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Satellites in my eyes.

Russia’s Dozor-Teleport hacked. AST SpaceMobile opens a public offering of 12 million shares. Virgin Galactic takes first paying passengers to space. And more.





Russian satcom provider Dozor-Teleport targeted by hackers. AST SpaceMobile announces a public offering of 12 million shares. SES lands new Department of Defense contract. OneWeb expands coverage. Virgin Galactic holds its first commercial spaceflight, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest for today’s show is Via Van Liew, Principal Director of DEI at Aerospace Corporation.

You can connect with Via on LinkedIn and find out more about the Space Workforce 2030 program on their website.

Selected Reading

Russian satellite telecom Dozor allegedly hit by hackers- Cybernews 

Why Is AST SpaceMobile (ASTS) Stock Down 28% Today?- InvestorPlace 

SES Space & Defense Wins US DoD $134M X-Band Blanket Purchase Agreement- Via Satellite

​​OneWeb Expands Service Across Europe and US- Via Satellite

Virgin Galactic hosts first paying passengers- Virgin Galactic 

The King unveils the Astra Carta seal at a Space Sustainability Reception at Buckingham Palace- Royal

OroraTech Selects Spire Global to Provide Eight Satellites for Wildfire Monitoring Constellation- Press Release 

NASA wants ideas for Artemis 3 moon landing experiments. But time's running out- Space 

Redwire Announces Follow-On Contract to Develop Additional Roll-Out Solar Arrays for the International Space Station- Redwire

NASA to retrieve experiments from space station with SpaceX cargo Dragon splashdown- Click Orlando

‘Maine has a brilliant future in space,’ NASA chief says during Brunswick visit- Press Herald

 The next frontier of tourism: Las Vegas Spaceport proposed west of city- Las Vegas Review Journal

Mars rover Perseverance sets new record for making oxygen on Red Planet | Space 

Mercury Systems Announces Appointments of Chief Financial Officer and Independent Director- Global Newswire

US Needs Counterspace Weapons for Space Superiority- Air & Space Forces

Boeing’s Starliner saga is actually a NASA policy success- The Hill

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T-Minus is a production of N2K Networks, your source for strategic workforce intelligence. © 2023 N2K Networks, Inc.

>> Alice Carruth: T-Minus executive producer, Brandon, got to see Dave Matthews live in Columbia, Maryland, last weekend, and it's all he's been talking about this week. Turn out, Dave opened the three-and-a-half-hour set with his iconic song Satellite.

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And just like Dave, we're going to open today's set with a whole bunch of satellite, just about 1,000 times less chill, including breaking news about satellite hacking in Russia, a huge shock to AST SpaceMobile stock, and major service updates from SES and OneWeb.

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Today is June 29, 2023. I'm Alice Carruth, and this is T-Minus.

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Russian satcom provider Dozor-Teleport targeted by hackers. AST SpaceMobile announces a public offering of 12 million shares. Virgin Galactic holds its first commercial spaceflight. And we speak to Via Van Liew, principal director of DEI at Aerospace Corporation, on Space Workforce 2030 and the National Space Intern Program.

