Sessions & Networking

February 6th – February 8th

Day 1  — Tuesday February 6th, 2018

7:30  am 
Registration Opens

Breakfast — Sponsored by:
8:30  am

SmallSat M&A 2017: A Year in Review & trends to watch out for in 2018

Crowded Skies ahead: Who's going to be watching. Growth can be obtained either organically or through targeted acquisitions – which best suits the small satellite company. How much growth will there be in small satellites and which segments and markets represent the greatest opportunities hence what are the current and expected trends for industry consolidation and M&A transactions. Panelists will discuss how investors perceive the small satellite industry and the performance of the sector.

9:30 am

Keynote — Dr. Hans Koenigsmann, Vice President of Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX

Dr. Hans Koenigsmann leads the Build and Flight Reliability Team at SpaceX. In this role he is the executive leader of SpaceX’s quality engineering and process development teams and, oversees the launch readiness process during launch campaigns. He provides an independent assessment of launch risks, identifying and resolving anomalies during integration and launch itself. The Reliability teams resolve all major anomalies, evaluate and mitigate risk and perform hazard analyses and other functions on the vehicle system level.

He has more than 25 years of experience designing, developing and building complex avionics and guidance, navigation and control (GNC) systems for launch vehicles and satellites. As a member of SpaceX from the company’s inception in 2002, Hans built up the avionics, software and GNC departments and developed the launch readiness process currently in use during each launch campaign. He also designed the SpaceX risk mitigation process and initiated the risk database, establishing a similar process for system-level changes to the vehicle and ground systems. Dr. Koenigsmann was the Chief Avionics Architect of the Falcon 1 and early Falcon 9 efforts, and he is a key member of the small, core group of SpaceX engineers responsible for operating these vehicles on the launch pad and in orbit. He served as Launch Chief Engineer for the last 3 Falcon 1 missions and for most Falcon 9 flights to date.


10:15 am
Networking & Refreshment Break — Sponsored by:
Orbital Systems 
10:45 am – 11:45 am

The Smallsat Industry – A Synopsis

With a current market value of close to $9 billion in manufacturing and launch and an average growth of over 12%, panelists will explore the evolving small sat industry from trending uses in each major application area to its potential impact on both the commercial and military satellite ecosystems. Examples: traditional commercial satellite operators are responding to a changing market by creating small or mid-sized satellites and adopting some of the virtual technology embraced by smallsat operators; the military is evaluating the potential of a small satellite networks capable of rapidly replacing space assets intentionally destroyed by adversaries. Lastly, will the emergence of small satellite constellations mirror the lifecycle of the computer industry, which went from giant mainframe to personal computers and then to hand-held devices?

11:30 am – 2:00 pm
Lunch Service — Sponsored by:
11:45 am

Briefing – Space Debris

The US Military currently track approximately 23,000 pieces of human generated debris larger then 10cm (4 inches) in size. With the projected explosion of constellations and other SmallSat activity, the likelihood of Kessler Syndrome is a reality. We will discus three major categories: Debris mitigation, active debris removal and space traffic management policy. Deorbiting systems for the multitude of planned satellite needs to be highly reliable.  Spacecraft need to be designed to deorbit as soon as possible after the end of their lives, in fact much earlier than the 25-year deadline in international orbital debris mitigation guidelines.

12:20 pm

Briefing – Space Law and Policy

Low & mid earth orbit satellites, by their very nature, span jurisdictions and give rise to the same issues to be considered by all the countries they serve. The legal and regulatory matters to be considered include standardization, licensing, intellectual property rights, regulation of competition, access to networks and de-regulation of basic services.

1:00 pm

Earth Observation and Remote Sensing – What is the Market?

With over 1,000 Earth observation satellites (50kg+) planned for launch by 2025, and an additional 1000 satellites below 50 kg flying in constellations, the coming decade of growth in observation satellites is enormous. To date, there are four major players to keep an eye on: Planet, DigitalGlobe, Spire and BlackSky. From agriculture & mining to traffic observation, mapping & weather, small satellites provide an opportunity to observe our planet in considerable detail. High resolution, accurate data provides a range of solutions to meet the immediate needs of emergency responders, defense users and location-based services. New applications are being developed constantly; arguably the biggest opportunity for profit is in processing the existing data and connecting it to relevant applications. There is considerable opportunity emerging, both for profit and humanitarian pursuits.

