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AWS in Orbit: Space Data and Resiliency.

USSF buys a dedicated Rocket Lab launch. Ursa Major signs a contract with the NEST Program. USSPACECOM and the Swedish Air Force sign an agreement. And more.




Rocket Lab has been awarded a $14.49 million task order by the US Space Force to launch a dedicated Electron mission for the military branch. Ursa Major has signed a contract with the Naval Energetics Systems and Technologies Program (NEST) to develop and hot fire test a prototype solid rocket motor for the US Navy's Standard Missile program. The US Space Command and the Swedish Air Force signed a Space Situational Awareness sharing agreement, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guests today are Jeff Kratz, Vice President of AWS Worldwide Public Sector Sales, Tim Sylvester, Field CTO at Effectual, and Jerry Meleski, SVP of Product and Technology at HawkEye 360.

You can learn more about AWS Aerospace and Satellite on their website

Selected Reading

U.S. Space Force Awards Rocket Lab Launch Contract for Space Test Program (STP)-S30- Business Wire

Ursa Major Signs Contract With U.S. Navy For Next Gen Solid Rocket Motors For Standard Missile

USSPACECOM and Sweden sign a Space Situational Awareness sharing agreement

Spacefarer & CubeRover Joint Lunar Rover Demonstration on Griffin-1- Astrobotic

Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata Joins Axiom Space

Stoke Space Names Retired U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. John E. Shaw to Board of Directors, Paul Croci as Chief Financial Officer

Voyager Space Names Neeraj Gupta Chief Strategy Officer

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We're doing something a little different this week.

Special editions of our daily show recorded at the 39th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

It's day two of the conference today, and after our daily news roundup, we're bringing you our conversation recorded today for the AWS in orbit series.

Today is April 9th, 2024.

I'm Maria Varmasus, and this is T-minus on the road at the 39th Space Symposium.

The US Space Force buys a dedicated Rocket Lab launch.

Ursa Major signs a contract with the Naval Energetics Systems and Technologies Program.

The US Space Command and the Swedish Air Force sign a space situational awareness sharing agreement.

And we're bringing you the first installment of the AWS in orbit podcast series at the 39th Space Symposium.

We're going to be talking to Hawkeye 360, Effectual, and AWS Aerospace and Satellite about the power of partnerships in the space industry to ensure data resilience.

So stay with us for the second part of the show.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Rocket Lab has been awarded a $14.49 million task order by the US Space Force to launch a dedicated electron mission for the military branch.

The mission, called Space Test Program 30, or STPS 30, falls under the Space Systems Command Assured Access to Space Organization and is part of the Orbital Services Program 4.

The launch is scheduled to take place within 24 months from contract award and will lift off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Space Port, or Mars, within the NASA/Walps flight facility.

STPS 30 aims to deliver research experiments and technology demonstrations to orbit for the US Department of Defense and contribute to future space systems development.

The projected primary payload, DiskSat, will demonstrate sustained very low Earth orbit flight and test a 1-meter diameter disk-shaped satellite bus that's designed to increase on orbit persistence.

Rocket Manufacturing Company, Ursa Major, has signed a contract with the Naval Energetics Systems and Technologies Program, also known as NEST, to develop and hot-fire test prototype solid rocket motor for the US Navy's standard missile program.

Ursa Major will develop a new design and apply the company's manufacturing process to the Navy's workhorse, Mark 104 Dual Thrust Rocket Motor.

The US Space Command and the Swedish Air Force signed a Space Situational Awareness Sharing Agreement.

US Spacecom's Space Situational Awareness Sharing Program is part of a larger effort to support spaceflight planning and enhance the safety, stability, security, and sustainability of space operations.

This is the 30th Space Situational Awareness Agreement with a partner nation.

Astrobotic announced at the Space Symposium a partnership with Mission Control for a joint rover demonstration mission on the moon.

Astrobotic's Cube rover, integrated with Mission Control's SpaceFair operations platform, will travel to the lunar south pole on Astrobotic's upcoming Griffin lander mission.

