On Orbit Podcast
Produced by Via Satellite magazine and hosted by Via Satellite Contributing Editor Annamarie Nyirady Via Satellite Executive Editor Jeffrey Hill and, each On Orbit technology-focused podcast provides in-depth information and discussion about the socio-economic value of space and satellite capabilities.
On Orbit is a problem-solving podcast, with a mission to educate listeners on the real human value of space and satellite technology and works to answer, “What’s your business in space?”
Episode No. 47 | November 24, 2020
From Launch Dreams to Laser Beams With Tina Ghataore of Mynaric
Tina Ghataore is president of Mynaric USA, a company specializing in laser communications. She’s had an impressive career, but her love for space started with wanting to be an astronaut as a child. In this episode, we talk to Tina about her childhood spaceflight dreams and her career trajectory, and she gives us a lesson in Lasers 101.
Episode No. 46 | November 10, 2020
How Astroscale’s Carolyn Belle Sees the Future of the Space Economy
Carolyn Belle has held a variety of jobs in the space industry. At her current gig, she’s the director of advanced systems at Astroscale US. In this episode, we talk about her work in orbital sustainability and how it aligns with her vision for the future of humanity in space, diversifying the space industry, as well as most importantly — Star Trek vs. Star Wars?
Episode No. 45 | October 27, 2020
What Does the 2020 Election Mean for Space Policy?
What would a Trump or Biden administration mean for space policy? On this episode, we talk to Via Satellite Managing Editor Rachel Jewett and SATELLITE Chairman Jeff Hill and about what we know about each candidate’s platform. Can space remain a bipartisan issue?
Episode No. 44 | October 13, 2020
Chatting with Grace Graham: ULA Internship and Twitter Q&A
We bring back previous co-host and guest Grace Graham, student at Utah State University. She catches us up on her summer internship with ULA, her firsthand experience with rocket launches, and the secret to Tory Bruno’s social media success. Rolling into a Q&A from Twitter, we talk about Space Force the show, the nitty gritty on the Artemis announcement, why learning to code is essential, and more.
Episode No. 43 | September 28, 2020
Internship 101 With Former Matthew Isakowitz Fellow Josh Ingersoll
So you’re interested in the space industry, but how do you land an internship? As someone who’s interned at NASA, GE Aviation, and OneWeb, Josh Ingersoll has some tips and tricks to share. Ingersoll is currently a graduate space policy student at George Washington University, and also serves as recruitment chair for the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship. He shares how internships have shaped his career, and musings about his current studies in mega-constellation space policy.
Episode No. 42 | September 14, 2020
To Mars and Beyond With Chris Bellant of the Mars Initiative
Chris Bellant is an operations planner for the International Space Station (ISS) by day, but by night, he’s the executive director for the Mars Initiative. Through this nonprofit, he’s able to help humanity get closer to exploring Mars through both grant programs and its Mars Prize Fund. In this episode we talk to Bellant about his passion for space exploration, his work at the Mars Initiative, how he landed that gig, and why humans should land on Mars.
Episode No. 41 | August 31, 2020
The Potential of the African Space Industry With MzansiSat’s Victor Stephanopoli
Victor Stephanopoli is the COO of MzansiSat, South Africa’s first private prospective satellite operator focusing on telecom. The company focuses on the South African market, and aims to deploy Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellites, with the goal providing internet connectivity anywhere inside the country by 2025. In this episode, Stephanopoli shares his uncommon path to the space industry, the ins and outs of the African market, and his take on GEO vs. LEO.
Episode No. 40 | August 17, 2020
A PocketQube Startup Story with Alba Orbital’s Tom Walkinshaw
Tom Walkinshaw is the founder and CEO of Alba Orbital, a startup specializing in building pocketqubes — small satellites that only measures 5 cm across. Making satellites smaller and more inexpensive makes space more accessible to everyone, Walkinshaw says. He’s excited for different pocketqube applications, including RF and imagery, which he hopes can benefit the greater good. In this episode we talk to Walkinshaw about building a pocketqube startup, applications for tiny 5 cm satellites, making space more accessible, and being named the 39th coolest person in Scotland.