2:00 pm

Launch Opportunities and Payload Differences

Small Rockets for SmallSats: How soon? Multiple new launch options are being created that offer opportunity to minimize risk and reduce costs. Current prices per kilogram to LEO orbit range from $30,000 to $50,000. What are the current market trends and what strategies will deliver the most adapted solutions for the launch of small satellites. What specific impact of re-usable engines have on future launch costs and what is the timeframe for mass market implementation? Which propellants, engines, components and new technologies are the launch sector investing in?

3:00 pm
Networking & Refreshment Break — Sponsored by:
Orbital Systems 
3:30 pm

How NASA, Government, Universities and Research Institutes work with Industry.

How does government fund and provide support for SmallSats. Here we hear from Darpa, NASA Ames, and others. How do startups deal with government?   New SmallSat companies struggle with a government acquisition system that appears slow, cumbersome and unable to match the pace of change – how do we open these barriers to entry? Also examined are the roles of incubators and accelerators. Who they are, what they do, and how do they support the Industry.

4:30 pm

Working with Prime Contractors

What are the majors doing independently or with their affiliates to capitalize on the SmallSat market?   Airbus, Boeing, General Dynamics, Hughes, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, SSL and Thales Alenia are known for the scale of the systems they implement. How does each approach the small satellite market, and how does the scale of their organizations affect that approach?

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Wine & Hors d'Oeuvres Reception — Sponsored by:
Enjoy networking with all your colleagues while enjoying a fine glass of California wine, eating some tasty Hors d'Oeuvres and listing to the jazz ensemble of Suburu/Nervo.

Day 2  — Wednesday February 7th, 2018

7:30  am 
Registration Opens

Breakfast — Sponsored by:
8:30  am

Market for Defense Applications

What technologies are already available that may need modifications for specific military purposes. With a requirement for secure connectivity during mission-critical communications, providing more choice and flexibility through integrated solutions is in demand. Advanced military architecture could focus on scalability and flexibility. Importantly, modularity and interoperability in components and buses by sharing a common standard instead of procuring yet another satellite could lead to significant savings.

9:30 am

Keynote — Dario Zamarian, Group President, SSL

Mr. Dario Zamarian is Group President of SSL, a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems. In this role, he is responsible for all of the markets for spacecraft systems that the company serves, including communications, remote sensing, scientific exploration, and U.S. Government Systems.

With an execution track record that spans Fortune 100 companies, Private-Equity firms, and VC-backed start-ups, Mr. Zamarian brings a wealth of experience in leading transformative growth and strategic leadership to SSL, where he works closely with the senior executive team to support the needs of satellite operators around the world and drive growth into new markets.


10:15 am
Networking & Refreshment Break — Sponsored by:
10:45  am – 11:45 am

Ground Services and Networks

Providers of ground equipment compete on breadth and quality of service. Ground systems for smallsats need to be designed to accommodate current and future modem, RF and satellite frequency options and it is also important that they are fully integrated systems, which are upgradeable from the baseline manual-point configuration to a motorized, auto-acquisition platform.   These systems will need to deal with a variety of orbits from LEO through MEO to GEO.

11:30 am – 2:00 pm
Lunch Service — Sponsored by:
11:45  am

Briefing - Mobile Connectivity

Mobility is a rising star of satellite industry expansion.  Higher data rates and enhanced solutions optimized for mobile deployments are key factors enabling satellite companies to thrive in this unique environment.  From cruise ships, to commercial aircraft to high-speed trains, satellite solutions are becoming indispensable.   What extent will small satellites play in this arena?

12:20  pm

Briefing – Smallsat Manufacturing: Staying Ahead of Technology

What new technologies are being discovered and how will they affect the industry? Speakers will discuss potential new applications, private sector technologies, space tech incubators, notable advances in design and implementation, advanced materials, 3D printing and robotics.  What new business models and applications might be enabled by the birth of new technologies?

1:00  pm

Constellations – Proposals and Implementation

The super constellation plans include: OneWeb (2,900), Boeing (2,956), SpaceX (4,425), Samsung (4,600), Google (1,000), Telesat (117), LeoSat (108), O3b (44), Planet (200). Of the over 6,000 smallsats projected to be launch over the next 10 years, 70% will consist of constellations. What is involved in designing, implementing, managing and maintaining multiple satellites? How does operating a small satellite constellation differ for a more traditional satellite system? What are the most important applications flying in constellations today and what might they be tomorrow? The focus will be on different development models, prototypes and early operations including the overall positioning, level of vertical integration and cooperation with other industry stakeholders.