The demonstration mission is being supported by a financial contribution from the Canadian Space Agency through their Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program, also known as LEAP.

And a note to close out our briefing today.

It's been so great meeting so many new and familiar faces at Space Symposium.

It's always a very special treat to meet our listeners in person, especially when you recognize my voice in a hallway.

A special listener shout out to Megan Thompson for tuning in and for saying hi to me.

It was so great to meet you, Megan.

And that concludes our briefing for today.

Head to the selected reading section of our show notes to find links to further reading on all the stories that I've mentioned.

You'll also find new teammate announcements from Axiom Space, Stoke Space, and Voyager Space.

N2K Space is working with Amazon Web Services Aerospace and Satellite to bring the AWS in orbit podcast series to the 39th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs from April 8th to 11th.

And we are broadcasting from the AWS booth number 1036 in the North Pole Tuesday through Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m.

So come on by the booth to catch us in action and share your story with us, or email space@n2k.com to set up a meeting with our team.

[Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] Hi, I'm Maria Varmausus, host of the T-Minus Space Daily podcast.

And this is AWS in orbit, Space Data and Resiliency.

We're bringing you the first installment of the AWS in orbit podcast series at the 39th Space Symposium.

In this episode, I'll be speaking to representatives from Hawkeye 360, Effectual, and AWS Aerospace and Satellite about the power of partnerships in the space industry to ensure space data resilience.

[Music] Hi, I'm Maria Varmausus, host of T-Minus Space Daily.

And this is AWS in orbit, Space Data and Resiliency.

Okay, so we're bringing you the first installment of the AWS in orbit podcast series at the 39th Space Symposium.

In this episode, I'll be speaking to representatives from Hawkeye 360, Effectual, and AWS Aerospace and Satellite about the power of partnerships in the space industry to ensure space resilience.

Welcome everyone.

It's so nice to meet you all in person.


Excellent to have you all here.

So let's start with some introductions.

So why don't we start with you?


Yeah, so my name is Jerry Molesky.

I'm the Senior Vice President of Strategic Technology and Products at Hawkeye 360.

My team is responsible for innovation, including our product roadmaps, capabilities, roadmaps, R&D, and things like that.

And we're real excited to be here to talk to you today.

I've been with Hawkeye for two years now.

Before that, I was with Kratos for 20 years, and then I served in other aerospace defense companies for the rest of my career.

And I won't mention how many years that was.

But thank you very much.

We're very honored to be here with you today.

Thank you for joining us.

Tim, you next.

Thank you.

Tim Sylvester, Field CTO at Affectual.

Affectual is a team of builders, engineers, architects.

We live largely in the software and cloud space, working closely with AWS, with customers like Hawkeye, to build and enable scalability and tier point resilience and basically stability in the places that they want to operate.

I've been with the organization for years.

Prior to that, many sins between startups and hedge funds and financial services, but always lived in technology and engineering.


Thank you very much.

And last but not least, Jeff.

Well, good morning.

Good afternoon.

My name is Jeff Kratz, and I get the privilege as VP of our worldwide public sector industry teams to look after our global security, national defense business, health, education, nonprofit, and of course, ANS.

Wonderful to be here.

Thank you so much.

Excellent intro, gentlemen.

Thank you so much for that.

All right.

So let's set the stage for this excellent story.

So we'll start with you, Jerry.

So tell us a bit about Hawkeye 360 first.

So Hawkeye 360 is a commercial owner/operator of a fairly large satellite constellation.

Our mission is to detect, geolocate, and track RF signatures around the globe, whether it's land, sea, or air.

And our customers, which generally are government agencies, are very interested in things like homeland security, defense, conservation, and sometimes law enforcement.

So things like border protection, border patrol, and so forth.

And so our data we offer as a turnkey service.

So we have the constellation.

We do all the collections.

We manage and operate the satellites.

And then at the end, we offer the data that we collect to our customers as a service.

And it's great for them because some of the customers are countries who have varying degrees of capabilities.

Some are very sophisticated customers, like our own country here in the United States, Japan, and the Five Eyes, that we're kind of augmenting their capabilities.

