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Rocket Lab earnings signal more space market strength.

Rocket Lab stock soars. Firefly and Xtenti to conduct a responsive space demonstration for the NRO. Artemis II crew visit the Orion capsule. And more.





Rocket Lab releases positive second quarter financial results and announces 10 new contracts. Firefly Aerospace has announced a new partnership with Xtenti to conduct a responsive space demonstration for the National Reconnaissance Office in 2024. The Artemis 2 crew got their first look at the Lockheed Martin built Orion capsule that will carry them around the moon next year, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Today we have the second installment of Maria’s interview with Kaylin Trychon and Steve Luczynski, from the Aerospace Village, on the nonprofit’s mission, their programs, and the upcoming DEF CON hacker convention.

You can connect with Kaylin and Steve on LinkedIn and find out more about the Aerospace Village on their website.

Selected Reading

Q2 2023 Investor Update- Rocket Lab

Firefly Signs NRO For New On-Demand In-Orbit Service- Aviation Weekly

Artemis II On Track, But Artemis III Could Be a “Different Mission” if Hardware Not Ready- Space Policy 

Lockheed Martin Successfully Completes Critical Design Review For Space Development Agency’s Tranche 1 Transport Layer Satellites- Lockheed Martin

Starfish Space wins $1.8M to keep working on satellite guidance system for Air Force- Geek Wire

Spire Global Awarded Space Services Contract by GHGSat to Expand Satellite Constellation for Emissions Monitoring- Spire

RFA secures €30m investment from KKR- RFA

UAE aims to secure a seat on space flights every 3 or 5 years, says MBRSC Director General– Gulf News

China launches new satellite for disaster monitoring- CGTN

China’s rapid space launch advantage, and how the US can try to counter it- Breaking Defense

Actor William Shatner will be inducted into San Diego Air & Space Museum hall of fame- San Diego Union Tribune 

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>> Alice Carruth: Quarterly reporting of financial information creates a more level playing field for access to financial details between insiders and outside investors. In recent years, commercial space companies haven't painted a pretty picture. As we've been saying for the last weeks, the outlook is starting to look positive. And the word "stabilization" seems to keep cropping up.

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Today is August 9, 2023. I'm Alice Carruth, and this is T-Minus.

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Rocket Lab stock soars. Firefly Aerospace and Xtenti to conduct a responsive space demonstration for the NRO. Artemis II crew visit the Orion capsule. And today we have the second part of Maria's chat with Kaylin Trychon and Steve Luczynski, from the Aerospace Village, on the nonprofit's mission, their programs, and the upcoming DEF CON hacker convention.

