviously ITAR and different government and security regulations don't allow for sharing secrets or sharing things that can be used in a military basis, or defense basis, but we're trying to stay away from that. We're talking about, "What are the basic principles of entrepreneurship? How can you apply them to space? And how can you do better? And what are the lessons learned?" Those kind of things.

>> Maria Varmazis: With business in space, businesses trying to work in space, there are some sort of standard business principles that apply, but there are also some unique pitfalls, or I guess trappings of starting a business that's going to be dealing with space. Could you maybe walk me through some of what you've seen along those lines?

>> Stephan Reckie: Well historically, anything touching space has always been super, super high tech. Right? So, it's been deep tech, we'll call it. That's what it's called, right? Deep tech. So, we look for opportunities to help promote people to think, "You don't have to have just a deep tech company or product line," right? So, you don't have to be, for lack of a better word, you don't -- no longer have to be a rocket scientist to do business in space, right? So, you have -- you can put together so many businesses in space that leverage existing data from space and those kind of things. So, the idea behind what's happened is, as I mentioned, the cost of accessing space is getting lower, but the pieces and parts are already there. So, maybe it's making something better? You no longer have to build the whole rocket, for example. You can just come up with some cool control system, or some cool propulsion system, and plug it into an existing rocket. There is so much opportunity for small innovation to take place. So, that means you don't have to be crazily funded to do business in space anymore.

The big difference is we promote businesses, and not just projects or ideas, right? So, you have to -- the other piece of this is you have to prove that you can find customers. You can actually charge money for what you were doing, right? So, that's a new thing, right?

So, in the past, people were just developing stuff for space, and not worrying about whether there's going to be some commercial value to this, or some type of return. Well now, if you introduce investors into it and can prove that there's a commercial value and there's going to be some return on their investment, that's going to make this really flourish.

>> Maria Varmazis: So, are there areas of opportunity that are particularly exciting or intriguing to you? I mean, launch is always very sexy, but very capital intensive. We sort of talked about that a little bit. Outside of all of that, what interests you and where do you see a lot of opportunity?

>> Stephan Reckie: I just love the fact that earth observation data is becoming either really cheap or free. And there's so much data that's going on. And the other fun part is now you can look at doing business in space that's making an impact, right? So, actually next week, we're going to be presenting to part of the U.N. General Assembly talking about putting together an 18th sustainable development goal for the United Nations to focus on space. We're thinking now, you can attract people that were looking at, "How can I make an impact?" and you can say, "Well, you can start a business. You can take data from space. And I've been involved in some earth observation challenges, namely in Africa where I've mentored companies that I've put together businesses because they put software together to analyze data from space to make your farming more successful, or to work to prevent poaching and those kind of things. So, there's some really neat directions now you can take as an Astro-preneur. You no longer -- and you mentioned launch. I mean, like 200 launch companies or something like that. There's a big number of launch companies. It's harder to differentiate on launch, but you can start these businesses and really give developing nations or folks that don't have space agencies or [inaudible] thought that they could have access to space, we could start educating them, that they can create companies to do business in space.

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>> Maria Varmazis: We'll be right back. Welcome back. Calling all data-vis geeks in Europe, your planet needs you. ESA is looking for help from creative minds who know how to parse data to help them take the reams and reams and reams of climate data from climate satellites, and turn that information into easy to understand, impactful, data visualizations, like the kind of infographics that are easily understood and shared by the general public, very social media friendly. These graphics are especially needed to help combat misinformation and disinformation that runs rampant on social media as we're probably all very well aware, way faster than information that is actual and factual. And data visualizations are especially powerful in showing patterns and changing trends in a way that everyone can understand. So, this call for help is in the form of a competition called "Little Pictures of Climate," and entrants have until November 15th to get their submission in. Entrants have a lot of datasets at their disposal to choose from. Any climate dataset from ESA, EUMETSAT, and ECMWF are fair game for this contest. All entries will be evaluated for their clarity of message, design aesthetic, novelty, and accessibility. And the winner will have their work on display at the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference or COP28, which is happening in Dubai late November through early December this year, as well as an expenses paid visit to the ESA Data-Vis suite in Frascati, Italy. Oh. And if you're looking for inspiration, or just want to see and share the gorgeous data-driven little pictures that ESA Climate Offices already put online, you've got a link in the Show Notes for you. Definitely take the time and check it out.

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That's it for T-Minus for September 13th, 2023. For additional resources from today's report, check out our Show Notes at space.n2k.com. We'd love to know what you think of this podcast. You can email us at space@n2k.com or submit the survey in the Show Notes. Your feedback ensures that we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead in the rapidly changing space industry. N2K's strategic workforce intelligence optimizes the value of your biggest investment, your people. We make you smarter about your team, while making your team smarter. This episode was produced by Alice Caruth. Mixing by Elliott Peltzman, and Trey Hester, with original music and sound design by Elliott Peltzman. Our Executive Producer is Brandon Karpf. Our Chief Intelligence Officer is Eric Tillman. And I'm Maria Varmazis. Thanks for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.

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