Episode No. 39 | August 4, 2020
From Amazon Software to Space-Based Blockchain with Aravind Ravichandran
Aravind Ravichandran is a Senior Strategy Consultant at PwC’s space practice, and a self-proclaimed Earth Observation (EO) data aficionado with a passion for blockchain. As a former software engineer at Amazon, he comes to the space industry from the software industry. On this episode, Aravind talks about transferable learnings from the software industry, popping the space industry bubble, and use cases for blockchain.
Episode No. 38 | July 21, 2020
Propulsion in Space While Moving Forward on Earth With Naia Butler-Craig
Naia Butler-Craig is a NASA space technology graduate research fellow and a PhD student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, focusing on electric propulsion. She’s not only involved in gateway Artemis projects, but as a self-proclaimed thrill-seeker, aspires to be an astronaut. In this episode Naia talks about her journey in the space industry, her research, the importance of the smallsat renaissance, and the importance of tackling racism in STEM.
Episode No. 37 | July 7, 2020
Keeping Space Green and Clean With Luc Riesbeck
Luc Riesbeck is a space policy research analyst at Astroscale U.S., and wants to make our orbits a safer place. In this episode, Luc talks about the importance of space sustainability, keeping our orbits clean, and what space policy could look like in the years to come.
Episode No. 36 | June 23, 2020
Cubesat Experiments With Julie Sage, a Gen Z Aspiring Astrophysicist
Julie Sage is an aspiring astrophysicist, science communicator, and the host of SuperNova Style Science News. In this episode we talk about her various cubesat experiments, the challenges she’s faced as a 16-year-old scientist, as well as making science more accessible for young folks.
Episode No. 35 | June 8, 2020
Exploring Space Medicine with Dominic Tanzillo
What is space medicine? Although the answer can vary, doctors look for ways to keep humans in homeostasis while they endure extreme environments. There’s also ways that the space environment can benefit researchers studying diseases. In this episode, we talk to Duke University undergrad, NASA intern and SEDS member Dominic Tanzillo about the history of space medicine, what it encompasses, and what we can learn during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Episode No. 34 | May 22, 2020
Making Space in the Space Industry with SEDS Director of Projects Nicole Chase
A woman with many titles, Nicole Chase is the director of projects for Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), director of the student space ambassador program for The Mars Generation, and a database administrator for Made in Space. She recently submitted an abstract about the importance of young leadership in the space industry, and why it is crucial to foster an environment that young leaders thrive in. In this episode, we talk to Chase about what “space is for everyone” means, how to foster young leadership, and how to make the industry an inclusive space (no pun intended) for all.
Episode No. 33 | May 12, 2020
Launching Both Cubesats and Events with SEDS Rice President Ryan Udell
In this episode, On Orbit talks to Ryan Udell, the chapter president for Students for the Exploration and Development of Space at Rice University. Udell revamped the SEDS chapter at his university, transforming the club from a single member to over 30, and founded and hosted the inaugural Owls in Space Symposium event. Host Annamarie Nyirady and and Udell talk about the similarities and differences in leading (and launching) two very different projects, and what it takes to be a next-gen space leader.
Episode No. 32 | April 27, 2020
The Automated Fiber-Planting Tractor that Won Startup Space
On Orbit caught up with Startup Space winner Daniel Turner, CEO and co-founder of TRAXyL, a company that is developing an automated, tractor-powered fiber deployment solution. TRAXyL installs optical fiber lines along existing roadways without digging deep trenches. Daniel shared the company’s origins, how he and his partner came up with the idea of using an automated tractor, and how technologies like the FiberTRAXtor can benefit the satellite and space sectors, and 5G deployment.
Episode No. 31 | April 6, 2020
On Orbit Live at SATELLITE — What Does ‘New Space’ Really Mean?