Others are countries who do not have any type of space program or core competency whatsoever.

And so we're basically offering them an entire space-based capability and then handing them the answer, kind of, for a service.


I was going to ask, what kind of challenges are your customers facing?

What do they help solve for?

You kind of addressed that already, so that's great.

You anticipated my question.

That's awesome.

All right.

I'm curious how effectual comes in here with these challenges that Hawkeye 360 customers are facing?

It's a good question.

I think laying into that, we are really working hand-in-hand with Hawkeye.

It's not as much a, we work for as we work with, we partner with Hawkeye to build some of the infrastructure, some of the capability around where they build products and enablement.

Their real skill is getting those satellites in the sky, observing the Earth from the sky, tracking, putting intelligence on top of that data.

But in terms of the bits and bytes that live underneath that, the platform, the infrastructure, that's really where we stand.

We help get those things out of the way so Hawkeye can do their business.

And we work closely with AWS as well, using the services, building upon the scaffolding that they've built, and really kind of helping them figure out what they need to do today, where they're going tomorrow, and planning for that whole journey.


Thank you so much.

So let's talk a little bit about the partnership that we've been talking about here, and also AWS, of course.

So how effectual together with AWS worked to help create a solution for Hawkeye 360 customers, to enable innovation.

So can we talk about that?

Maybe Tim, maybe you start with that.


So AWS has built a number of services that live in the cloud, and that has really changed the posture of building, of innovating, of iterating on concepts and ideas and technology to a near real-time capability.

And Hawkeye has taken that premise from what has historically been in aerospace weeks, months, years to build new products, to get new platforms in space.

I mean, we can mention the six satellites that you guys just got up in the last week.

And that is really changing the pace of engagement, of capability of products.

And we're helping work on the back end of that with Hawkeye, but we're all using AWS services.

And AWS builds those tools and those capabilities and platforms and services that we then bring to Hawkeye so they can iterate really quickly on data analytics, on intelligence, on customer asks, instead of having to build everything from ground up.

Even within the regulated secure space, it's still very much a capable, doable, high-speed-resilient function.

Fantastic, Jerry.

Yeah, if you have anything to add.

So I want to just add, you know, a lot of the requirements for our system are driven by this very diverse set of customers, you know, around the world.

They need things like security.

They need ubiquitous access.

They need as close to real-time access as they can possibly get from when we detect, you know, signatures to when they actually are delivered the data.

So the cloud sits right in the middle of all of that, allowing this scalable, ubiquitous access with security built-in and the flexibility to kind of move processing around and, you know, actually can redesign our processing chain almost on the fly, based on the cloud tools.

We also have a very rich set of analytics around our data so that we're not just providing raw data to our customers.

We're providing, you know, geolocations, very precise geolocations and AIML-based algorithms to actually track certain entities like ships and so forth around.

So all of that requires a very robust and rich infrastructure and architecture, and that's really where AWS, Affectual and Hawkeye kind of come together and really work collaboratively on not only building that architecture, but evolving it and the roadmap for it and so forth going forward.

So it really is like the right set of tools for the job.


Jeff, this feels like the great time for you to jump in.

Tell us a bit more about how AWS enables partnerships and collaborations like this.

Well, it's incredibly exciting times.

And so at AWS, we start with the customer and we work our way backwards.

And these are the times that we are seeing all of our customers really reimagine what their mission is.

We're seeing governments act like startups.

We see educational institutions rethinking how to go ahead and teach or do research, hospitals, how they better serve the patients that are out there.

And critical as a backbone against that is our partners.

That's absolutely critical.

It's been from day one when we started the business.

And in particular for ANS, we're seeing reimagining now of what space missions are.

And these are like super exciting times.

If I think about where the business is going overall, I mean, across the globe, we are anticipating that there will be at least three times as many satellites launched in the next 10 years.


We've just heard about new ones that just are congratulations, Jerry.

Thank you.

World Economic Forum and McKinsey just published a report where in the next 10 years, the space industry in particular for cloud will be over $1.8 trillion.