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On to today's briefing. Russian satellite communications provider Dozor-Teleport, used by Russia's Ministry of Defense and various security services, was reportedly hit by hackers linked to the paramilitary group Wagner. The cyberattack allegedly targeted Dozor-Teleport's infrastructure and damaged user terminals. This incident echoes a previous attack on Viasat's satellites last year. The culprits have portrayed themselves as associates of Wagner and claimed responsibility for the attacks on Telegram. However, their affiliation and impact to the attacks are not yet confirmed. If verified, this will be another instance in a growing trend of targeted attacks on satellite networks, as well as a new angle on the ongoing tensions between Wagner and the Russian state that metastasized into an almost coup last weekend. AST SpaceMobile, a Texas-based satellite company, has announced a public offering of 12 million shares of its class A common stock, potentially raising gross proceeds of $59.4 million. This offering, underwritten by Barclays, includes a 30-day option to purchase an additional 1.8 million shares. The company plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including anticipated payments related to launch services and additional equipment expected in the third quarter of this year. The public offering, which increases the total number of outstanding shares available to the public market, has triggered a negative response among investors, as it dilutes current stakes in the company. AST SpaceMobile stock has subsequently experienced a nearly 28% drop in value. The company has not really said what it plans to use the raised funds for, further contributing to volatility and uncertainty. The US Department of Defense is awarded a $134 million contract to SES for global X-Band satellite capability, teleport and network services. SES Space and Defense will use the GovSat-1 satellite and is working with other integrators and satcom teleport operators. The contract is a single award blanket purchase agreement for the Defense Information Systems Agency's Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization by the US Space Force. And staying with satcom, OneWeb says its communication constellation has extended service across Europe and the US as the satellite company progresses in its global services. OneWeb is only second to Starlink with numbers of satellites in LEO, with 634 currently in operation. The company says it's now reaching regions above the latitude of 35 degrees north. Virgin Galactic launched their first paying customers to space today from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The VSS Unity space plane was piloted by Virgin Galactic veteran pilot, Mike Masucci, and was the first spaceflight for Nicola Pecile. The crew of four included three Italians from the Italian Air Force and National Research Council and one Virgin Galactic astronaut trainer. The passengers conducted 13 human-tended experiments during their short join to microgravity, including experiments with biomedicine thermo-fluid dynamics -- that's a mouthful -- and the development of sustainable materials in microgravity conditions. The mission is the first for Virgin Galactic's commercial flights, which the company says will now conduct on a monthly basis starting in August. Congrats to the team on reaching this major milestone. Space and sustainability must go hand-in-hand, says King Charles, III, of England, as he hosted astronauts, business leaders, and environmentalists at Buckingham Palace yesterday to unveil his Astra Carta. Clever name that. And can we just mention that Brian May was there. Super cool rock star who once played on the palace roof and happens to be an astrophysicist. Now, I'm from mockney country, so I'll keep my accent a little more RP when stating the intention of the King's new space sustainability initiative. According to the palace, the Astra Carta aims to convene the private sector in creating the exhilarating sustainable practices across the global space industry. It also recognizes the unique role that space can play in creating a more sustainable future on Earth and the need for the space industry to consider environmental and sustainability impacts upon our planet. Its ambition encourages a focus on placing sustainability at the core of space activity. Whew! King Charles, I may have jumped ship across the pond, but I'm available for a keynote address any time. Now, Spire Global has signed an agreement with Germany's OroraTech, a space-based thermal intelligence company, to build, launch, and operate an eight-satellite constellation dedicated to monitoring global temperatures. Once operational, it will represent the first and largest constellation of satellites dedicated to tracking and monitoring wildfires. If you're anywhere near the Northeast or Midwest in the US at the moment, then you know that wildfires and the smoke that they can cause are no joke. We will, however, have to wait until next year before the constellation is launched. They say that time is of the essence and it's running out for companies to submit proposals to NASA for the Artemis 3 Deployed Instruments Program. NASA is looking for ideas for instruments to roam on the surface of the Moon during the Artemis 3, the first crewed landing of the Artemis program. They're heading to the coveted lunar south pole -- that desirable region that every country's planning on colonizing in the next decade. Submissions for proposals close tomorrow, June 30th, so you best get your wiggle on. Redwire Corporation has announced it's been awarded a follow-on contract from Boeing to develop two additional roll-out solar arrays, known as IROSA, for the International Space Station. The last set was taken up in the cargo resupply mission that we covered earlier this month in our conversation with Liam Kennedy. And some of those experiments are expecting to splash back down to Earth on Friday morning in the SpaceX cargo Dragon, which undocked from the ISS today. The capsule was expected to carry over 3,600 pounds back to terra firma. And speaking of NASA, administrator Bill Nelson visited Maine yesterday to learn more about their proposed space complex, which we covered in our conversation with Emily Dwinnells during Monday's episode of this show. Nelson declared that Maine has a brim future in space, with a lot of entrepreneurs who are ready to go, and is bubbling with new ideas. It's quite exciting. Which, of course we agree with, which is why we included it in our show. Nelson toured bluShift Aerospace and spoke with members of the Maine space corporation board during his visit. Lucky guy. And Maine is not the only place jumping into the space race. Spaceports are planned in multiple states across the US, including a new proposal for Las Vegas. A real estate investor is looking to raise $310 million to build a spaceport in Clark County. The 240-acre site plans to have a launching pad, a runway for spaceplanes, a control tower, a flight school, and a 200-room casino resort. I guess when you're gambling with spaceflight, a casino makes sense. Either way, it's a roll of the dice. And that concludes our briefing for today. But as always, links to the stories that we have covered are in our Show Notes. And we've added a few opinion pieces in there which we think will be of interest to you, including a new shakeup of the board and leadership of Mercury Systems. Hey, T-Minus crew, if your business is looking to grow your voice in the industry, expand the reach of your thought leadership, or recruit talent, T-Minus can help. We'd love to hear from you. Send me an email at space@n2k.com, or send us a note through our website so we can connect with you about building a program to meet your goals. Our guest today is Via Van Liew, principal director of DEI at Aerospace Corporation. Via oversees the Space Workforce 2030 plan. And we start our chat with Maria asking her what that is.