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On to today's report. We've been discussing the results of the last financial quarter a lot recently. And tomorrow we'll be speaking with Space Capital managing partner Chad Anderson to wrap up findings from the start of this year. But today, we're focusing on Rocket Lab's latest news. We knew after the successful launches that this company had notched up, both in the US and New Zealand this year, that the results were going to be good. And they didn't disappoint. There were losses, but revenue grew 12% year-over-year in the second quarter. They also announced 10 new contracts for 2023 and 2024. Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said, "the second quarter saw a strong performance across Rocket Lab's launch and space system businesses, with three successful Electron launches, more than 17 space craft featuring Rocket Lab's satellite components deployed to orbit, and multiple new launch contracts signed with new and returning customers." Rocket Lab expects revenue to grow between $73 million and $77 million for the third quarter of this year. The company also touted progress with its Neutron rocket, with a test campaign on the Archimedes engine already underway. We are expecting big things from Rocket Lab in the next 12 months to include the first flight campaign of the Neutron in 2024. On yesterday's show, we discussed Firefly Aerospace's new fleet of on-orbit vehicles. And it seems that they've already secured their first customer. Firefly has announced a new partnership with Ztenti to conduct a responsive space demonstration for the National Reconnaissance Office in 2024. A Firefly Alpha rocket will launch the company's new Elytra spacecraft with Xtenti's FANTM-RiDE, small-satellite dispenser on board. Xtenti plans to demonstrate the ability to add, replace, or remove payloads on FANTM-RiDE ride within hours of the launch without impacting the loads on the booster. The Artemis II crew got their first look at the Lockheed Martin built Orion capsule that will carry them around the Moon next year. The four astronauts said that seeing the hardware firsthand and meeting the men and women building the vehicle brought home the reality of their historic mission. The Artemis II crew are not expected to launch before November of next year, and NASA says the mission remains on track. The Space Agency did warn that a lot of work remains for both the Artemis II and III missions to return humans to the Moon. There's also ongoing concerns with whether or not SpaceX's Starship will be ready for Artemis III's launch in 2025. Lockheed Martin and the Space Development Agency have successfully completed a critical design review for the Tranche 1 Transport Layer program, known as T1TL. The integrated system review validated that Lockheed Martin's T1TL ground and space designs meet all mission requirements and can proceed to production. Our friends at Starfish Space have received a tactical funding increase of $1.8 million by the US Air Force. The new award by AFWERX will support continued development of the company's Cephalopod software for satellite guidance, navigation, and control. The award builds on previous collaborations between Starfish and the Air Force Research Lab. Space services company Spire has been awarded a contract by GHGSat to build, launch, and operate four additional 16U satellites that will carry GHGSat payloads to monitor greenhouse gas emissions. This new contract builds upon Spire's initial agreement with GHGSat for three 16U satellites that will launch by the end of this year. GHGSat had an early focus on oil and gas but has since increased data observed from other emission industries. The company stated that, "the contract demonstrates GHGSat's continuing and growing commitment to the UK and is directly related to a recently announced initiative by the UK Space Agency Satellite Applications Catapult and GHGSat to accelerate climate innovation. We led with the story on Monday that KKR had invested in OHM and suggested that that investment would extend to OHM's rocket factory. And indeed it has. KKR is now a majority stakeholder at launch service provider Rocket Factory Augsburg, known as RFA. RFA announced that they've raised 30-million-euro investment from KKR, which they intend to use for developments ahead of their first stage test at Scotland's SaxaVord Spaceport plan for next year. Space situational awareness is a growing concern and a new partnership between EnduroSat and Vyoma is offering a solution. The companies say that they're working together on Europe's first commercial mission for in situ space situational awareness. Vyoma brings to the partnership in-orbit optical telescopes to observe space objects and map the orbital environment at a high frequency. EnduroSat will design and build microsatellites, which will be deployed in a low Earth orbit. The spacecraft is also equipped with Edge computing capabilities for in-orbit processing of the images in real time and data reduction. The companies plan to launch the first two pilot satellites by the end of next year as part of a 12-satellite constellation. The United Arab Emirates have said that they plan to send astronauts to space every three to five years. The director general of Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center told the Emirates News Agency that the country now has four qualified astronauts. Two Emirates have already spent time on the International Space Station. The UAE is working with neighbors Bahrain and Kuwait on space programs and is discussing developing satellites and training with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. China held a launch earlier today to lift an HJ-2 06 Earth observation satellite to orbit. The satellite has two image modes: 5-meter spatial resolution and 25-meter spatial resolution. Will be used for monitoring disasters and providing data support for emergency management, ecological environment, natural resources, and other industries. The mission launched the 482nd of China's Long March carrier rockets.

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That concludes our briefing for today. You can find links to all the stories we have covered in our Show Notes. And we've included a story covering a report on China's rapid space launch advantage. You can find them all at space.n2k.com. And hey, T-Minus crew, if you find this podcast useful, please do us a favor and share a five-star rating and a short review in your favorite podcast app. It will help other space professionals like you to find the show and join the T-Minus crew. Thank you; we really appreciate it. Today, we have the second installment of Maria's interview with Kaylin Trychon and Steve Luczynski, from the Aerospace Village, on the nonprofit's mission, their programs, and the upcoming DEF CON hacker convention.

>> Steve Luczynski: To pile on to what Kaylin said, you know, that government side, the growth we've seen over these five years. We've got a person from TSA coming in to talk about the screening systems and the cyber service involved with that. We've got two nice ladies from the Office of the National Cyber Director, and they're coming in to talk about things from the National Cybersecurity Strategy and the Workforce Strategy that's recently published, but they also do work with the National Space Council. So their perspective from that high-level government side of things, all the way down to the deep technical and things like what Kaylin's mentioned on both space and aviation. I'm excited, I get to do a talk with the TSA administrator, hearing his perspective on both space and -- aviation and space-related cybersecurity concerns, the industrial control systems at airports, spaceports, all of that, and what, you know, folks are probably hearing more and more about, what TSA is doing. And I have to put in a plug also, Kaylin mentioned Pete's talk, but he's also hosting and moderating a panel of a five-year retrospective. So Pete, for those of you who don't know, he's one of the original cofounders. Others on that panel: Beau Woods, Alex Romero, Katie Noble, and I think Randy Tally, who's currently at TSA, will be joining. Because they lived the early-on trials and tribulations and what they had to do to make sure, like Kaylin said, we do this in a trusting, relationship-building environment, to grow, to have the success and get where we are today and what our volunteers are putting on. So in addition to the talks, the things people can come and do -- like we mentioned, you've got talks that are very technical and very high level. We have activities that are very deeply technical and very complex on the run side of things. And we've also got activities that are very simple and straightforward in the like a crawl, walk, run mentality. So Capture-the-Flag event's being hosted by Boeing, by Lockheed Martin. The Aviation ISAC has brought in students from Embry-Riddle. We've got students in our talk track. We've got students running these Capture-the-Flags. We have other smaller companies like CT Cubed and TerraGenesis showing some of their training systems, some of the industrial control systems as it relates to runway lighting and the security behind those and how they demonstrate that. SpaceX is going to have one of their ground stations there. It sounds like they're going to have a space suit and an engine. So it's just good to have some cool things to look at. We'll have an Airbus cockpit. One of our other -- again, another partner of ours, pentesting partners, they have built an Airbus cockpit and they use that to demonstrate.