What exactly do we, people in the space and satellite industry, mean when we use the term ‘New Space’? New Space is often used to describe new companies, new ideas, and new technologies. Is New Space a technical term? Or, is it a cultural identity? This episode, our first live episode, was recorded during SATELLITE 2020 and it’s co-hosted by Grace Graham, a Brooke Owens Fellow, and Brian Garret-Glazer of Avionics Magazine. Our guest panelists are Dr. Tanya Harrison of Planet, Charlie Nitschelm of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), Rafferty Jackson of Jack Industries and Astia, and Ali Younis of Astranis.
Episode No. 30 | March 23, 2020
The Songs (and Sounds) of Space with Steven Drozd & The Flaming Lips
Over the course of their nearly 37-year existence, the Flaming Lips have drawn inspiration for their music from the most fascinating and unique corners of science fiction, as well as some of the most important moments in space exploration history. Steven Drozd, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter joins us for a discussion about how the NASA Moon landing, Voyager program, Mars mission, visual artist Moebius, David Bowie, the films “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Logan’s Run,” and composers Gustav Holst, György Ligeti, and Igor Stravinsky have all helped shape the Flaming Lips’ signature sound.
Episode No. 29 | March 17, 2020
Connecting the Unconnected Finale: The Future of Satellite Connectivity
For our sixth and final episode of our special podcast series, “Connecting the Unconnected,” we’re joined by Hughes Vice President of Corporate Marketing Arunas Slekys and Senior Vice President of Engineering John Corrigan for a conversation about the future of global satellite communications. We discuss how broadband connectivity is a fight for global economic equality, and how the rollout of 5G services could impact the development of satellite hardware and ground terminals.
Episode No. 28 | March 3, 2020
Connecting the Unconnected Part 5: The Regulatory Landscape with Jennifer Manner
Satellite is an important part of bringing connectivity to users wherever they are. The regulatory choices that are made by governments can assist in bringing connectivity to users. Satellite spectrum is an invisible asset that is invaluable to us as a society. While it covers the planet, spectrum is actually scarce. How is the spectrum supply managed? In this special episode of our six-part podcast series, “Connecting the Unconnected,” EchoStar Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Jennifer Manner examines the spectrum, funding, and other decisions that impact the ability of satellite providers to meet the demands of users on both sides of the digital divide.
Episode No. 27 | February 25, 2020
Rapid-Fire Inspiration — an SGx Preview with Karina Perez Molina
Karina Perez Molina is in charge of producing the Space Generation Advisory Council’s SGx Keynote Series program at SATELLITE. The program, co-produced by SGAC and the Future Space Leaders Foundation, consists of a series of short TEDx-style keynotes that connect the ideas of students and young professionals with the experience and insight of aerospace industry leaders. Karina and I talk about how and why she got involved with SGAC, how SGx is designed to inspire and keep young professionals motivated, and how she landed the leading actor of hit sci-fi series “The Expanse” as this year’s emcee.
Episode No. 26 | February 18, 2020
Connecting the Unconnected Part 4: In the Air, On the Ocean, On the Move
Many Americans report being online “constantly,” and hyper-connectivity behavior follows consumers wherever they go, now even reaching airplanes and cruise ships. Analysts at Euroconsult predict a 200% increase in connected aircraft during the next eight years. In our latest in the series “Connecting the Unconnected,” Reza Rasoulian and Royce Hernandez of Hughes Network Systems share the latest developments in connectivity solutions for aero and maritime customers.
Episode No. 25 | February 11, 2020
Harvest Hub: Food Security from Space
Dr. Hannah Kerner develops machine learning solutions for NASA Harvest, a program led by the University of Maryland, in which a group of international partners use satellite data to make decisions related to food security and agriculture in the U.S. and around the world. But her background in machine learning is out of this world, specifically on Mars and other planets with the Mars Science Laboratory, and she has also worked on commercial remote sensing at Planet. Dr. Kerner talks about how and why she made the choice to change the focus of her work from exploring other worlds to protecting and maintaining our own.
Episode No. 24 | February 4, 2020
Connecting the Unconnected Part 3: When Disaster Strikes
In the third episode of our special podcast series, “Connecting the Unconnected,” Hughes Network Systems’ Tony Bardo and Dan Brown join me for a discussion about the vital role that satellite technology plays in emergency services and disaster recovery, and the difference it has made in some of the most infamous disaster situations in recent years.
