Very proud to have been asked to come back to RMC to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of our inaugural Space Science class. Former and current RMC Space Science staff put together a fantastic agenda which included tours of much-expanded space technology classrooms and workshops, and which culminated in hearing some words from Jeremy Hansen.
I was pleased to learn this week that I had successfully completed my advanced STK Master Certification for current version 11.1. STK Certification happens in two stages: you first complete a Basic Certification that essentially exposes you to the significant functionality of STK Free. Upon successful completion of that, you can go on to register for the advanced certification.
The nice thing is that AGI provides you the licenses and 2 weeks to complete the test (which is comprised of multiple choice questions and scenario deliverables such as reports, graphs, images and movies – a real comprehensive slice of your STK competency!). The other nice thing is that you can do it on your own time (and maybe on your Boss’ time if they recognize the potential of the investment).
The AGI Training Team provides lots of training tutorials to get you quickly up to speed. It is actually quite interesting to go through the various scenarios and discover your ability to approach the problem from different perspectives.
There has been some hype regarding the lack of communication with a Chinese space station (see related article here). By applying the free version of System ToolKit (STK), I was able to download the latest ephemeris file on the object and load it into the application. I then created a rough area around Canada and calculated access from the station to it (to give a sense of its orbital path in relation to Canada). As you can see from above, the orbital inclination of the space station barely touches the southern Canadian border. So, even if the station were to break up in the Earth’s atmosphere, its pieces would likely not impact on our soil.
Telesat President and CEO Dan Goldberg is confident that the operator is on the right path to developing a constellation of Ka-band High Throughput Satellites (HTS) in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to serve broadband customers around the world.
MDA Corp. Chief Executive Daniel E. Friedmann’s decision to leave his job after 20 years at first blush looks like an injustice:He carries the wrong passport (Canadian) for a company whose growth is in part tied to U.S. government contracts, and he lives in the wrong place – British Columbia, not Palo Alto, California, where MDA’s growth engine, satellite builder SSL, is located.
After enduring/enjoying three days of military ‘outlooks’ (tri-service program/project updates with networking put on by CADSI), I was able re-affirm my challenges to scout out and secure viable business opportunities as a small ‘S’ supplier – what I call at least a 2nd or 3rd tier supplier, and often one that rarely contributes more than 10% towards a contract’s value (note: there are likely other definitions).
These and similar events are often full of mostly-available information – i.e., there are not that many real surprises from the briefings, and this especially applies to those who are finely attuned to the various programs/projects that they are following. The small ‘S’, as well, should be as attuned, however often it is consumed by business operations, sales operations, sales, and business development – usually the responsibility of one to a handful of people. Contrast this with the large ‘S’ in which there can be one person solely dedicated to a particular program.
The challenges tend to be thus:
- Finding programs/projects to which your technology applies
- Finding programs/projects with possible this-FY funding (very important for the small ‘S’ is cash flow)
- Finding people from the large ‘S’ crowd who are looking at the same opportunities
- Finding people from the large ‘S’ crowd who are willing to share their solution needs
- Finding people from the large ‘S’ crowd who have solution needs compatible to your technology
What you have to do:
- Do Your Homework – most large ‘S’ suppliers are very program-focused and are either looking for high level contacts, or technology-relevant partners (big or small). A perusal of various government sites can give you an idea where a particular project is in terms of potential near-term funding. The trick here is to not pick those projects whose ‘window of opportunity’ has already closed. In other words, either most of the main funding has been allocated already or everyone in the ‘win’ column already has a ‘dance partner.’
- Don’t be afraid to keep non-relevant biz encounters short – the other party likely wants to optimize their time too
- Spend some time confirming/refreshing your growing list of contacts – it is not uncommon now to find people moving jobs every few years, depending on the industry
- Don’t assume that your regular contacts fully-comprehend your technology (and thus your value proposition) nor that they are aware of recent capability upgrades that could be relevant to their program pursuit.
- Be patient – it can be a slog to go from conversation to conversation as you both try to gather useful intel and scan for your next ‘target’.