>> Maria Varmazis: I'm sorry, a cockpit?

>> Steve Luczynski: Yes. And yes, it will be there for fun, the fun of flying it, also. So they're demonstrating.

>> Maria Varmazis: The photos alone.

>> Steve Luczynski: Exactly. And they're going to have actual aircraft. So your experience of flying out there being uncomfortable and flying home, you can do that in our village. So we have all of that. And then like Kaylin said, we've got our badges that we take donations for. That helps us keep going. And one other event I forgot, I've been working on this lately, is an "ask me anything."

>> Maria Varmazis: Yeah, yeah. Tell me about that.

>> Steve Luczynski: We've got all these experts, right. We've got experts that are volunteers, that are volunteers, are pilots, former pilots, military, commercial, all the way to people who've done policy in government, policy in industry, the security researchers who are -- they've been doing it their entire career. And then we have all these partners and experts that are coming in either speaking or the activities that we talked about. And so folks want to learn from them. And so we have in our website. It'll be probably expect about 12-4:00 on Friday and on Saturday, nothing on Sunday for this portion. But where you can sit down and say, hey, I want to learn about getting into cybersecurity; I want to learn about getting into cybersecurity in aviation or space sector. And you can hear from folks. They want to talk about where they work. If you want to know about it, great. But the idea is, experienced people who come from a government, an industry, an academic, a security researcher background. You can ask them any questions that you want. You can hear more about what they did, how they got in, the goods, the bads, all of those things. So it's so good to see the -- bringing that expertise together, and this is something we've been looking forward to. And our partners at AIAA -- that's the American Institute of Aeronautics Astronautics -- are hosting that for us, and we really appreciate their effort there.

>> Maria Varmazis: All these marquee names that you've been mentioning, that's just incredible that, in five years, you've got all that fantastic partnership and all these amazing organizations coming in to support the mission. That it is so wonderful and encouraging to hear. I have to ask the obligatory trend question. What have you noticed over these last five years? I mean, it sounds like almost exponential growth, if one can map such a thing.

>> Kaylin Trychon: So I think, you know, as I mentioned earlier, we started as the Aviation Village year one, and then after that, expanded to the Aerospace Village. And that was actually when Hack-A-Sat kind of kicked off and started with us. And we were bringing in the idea that the CTF working with the US Air Force, and now US Air Force and Space Force and AFRL. And it was kind of one of these catalyst moments where, you know, when you're working on something this big, that I think many thought, wow, I can't believe this is going to happen and we're going to do this here at a place like DEF CON, and we're going to see that type of collaboration and community across government, industry, and nonprofit. And it was this huge undertaking. And then, you know, we pulled it off during COVID, which was unexpected, as well. And I think that COVID really, you know, being so online and being able to try to like make this hard pivot and really, really figure out how are we going to engage with folks that want to participate in this competition, want to learn about aerospace security. I think it allowed us to foster a ton of growth. I think, you know, it's an interesting -- COVID, as unfortunate as it was, and we obviously wanted to be together, I think it did give us that opportunity to just have such a farther reach than we would've had just focusing on one event that isn't accessible to everybody. Not everybody can travel to Las Vegas in August. Though I envy those people, because.

>> Maria Varmazis: [Laughing]

>> Kaylin Trychon: Something I'm not looking forward to.

>> Maria Varmazis: It could rain, you never know.

>> Kaylin Trychon: [Inaudible] for that.

>> Steve Luczynski: It could rain.

>> Maria Varmazis: It could.

>> Kaylin Trychon: You know, continuing to operate, you know, throughout the year and the years after, fostering the community, engaging and not having it be a once a year. Engagement is really why we've grown so much. A lot of the work at the villages that Steve has done to put into places like RSA, like Hack the Capitol, to ensure that we are, you know, testing out different communities, reaching different communities, engaging, and talking. That's where I think the growth has come from. And we've seen Hack-A-Sat evolve too throughout this time. And that brings us to what I'm going to call the "satellite in the room" here, which we haven't talked about in depth yet. But this year, Hack-A-Sat finals are going to happen at DEF CON on a satellite that is in space, Moonlighter.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's so cool.