Episode No. 23 | January 28, 2020
Kerbal Space Program’s Aerospace of Play
Kerbal Space Program, the successful space flight simulator has been hailed by game industry critics and space industry leaders such as ULA’s Tory Bruno and SpaceX’s Elon Musk as providing the “perfect blend of science and slapstick.” Grant Gertz is a game producer for Private Division, the company developing KSP’s much-anticipated sequel. We discuss his unique path to a career in video games, the influence of space technology on pop culture, the educational value of video games, and how developer Private Division plans to build on the success of the first release with Kerbal Space Program 2.
Episode No. 22 | January 21, 2020
Connecting the Unconnected Part 2: Changing Lives with Affordable Internet Access
In our second episode in the series “Connecting the Unconnected,” On Orbit is joined by Wilson Azevedo, Hughes Network Systems’ Wifi Product Manager in Brazil, John Holguin, a Hughes Application Engineer in Colombia, and Hughes’ Senior Director of International Networks, Vinay Patel for a deeper dive on satellite-enabled community Wi-Fi solutions and how they are creating affordable internet access in South America and around the world.
Episode No. 21 | January 14, 2020
WTF is WRC (and Why Should I Care?)
Bandwidth is by no means an unlimited resource. Your family’s smartphones, your in-home WiFi, and the dozens of Bluetooth devices in your automobile all take bites of different slices of the larger bandwidth pie. The rollout of 5G wireless is like someone walking up to that pie and shoveling a big scoop out of the center with both hands. Who determines how to split the remainder of the pie? Who determines who should be compensated for the pie that was lost? OmniSpace Chief Regulatory and International Strategy Officer Mindel De La Torre joins us for this episode — a primer for those who don’t understand how the ITU’s World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) works and an explanation of how it impacts the everyday consumer.
Episode No. 20 | January 7, 2020
Connecting the Unconnected Part 1: Connecting Rural and Hard-to-Reach Places
In the first episode of our special podcast series, “Connecting the Unconnected,” sponsored by Hughes, we’re joined by Hughes Network Systems Dave Rehbehn and Mark Weimer to define connectivity challenges in rural and remote regions. We define the challenges of connecting those in rural and “hard to reach” locations. Dave and Mark explain why satellite broadband is considered core to achieving higher and improved penetration to these regions.
Episode No. 19 | December 23, 2019
The Top 12 Space and Satellite News Stories of 2019
Via Satellite Editor-in-Chief Mark Holmes and Managing Editor Annamarie Nyirady join us to discuss the biggest space and satellite news stories of 2019.
Episode No. 18 | December 10, 2019
Microsoft Azure, Dell Energy CTOs on the Digital Innovation Frontier
Microsoft Azure Global CTO William Chappell joins us for a conversation about how secure cloud systems allow satellite operators to support many new and exciting applications at the edge – applications that define business evolution in the age of IoT. Following this interview, we play an excerpt from one of Jeff’s favorite keynote speeches of the year, delivered by David Holmes, CTO of Dell Technologies‘ Global Energy Program.
Episode No. 17 | November 26, 2019
Satellite Cybersecurity Horror Stories with Ken Munro
We sat down with Ken Munro, the founder of Pen Test Partners, following his keynote at the 2019 OilComm conference. He discusses his recent fascination with the commercial space industry, specifically due to what he sees as a concerning lack of security for satellite ground systems. Ken explains his recent work and shares some ideas on how satellite companies can help better secure their networks in the constantly evolving IoT ecosystem.
Episode No. 16 | November 12, 2019
Building Smallsats Like Cars: NanoAvionics Comes to the USA
NanoAvionics CEO Vytenis Buzas defines his small satellite-building business as an homage to the smart industrial practices of the American automobile industry. What emerged as a spinoff of Lithuania’s Vilnius University, NanoAvionics is now thriving and Buzas sees an opportunity to achieve success in the land that inspired his business. In this episode of On Orbit, co-host Grace Graham and I spoke with Vytenis and NanoAvionics USA’s new CEO Frank Abbot about the company’s move to the States.