>> Via Van Liew: So with the Space Workforce 2030, this was an idea that came from the Aerospace Corporation CEO Steve Isakowitz. We have been, you know, working to increase people of color as well as women in our technical areas within our workforce, and we realize that we are recycling the same talent within the space industry. And we cannot do it alone. So our CEO reached out to a number of different space industry organizations to collectively form this pledge to increase a pipeline as people of color as well as women within the space technical industry. And that's how it was formed. Because we wanted to be able to come together and then also build some accountability within this pledge to be able to report out on an annual basis at the Space Symposium our efforts as well as our aggregated data.

>> Maria Varmazis: So one of the cornerstones of this program -- and there are many different parts of it. One of them that I'm particularly fascinated by is the Space Intern Program. I know I got my start in my former life in an internship program that was a paid program that really made a difference for me. Can you talk a little bit about that Internship Program and sort of what it looks like for the intern experience?

>> Via Van Liew: The Internship Program is our National Space Intern Program, and this was actually, you know, underneath the Vice President, Kamala Harris, the White House National Space Council STEM Initiative. And what it is is where our 31 companies come together and we collectively allow interns to be able to apply on a system that will reach out to our 31 companies. So it's an easy process to allow, you know, candidates to apply and have the opportunity to receive an internship amongst one of our 31 companies. And we are actually welcoming in our summer interns currently right now for the National Space Intern Program. And this is an opportunity for them to be able to collectively network amongst each other as well as to participate in some upcoming events that we'll be having for them. L05

>> Maria Varmazis: That's exciting. And for outreach to finding interns, I'm really curious, what is the program doing to sort of ensure that the same schools are not being contacted over and over and like we're finding people that maybe didn't think that there was space for them in space? Or that maybe this kind of career didn't occur to them, or they didn't feel like they would be welcomed? How do we go about finding folks that maybe felt excluded that way?

>> Via Van Liew: We are casting a wide net. We are reaching outward. We're also, you know, allowing students to also, you know, share the opportunity amongst other students. So collectively amongst our 31 companies, we have reached out to schools that, you know, are underserved and that have large numbers of underrepresented, you know, groups, such as people of color as well as women. We also are, you know, working with ADCA -- which is the Aerospace Department Chair Association -- to increase the number of aerospace engineering degrees across, you know, universities. And so we're also using that avenue as well to reach out to a number of different students to provide them the opportunity to join the National Space Intern Program.

>> Maria Varmazis: Another part of the report that was really fascinating for me to dig into, there was sort of four sections called out for best practices: recruitment, retention, representation, and K-12. I think K-12 is a fascinating area. I just want to set that aside for a minute, because I'm personally very interested in the recruitment, retention, representation part especially. One thing that comes up a lot in talking about workforce -- and this might be, again, my personal angle -- is retention. So a lot of companies will go out of their way to find diverse workforce. And then a lot of times, people will feel after staying there for a while that maybe the culture doesn't fit, or they don't feel as welcomed as they'd like, and folks leave. There can be a big change required on the corporate side to sort of make sure that the workforce lives up to its promise. And I saw that there was a retention section of the report sort of along those lines. Could you talk me through maybe the best practices along that, some thoughts on that problem, and what companies are doing to address that?

>> Via Van Liew: Well, part of the Space Workforce 2030 Pledge, we have the employees that of excellence. And that's where our 31 companies, they come together and we talk and share best practices. Because we want to be able to make progress in these areas. And some of the best practices that our organizations have been sharing is collecting feedback from the employees. So doing diverse exit interviews, as well as doing stay interviews with employees to gather feedback and listening sessions to understand what the employees see as opportunities for the employer to reach into and to, you know, explore to be able to assess with retaining our employees. At the Aerospace Corporation, we have a number of different initiatives. We actually have a retention focus area where we have an executive leader that oversee this area. And we have implemented like our retention toolkit for managers to have career conversations with employees and to identify, you know, top talent. And we've also recently implemented a spotlight program where we are identifying diverse top talent and providing them with some professional development opportunities.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's great to hear. Any best practices from across the consortium, for lack of better term, that you want to highlight that maybe folks across the industry can take back with them and go, you know, this is something we should emulate?