2:00 pm
Networking & Refreshment Break — Sponsored by:
2:30  pm

Cloud Computing in Smallsat Constellations

The small satellite revolution has resulted in proposals for sizeable small satellite constellations. Similarly cloud computing as a service, has made possible the advent of high performance computing platforms.   At the convergence of these two technological upheavals is an opportunity to transition traditional satellite group processing from dedicated operations centers to cloud computing centers. While small satellite constellations may provide a simpler solution for many missions, the ground systems required to operate or fly constellations of this size present a more daunting challenge. The sheer amount of data processing and transport involved in supporting dozens if not hundreds of simultaneous satellite contacts demands more innovative ground system solutions than traditional satellite operations centers.

3:30  pm

Finance and Securing Capital

Which funding vehicle is most likely to invest in small satellite companies to supply risk and/or working capital?  There are many options: banks, online lenders, crowd funding, venture capitalists, angel investors, exchange-traded funds, hedge funds, private lending institutions etc.   Making the business case close is essential and hence how to structure your offering and present your leadership and partner options are important factors.    Executives from venture funds, private equity firms and commercial banks will share their views on the financing of new small satellite systems. Their expected returns and financing terms and prospects for the short to middle term will be discussed.

4:30  pm

End of Day

4:30  pm


To be held from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM at Cucina Venti Restaurant, 1390 Pear Avenue #Suite D, Mountain View, CA 94043.  Join women in aerospace for a networking happy hour at Cucina Venti, just across the street from the Computer History Museum. Thanks to the sponsor, Bessemer Ventures for providing refreshments. All genders welcome.


Day 3  — Thursday February 8th, 2018

7:30  am 
Registration Opens

Breakfast — Sponsored by:
Capella Space 
8:30  am

Spectrum Availability and Alternatives

Is there a shortage of spectrum for smallsat operators?  Can spectrum historically used by smallsat operators continue to be coordinated?  Are incumbent government or commercial operators incentivized to coordinate spectrum?  What can be done to facilitate coordination efforts?  Do organizations such as the Commercial Smallsat Spectrum Management Association (CSSMA) have a role to play?  Do intersatellite links or optical links provide a solution for possible spectrum scarcity?  Panelists will address these and other spectrum-related issues facing smallest operators.

9:30  am

Briefing – How to Grow Your Company - Securing Exceptional People

Sometime finding the right people to grow a company or even to shift a company from one growth phase to the next (start up to revenue to mature business) is hard.   There are no classes or text books on how to do this.   Let alone in space …or especially in entrepreneurial space.   How to put together teams? Where do I find the people I need? What people do I need?

10:00 am
Networking & Refreshment Break
10:30  am

The Small Satellite Advantage – Business Case Considerations

Everything along the value chain is changing and today, many small satellite companies are proposing global broadband space systems and numerous earth observation constellations. These systems will most certainly come with innovative and disruptive features. In connection with these new systems, and others, what key services are price trending downwards, and what markets are approaching feasibility?

11:30  am

Software and Vulnerability to Cyber Threats

Engineering once stood alone in its ability to make or break a satellite business, however more and more satellite companies are now focusing on the intelligence and applications that make or break the business model. As modular components and COTS have become increasingly used in smallsats, once critical traditional roles are now pivoting to software engineering. How do satellite system engineers and software engineers work together to optimize applications? When it comes to cyber security, we cannot afford to believe that our existing security measures are perfect and impenetrable, despite security precautions we have implemented. Objectivity dictates we must recognize hidden threats may have already infiltrated our networks. What drives and incentivizes hackers to attack our industry or market segment? What industries and markets are most vulnerable to these cyber terrorists? Is the proliferation of satellite-delivered mobile networks the largest target? With IoT growing exponentially and widespread connectivity to devices critical to everyday life and business survival, how can we safeguard our satellites, our networks and most importantly the safe operation and protection of our customers’ appliances, utilities, health and financial security? As important as our preventative measures, what reactive and recovery plans should we also have in place?

12:30  pm

Concluding Remarks