Episode No. 15 | October 29, 2019
Commercial Satellite in the 1980s: An Industry History Lesson w/ Scott Chase
In this episode, Scott Chase tells On Orbit host Jeffrey Hill the SATELLITE show’s origin story. The annual event was created in 1981 as a small gathering of innovative minds and invested leaders, determined to realize their visions of a global voice, video, and data network. Scott shares his insights from his many years as chair of the event, and the lessons that the industry learned along the way from technologies and companies that failed despite great expectations.
Episode No. 14 | October 15, 2019
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr on Satellite-Powered Precision Farming
The episode begins with GPSIA Executive Director David Grossman speaking about the connectivity resources needed to power precision agriculture businesses. We then sit down with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr to talk about the FCC’s new Precision Agriculture task force. The episode concludes with an interview with Iowa Soybean Association’s Jeff Jorgenson, who tells us how farmers are learning about new precision agriculture technologies.
Episode No. 13 | October 1, 2019
Cosmic Girl: Launching Satellites from Jumbo Jets w/ Sirisha Bandla of Virgin Orbit
In this episode of On Orbit, co-hosts Jeffrey Hill and Grace Graham sit down with Sirisha Bandla, business development and government affairs manager at Virgin Orbit, who supports the development of the company’s LauncherOne and SpaceShipTwo programs. Sirisha explains how LauncherOne works and talks about the results of its most recent drop test. She said the company is moving full speed ahead, with its eye firmly on the prize — first launch.
Episode No. 12 | September 17, 2019
Seeing is Believing: Space-Based SAR to Save our Environment w/ Capella Space CEO Payam Banazadeh
We caught up with Payam, a National Science Foundation (NSF) fellow, NASA Mariner Award winner and entrepreneur recently named to Forbes “30 Under 30” list, about the unique capabilities of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data, specifically when used for environmental monitoring.
Episode No. 11 | September 3, 2019
Community Wi-Fi: Education, Healthcare, and Economic Equality w/ Dave Rehbehn and Peter Gulla
In this episode, Hughes Network Systems’ Dave Rehbehn and Peter Gulla join On Orbit host Jeffrey Hill for a granular look at the global effort to bring the world online. Dave and Peter provide a boots-on-the-ground viewpoint on the role of both existing and new constellation satellites for providing affordable access – from cellular backhaul to community Wi-Fi to the deployment of new GEO and LEO assets.
Episode No. 10 | August 20, 2019
Carpooling Satellites: Historic and Unique Rideshare Launch Missions w/ Spaceflight and TriSept
Rideshare launching is like the carpooling of launch services. On this episode of On Orbit, we’re joined by Melissa Wuerl, Vice President Business Development for Spaceflight Industries, and Jason Armstrong, Director of Small Satellites for TriSept, for an episode dedicated to rideshare launch services and the impact they’ve made on opening access to space.
Episode No. 9 | August 6, 2019
It’s Cleanup Time! Dangerous Space Debris w/ Astroscale COO Chris Blackerby
Astroscale COO Chris Blackerby talks about how his company turned crisis into opportunity and developed a technological solution to remove dangerous space debris from orbit. Chris and I also discuss the economic consequences of ignoring space debris congestion, the global responsibility for action and collaboration, Astroscale’s sharp and sudden rise as a leader in the field, and its search for new ideas and talent in the workforce.
Episode No. 8 | July 23, 2019
The All-in-One Aerospace Engineer, Economist, and Entrepreneur w/ Grace Graham, 2019 Brooke Owens Fellow From Utah State University
Mechanical Aerospace Engineer Grace Graham does it all! In addition to being a 2019 Brook Owens Fellow and full-time student Utah State University, she also interns at The Aerospace Corporation, and helps run her own startup Elements Meals. Grace explains why it’s equally important for young space industry professionals to master economics, and how understanding market and supply chain economics can help you become a better engineer and entrepreneur.