>> Via Van Liew: Yes. I definitely, you know, suggest reaching into your talent pool and understanding what their needs are so that you can create actions around those needs. And that's exactly what our employers have been doing within the Space Workforce 2030, we have been collecting feedback from our employees and creating diversity actions to be able to implement within the organization. So I think the first step is actively listening to your employee population and then taking action off of some of their feedback.

>> Maria Varmazis: So the recent report came out at the conference this year, and I know there were some great examples of some successes over the past year. I mean, we're in year one right now, so things are still early. But it's great to see that some progress is starting to be made. So anyone that you want to highlight, or any examples that we want to talk through about something that happened that was really exciting in the past year?

>> Via Van Liew: I believe the most exciting part is the commitment from the 31 companies as far as sharing their data. You know, that is huge. So for them to commit to sharing their data, and we were actually able to collect the data and aggregate it so that we can have like a baseline to be able to significantly, you know, improve and make progress over the coming years. Because that's really going to be able to help shape our focus and our actions for years to come. So the transparency from the companies with sharing their information and providing that data to allow us to be able to leverage with upcoming activities and programming.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's great. Yeah, there's some very ambitious goals set out, too, which are well on the way getting, what, I think 3,000 interns in the internship program by 2030. And we're already at a third of that already within the last year; is that right?

>> Via Van Liew: That's correct. So we're still, you know, working our Intern Program. And we have, you know, actually collected over 1,000 applications within the tool. And we're currently still within the process of, you know, inviting our interns into the program and doing our conversion rate. So each company has a different timeline for the conversions or the interns, but we are well on our way.

>> Maria Varmazis: So I've heard some really great tips, for lack of better term. Listening to your employees is a big one, absolutely. Executive buy-in seems to be another one, and tracking with meaningful metrics, for the sake of transparency. Anything else that we can sort of leave with folks that if this is something that -- maybe they're a small firm, and maybe they think that this is something that they want to do but they don't have necessarily resources to devote to, this is something that's important to them but they maybe don't know how to get started. So executive buy-in, listening to your employees, meaningful metrics. Anything else that we can advise?

>> Via Van Liew: It is also about accountability. So we built in accountability by returning to Space Symposium on an annual basis and reporting out our progress as well as, you know, the initiatives and activities that we've done across the industry within that year to improve our progress within our goals. So definitely, you know, the executive buy-in, which you had expressed, because where the head goes, the body goes. So we ensured that we had CEOs as well as space leaders to make this commitment, because they're the ones that can really make change within the organization and create that culture to bring in underrepresented groups, and to take this pledge with the commitment. And when we spoke with the executives, they expressed that they would sign the pledge if we were really going to take action. And that's what we did last year. Also, just, you know, putting the task back on people out there on, you know, how they can contribute, they can definitely help with Space Workforce 2030. You can also spread the word about our National Space Intern Program and have students to register to give them an opportunity to be selected amongst one of the 31 companies for an intern program. But then also, you know, really get active with building that pipeline of diversity from K-12 into the technical workforce by getting involved with students, mentoring, and just really like leaning in with STEM within the K-12 schools.

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>> Alice Carruth: And we'll be right back. If you're anything like me and have dreamed of traveling to space but are a little -- okay, more than a little -- concerned with the lack of oxygen outside of our thin blue line, then you can breathe a wee sigh of relief. It seems those brilliant scientists have been at it again. And this time, they've figured out how to make oxygen on Mars. Our little friend Percy has been grafting on the Red Planet for some time now. And stored inside the rover is a device called MOXIE -- which stands for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, of course. Those clever folks behind MOXIE have figured out how to suck in Mars's thin carbon dioxide laden air and miraculously transform it into oxygen. The experiment recently achieved a major milestone when researchers pushed MOXIE to maximum production level, a factor of two times higher than had reached previously. Maybe a trip to Mars will be in my future, if they can figure out the laundry situation.

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That's it for T-Minus for June 29, 2023. For additional resources for 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 we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead of the rapidly changing space industry. We're privileged that N2K and podcasts like ours 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. 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. Learn more at n2k.com. This episode was mixed by mixing by Elliott Peltzman and Tre Hester, with original music and sound design by Elliott Peltzman. Our executive producer is Brandon Karp. Our Chief Intelligence Officer is Eric Tillman, and I'm Alice Carruth. Thanks for listening.

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