The Small Satellite Conference 2018

By: Craig L. Moll, Director, International Business Development

Posted on Sep 12, 2018

With 3,050 attendees and 42 countries represented, the Small Satellite Conference, held in Logan, Utah each summer, is the perfect opportunity to meet with customers, network, and socialize— kind of in the middle of nowhere. With only two Uber or Lyft drivers available in the city, when someone says “rideshare” you know they mean satellites riding a rocket into space.

Given its location at Utah State University, the Small Satellite Conference is a huge industry forum for research, collaboration, and the dissemination of information. It’s a very technically oriented week and my colleague at SSL, Aaron Rogers, plays a key role on the committee that both reviews and publishes papers. This focus on the science and technology, as well as the community is why the SmallSat Conference continues to grow. Over the past several years, it has been incredibly exciting to watch the conference grow in attendance. Now that SSL is part of Maxar Technologies, we have increased our presence and even sponsored everyone’s favorite event this year, the official ice cream social. The conference’s ascendance reflects the industry trend towards smallsats and the miniaturization of spacecraft.

 

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Maxar Technologies' booth at the Small Satellite Conference 2018.

In response to the data-centric shift in the satellite industry, new business plans for smallsats are also rapidly evolving. Small satellites can be made much more affordably, making access to space much less expensive and easier for companies and government organizations that want to provide data as a service. As small satellite technologies continue to improve, companies are beginning to develop their platforms to support higher resolution and more diverse capabilities to generate actionable insights.

The shift from large, custom-built to small, mass-produced satellites is now more prevalent than ever within the industry. Over the last several years, SSL has been refocusing our business to streamline the manufacturing process to meet the demand for high volume satellites. This has offered us an opportunity to rethink our infrastructure and build on our many years of proven technology and expertise. SSL has begun to partner with start-ups to help them close their business case and our goal is to support new entrants in accomplishing their objectives. Our partnership with SkyBox Imaging back in 2014 provided us with invaluable insight into helping a start-up move its business forward.

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The mass production of smallsats is more prevalent than ever within the industry.

Now we have new platforms that meet growing market demand for LEO Earth observation satellites as well as LEO communications satellites. From concept to orbit, our Simplifying Space business model leverages New Space approaches to turn our partners’ space concepts into space realities.

The industry’s transition towards New Space business and tech approaches was at the forefront of every discussion at this year’s Small Satellite Conference. The subtext of all of my conversations between customers and friends is that smallsats are on the rise and are here to stay. 

For more information on SSL’s Small Satellite product line, please visit: www.sslmda.com/smallsats.