And 70 governments now have space agencies.

And so there's an amazing momentum that's going and within that we need to continue to invest in the long-term success of our customers via our partners.

So how are we doing that?

Yeah, we're doing it a couple of different ways.

One is we're continuing to invest in the services and the infrastructure.

We have new regions that we have announced in Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand.

A couple of weeks ago, we announced that we are going to build a new region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mexico as well.

As well as extending the cloud into new form factors based on what our customers are asking, our Snow family of products, outposts, connecting our customers' data centers to our cloud, as well as then building additional services, especially security, generated AI and other parts.

So one part we're continuing to invest is that long-term success.

And in fact, if you're to look at the storage now, we have over 100 times the storage than there was around the globe 30 years ago.

And our data centers right now, if you're to count them all up, are three to four times more than our nearest competitors now.

But that's just infrastructure investment.

Then we invest in our partners.

And we're doing quite a bit in terms of training our partners on new generative AI technologies.

Bedrock, Code Whisper, SageMaker, new ways to look at storage on short and long-term with S3 and Glacier to lower the costs for different missions that are there.

As well as then the engagement with our partners of doing mapping.

And we got a great example here of two getting together to help solve for customers' faster missions.

Do we see partnerships like this very often?

We see partnerships like this around the globe.

In fact, I was just in Australia working with an amazing startup that's working on better preparing the fire marshals and others to respond to brush fires.

A really big issue that's occurring.

But they're looking for new partners to expand their business in Idaho, in Oregon, in California.

I was in the Nordics and our ISV partners are saying, "Who's a good SI?

We don't have the services needed.

And what we've got, we'll get us 80% there, but we need that 20%.

And so we're trying to do is better map our partners with our customers around the globe to accelerate this digital innovation that's happening.

That's fantastic.

Thank you for that.

Gentlemen, I want to turn to you for a second.

For any other companies that are trying to embark on a collaboration like what you've done, any takeaways or advice for them?

Yeah, I'll start with...

In terms of the amount of data that we collect and analyze.

So like the RF emitter use case, the RF emitters aren't on all the time.

And so you have to basically, and our satellites are flying in low earth orbit, and you have to have enough of a persistence to kind of catch the target you're looking for.

And I'll use an example here real quick.

So a few years ago, there's these economic exclusion zones around the world.

And the Galapagos Islands is an international treasury of fish and protected species and so forth.

And there's a boundary in the water around the Galapagos Islands.

And we kind of caught the Chinese fishing fleet turning off their transmitters that say, "My ship is here," and kind of popping in and taking a few casts and coming back in terms of that exclusion zone.

So that's the kind of...

But you have to persistently be looking in order to capture that sort of thing, especially when the ships go dark and things like that.

And so what that generates is a massive volume of data.

And not just our data, but our data is generally correlated with what's called multi-end.

You know, Earth observation, so imagery, SAR and so forth.

So we're talking about a colossal amount of data.

And that's where the tools, the rich tool set of the Amazon services come in in terms of storing and archiving all that data.

We actually have all the data we've ever collected from our very first satellite back in 2019.

We still have it.

It's like a little museum.

And the cool thing about that is as we develop new algorithms, we can actually go back in time in the archive and reprocess the data and find new insights.

Or we can actually kick the tires on our algorithms without having to do live collects and take live capacity offline to do testing.

So there's a lot of benefits to having a massive amount of data.

But again, to manage that data is a big job and requires...

There's the security aspects in addition to that.

And that's really where the cloud services and the services around that really help us out a lot.

Yeah, anything to add, Tim?

Yeah, and that layers in a really interesting concept.

And I think, Jeff, you mentioned this, thinking about the customer first.

Anytime you're working with a partner, whether it's also somebody else, and this is one thing that AWS really instills in the program.

And I mentioned us being more partners than kind of a customer transaction is because we'll work with Hawkeye and figure out what is your end customer looking for?

How can we enable you to go solve that mission, that ask, that request and not just look at it as a, "Oh, you need to store your data."

No, what are you going to do with that data?

Are you going to go and reanalyze that data?