Episode No. 7 | July 9, 2019
Software-Defined Space(s): The Evolving Cloud w/ Greg Quiggle of Kratos & Alain Guigui of Hewlett Packard
What does it mean when people say that the satellite industry is becoming more “software-defined?” Does it mean that the satellite industry is becoming a lot more like the software industry? Or both? On Orbit Host Jeffrey Hill interviews Kratos Defense and Space Vice President of Product Management Greg Quiggle. He then speaks with Alain Guigui, Chief Technologist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise at 5G World in London.
Episode No. 6 | June 25, 2019
The 5G Link to Satellite w/ Karl Horne and Ashish Sharma
SES Networks’ Karl Horne sees 5G as a tremendous opportunity not only to drive innovation and create new business opportunities, but also as a way to collaborate with terrestrial competitors on rolling out the network. Why collaborate? The answer lies in the unique relationship between future virtualized 5G and present-day satellite networks. Horne joins On Orbit Producer and Host Jeffrey Hill for an interview recorded live at TechXLR8 London. Inseego CMO Ashish Sharma then joins Jeff to answer these questions from a terrestrial perspective, and also discuss why enterprise end-users will maintain pace with consumers in driving 5G adoption.
Episode No. 5 | June 11, 2019
Space Politics, Space Force
To explain everything you need to know about Space Force, and other recent government/military space policy developments, we invited our good friend, Defense Daily space and Capitol Hill reporter Vivienne Machi, (@VivienneMachi) to join us for an interview. Vivienne takes us through the basics, answers my questions about the political and operative functions of a space force, and explains developments in space technology acquisition such as the establishment of the Space Development Agency.
Episode No. 4 | May 28, 2019
3D Printed Rockets w/ Tim Ellis, CEO of Relativity (Live at SATELLITE 2019)
At SATELLITE 2019, Jeff hosted a fireside chat on 3D Printed rockets with Tim Ellis, CEO and Founder of Relativity, a unique launch service company that aims to print and launch entire rockets within 60 days. Tim tells the story of why he left a promising career as a 3D printing specialist at a major launch company to disrupt 60 years of established aerospace industry practices. He explains why investors like Marc Cuban are so excited about how 3D printing can help us get to Mars, and provides a detailed look into Relativity’s in-house technology and Terran launch vehicle.
Episode No. 3 | May 13, 2019
The Business Value of Space Data with Jeff Matthews (Live at SATELLITE 2019)
Deloitte’s Specialist Leader in Space Jeff Matthews sits with On Orbit host Jeff Hill to explain why all of these new industries are interested in investing in space. Commercial space customers used to be limited to military, broadcast networks, and ISP resellers. Now, insurance companies, manufacturers, transporters, retail, city planners, farmers… the list of commercial space “customers” is growing more diverse as new space-based capabilities evolve. What value do these new industry customers see in space?
NOTE – This episode was recorded live on the SATELLITE 2019 exhibit hall floor during operating hours. Please excuse the background noise!
Episode No. 2 | May 13, 2019
Launching Thousands of Smallsats with Jenny Barna (Live at SATELLITE 2019)
Jeff asks Spire Launch Manager Jenny Barna why the satellite industry can’t just send satellites into orbit whenever they want. This episode addresses the launch bottleneck faced by operators looking to put tens of thousands of constellation satellites into space during the next few years. Jeff also speaks to Via Satellite editorial director Mark Holmes about the highlights of the first two days of the SATELLITE 2019 exhibition and conference in Washington D.C.
NOTE – Please excuse the background noise during the interviews. We were recording on the SATELLITE 2019 show floor during operating hours.
Episode No. 1 | April 30, 2019
Building Bridges Across the Digital Divide: Hybrid Satellite Networks
In Via Satellite’s debut episode of “On Orbit,” host Jeffrey Hill sits down with Geeks Without Frontiers CEO David Hartshorn to decipher Digital Divide statistics and discuss the role that hybrid networks, satellites, and specifically the new LEO/MEO constellation satellites will play in providing connectivity to the world’s 4 billion people without access to broadband. We also talk about the importance of electric power as a resource, and how private industry firms are investing in developing economies through connectivity.