>> Kaylin Trychon: It is. Orbiting in space, it is so cool. I'm such a nerd. I have volunteered to be launched into space with the next one, just because that's on my bucket list. I'm so excited to bring Hack-A-Sat and this competition. I'm working with the Air Force and Space Force to actually do this and have it be live in space with these finalists. I think it's just going to be something that is incredible and such a testament to all of the work that the community at the village has done. And I think, you know, it helps to make sure that outreach is happening. You know, this CTF is a huge deal. And, you know, we're up against the AI wars this year. So we'll take what we can get to keep ourselves in the conversation.

>> Steve Luczynski: Well, and the beauty is, Hack-A-Sat covers both the activity side, like what Kaylin mentioned, it's happening, it's happening at DEF CON. It's on the other side of the wall. So we're paired up like we've always been paired up together. So if somebody comes into the village, they walk through the village, and on the other side, they're going to see the Hack-A-Sat teams doing what they do at Capture-the-Flag. If they stay each day, the Hack-A-Sat team's going to do an update in the morning. I believe it's our first talk each day. Where they're going to spend time on stage talking about what went on with the day prior, the overnight. Because the teams are going the entire time. So both on the speaking side and come see it live in action side. We're going to have a CubeSat, I failed to mention. I knew I'd forget some folks, our friends at Cal Poly. The CubeSat, known as the Project Moonlighter that Kaylin mentioned, is a CubeSat launched in June, deployed off the ISS in July. That's what's orbiting. That's what they're hacking on for this Capture-the-Flag. But we have one because Cal Poly's bringing one in. And you can talk to folks about how it works and what it does. So again, it's just that variety of things building on the success of what's grown now in the fourth year of Hack-A-Sat.

>> Maria Varmazis: DEF CON is such an amazing, overwhelming event, especially for someone who might be new. So I'm just going to close with like a newbie question. If someone's going to DEF CON for the first time and they want to go to the village, your village, what would you recommend they start with first? I know it depends on what they're interested in, but let's just go with that.

>> Kaylin Trychon: I would say, it wasn't too, too long ago that I was a newbie DEV CON'er. And I would say, you know, if you're entering the Aerospace Village, look for someone in a blue Aerospace Village T-shirt and just go up to them and ask them, you know. Share what your interests are, and we will help make sure that you have the best first experience that you can have. You know, we have so many incredible volunteers with such incredible background, and we want, you know, people to have a great experience and to take something away and to learn something that they didn't know when they entered the village. So look for somebody in an Aerospace Village T-shirt, that is my advice.

>> Steve Luczynski: And I think what you led off with, Maria, is having tried to do everything at DEF CON -- because there are so many villages, so many activities, so many talks, you've got to stand in line or you're going to miss out on the talk -- just pick something. Maybe it's our village for the entire day. We would love to have you. Just like Kaylin said, talk to somebody in a blue shirt or one of the nice neon vests that we're bringing this year, so you know who the volunteers are, and they can point you in the right direction. But really, that focus, so you can actually enjoy DEF CON. As opposed to just get totally whooped trying to do everything. Because we're only one small portion of DEF CON, right. The building that we're in, as massive as it is, there's still things over in the Link and over in the Flamingo and the other hotels. So yeah, just being able to make your way around and only enjoy and spend time at each place is the recommendation that I'll bring.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's some earned wisdom there, indeed.

>> Steve Luczynski: I don't follow it myself, but I offer it, and I try to get -- I try to do it, but I fail.

>> Maria Varmazis: It's a lot. It's a big event. Kaylin and Steve, I wish you all the best at DEF CON this year.

>> Alice Carruth: We'll be right back. And welcome back. Admiral James T Kirk is going to be inducted into the San Diego Air and Space Museum's Hall of Fame. Okay, not the character Captain Kirk, but the actor that's best known for playing him. William Shatner is also the oldest person to have traveled to space, having taken a trip with Blue Origin at the age of 90 in 2021. The museum's CEO says the actor is being recognized for his contribution in sparking public interest in the cosmos. The Shat joins renowned figures such as Buzz Aldrin, Chuck Yeager, and Sally Ride as an inductee. Good on you, Captain.

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That's it for T-Minus for August 9, 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 we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead of 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 mixed by Elliott Peltzman and Tré 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 Alice Carruth. Thanks for listening.

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