Do you have a cost concern?

Do you have a performance concern?

What is the sort of the mission parameter?

What is the end goal?

And then working to get there?

Because we could look at all of these problems in sort of myopic views where it's just a small kind of targeted solution.

Or we could think about where are we going with this?

How do we want to look at this in the future?

How can we leverage that?

And as long as you keep that North Star together, it tends to be much more successful.



Anything you wanted to add to that, Jeff?

Well, I think that, you know, from that perspective, grounded on resiliency, grounded on security, those are just fundamentals that are there.

The data is continuing to grow in so many different wonderful ways.

And Jerry, I'm inspired by, you know, your experience because I think about the insights now that you can go back to look forward on in so many different new permutations.

And from that perspective, I think we're going to be able to solve some of the world's hardest problems that are out there all collectively together.

That's fantastic.


And I just want to add something that Jeff said in terms of the security aspect.

So we operate, you know, within what's called the GovCloud of AWS.

So a couple years ago, we had to make a major transition from, I'll say, the commercial cloud to the GovCloud.

AWS in effect shall help us make that transition.

So we now have this kind of secure bubble that we operate in that's basically recognized by the U.S. government as being safe.

And that's really important.

But as we expand into different countries, they also have governments that, you know, that want the secure environment, but they also want sovereignty over that environment.

They kind of want their, they don't want the U.S.

GovCloud so much as they want the name the country GovCloud.

And this is an area as we scale and Jeff kind of hit on that, you know, that we can continue to work together with, given the nations, the sovereignty they're looking for and the security and the protection, and actually port the same architecture that we have and reuse it across these different clouds, if you will, and provide what these customers are really looking for.

And that really helps us as a business to scale our value proposition and business value.

You know, Jerry, you hit an important part.

Each station is going through their own definitions of what sovereign means.

And a lot of laws were created before cloud even existed.

And so there's a lot of effort going underway around the globe, different nations, rewriting laws, getting educated in conjunction with AWS, with our partners and more.

And so we needed to provide additional options for our partners and for our customers.

And that's why we announced sovereign cloud, which is a dedicated cloud to help address the needs, for instance, in the European Union.

And we're continuing to innovate based on what our partners and our customers are asking for.

And that actually came up of, in fact, if you look at all of our services, 90% of them are developed based on what the feedback is.

The last 10% anecdotally is where we look at Stockholm to Sydney to San Francisco and we do the mapping.

But it was out of that that we were hearing governments wanting to know more about sovereignty.

And what can I store?

Is it data at rest?

Is it data in motion?

Is it data in archive?

Is it data in processing?

And each government's a little different.

And we're continuing to innovate with our partners to help address those around the globe as each government walks through their digital transformation.


I mean, that's a sensitive and important area.

And I imagine it's hugely reassuring to your customers to know that that competence is there and that sensitivity to that issue is there.

I can absolutely see that.

Gentlemen, I know we're coming up on time and I've taken up a lot of your time today and it's been a pleasure speaking with you all.

I want to make sure that I ask you all a wrap up question.

So I'd love to hear about long-term vision.

If anyone wants to share that, I'll, if anyone wants to raise their hand and talk about that, you want to go ahead?

Yeah, well, how about everybody take that one on long-term vision?

Jerry, why don't you start?

Yeah, I think all three of us would like to talk about that.

Yeah, absolutely.

Why don't you start?

And like I mentioned in my introduction, you know, I'm looking at capability roadmaps for Hawkeye and what is the product market fit, the customer value fit going forward.

So very futuristic thinking, you know, going on there.

And as we evolve, it's not just about getting more and more satellites into space.

It's really as, you know, as a commercial company, cost is a major factor.

So we have to optimize, you know, that space real estate the best way we can.

So that means, you know, there's a lot of handshake that goes on between space and ground.

And like I said, we're looking at things like onboard processing, you know, and kind of changing that processing chain up, maybe dynamically, you know, maybe one pass.

We're doing onboard processing and then another pass.

We're doing all the processing on the ground like we do today.

So we're constantly evolving the conop and the use case of our constellation.

The beauty of having a vertically integrated system is we get the world is our oyster, you know, everything from the sensor in space to the handoff to the S3 bucket to the customers of our data is in our control.

And we can kind of re architect and control the data flow and how all that happens.

So so we are thinking ahead about how we leverage the tools, the very rich tools that we have and kind of offer a more, you know, high value proposition to our customers as we evolve.


Go ahead, Tim.

And it's interesting the sort of the chain of events that has brought us to this conversation and not just this conversation, but where we are in technology.

You talked about space pulling signals, space pulling photos, and that turns into data, and that data turns into intelligence and insights.

And it took so long to get to the point where we could get intelligence and insights.

And now we're moving faster to real time intelligence and insights instead of just observation and analytics.

So it's a really interesting time where the tooling from AWS and the speed of innovation with something like Hawkeye enables us to build these powerful intelligence tools so we can make better decisions in real time.

And that's going to be a fascinating time to live through.


And I just want to footstomp with what Tim just said, because when Hawkeye started out, is this part of the evolution?

It was all about data as a service, data, data, data.

Well, we're past that.

The customers are like, thanks for the data, but I want information.

I want answers and I want them fast, you know, and so we're trying to close that loop with, you know, the barriers of latency.

You know, we're turning every knob to get our latency down, our revisit up, the speed of the data processing up.

You know, so things like accessing your data and all the little things that add to latency, we have to optimize to get the customer, the data, the data, the quick, not data, the quickest, but the answers.


The information.


So that's a major trend of our innovation is, you know, data as a service yesterday, tomorrow it's analytics and information as well.

That insight.

Yes, insight, not data.

I love that.

That's so great.


Jeff, over to you.

You know, I think grounded on resiliency, grounded on security, grounded on innovation, I am optimistic that we can solve some of the biggest challenges that this planet is being faced with right now.

When I think about the AWS, we've got the broadest and deepest cloud services stack wrapped with the security that's there and innovation flywheel based on what our customers and partners are asking us to do.

Our partners are leaning in.

We're leaning in.

Our customers are leaning in.

And I think that we've got the potential to solve some of the biggest challenges.

I was talking with our German team just the other day and the German rail, interesting enough, has 21,000 miles of rail.

They're already leaning in with partners to take geospatial data as well as other data inputs to look at how do they continue to reduce the carbon footprint across Germany to build a better life for their citizens.

That's part of what government's responsibility is.

And you start looking at that and as just one of a mirrored examples around the globe of how we can make this world a better place collectively.

And I am very optimistic that whether it's in the Galapagos in Germany, Singapore, in the sea, in the sky, that we can solve some of the hardest issues that we collectively are all facing.

So I'm very optimistic.

I love that optimism.

I share that optimism.

Gentlemen, it's been a joy speaking with you all.

Jerry, Tim, Jeff, thank you so much.

Thank you.

Thank you for that pleasure, Nity.

[Music] This episode was produced by Alice Karuth and Laura Barber for AWS Aerospace and Satellite.

Mixing by Elliot Peltzman and Trey Hester with original music and sound design by Elliot Peltzman.

Our associate producer is Liz Stokes.

Our executive producer is Jen Ivan.

Our VP is Brandon Karp.

And I'm Maria Varmasus.

Thanks for watching.

[Music] [Music] That's it for T-minus for April 9th, 2024.

For additional resources from today's report, check out our show notes at space.ntuk.com.

We're privileged that N2K and podcasts like T-minus are part of the daily routine of many of the most influential leaders and operators in the public and private sector.

From the Fortune 500 to many of the world's preeminent intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

This episode was produced by Alice Carruth and Laura Barber for AWS Aerospace and Satellite.

Mixing by Elliot Peltzman and Trey Hester with original music and sound design by Elliot Peltzman.

Our associate producer is Liz Stokes.

Our executive producer is Jen Ivan.

Our VP is Brandon Karpf.

And I'm Maria Varmasus.

Thanks so much for listening.

We'll see you tomorrow.

[Music] T-minus.

[Music] You

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