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Better Satellite World: Risk

In this Better Satellite World podcast series, we explore the various types of risks inherent in the industry and in life - risks that speak to innovation, hard work and leaning into fear.

Episode 1: A Conversation with Northrop Grumman's Frank DeMauro

Frank DeMauro is the Vice President & General Manager for Tactical Space Systems at Northrop Grumman. Now in his third decade in the business, Mr. DeMauro is responsible for the company’s range of satellites and spacecraft. His division's portfolio includes space programs such as NASA’s commercial resupply services. Prior to serving in his current role, Mr. DeMauro held similar titles in the company’s Innovation Systems Sector, including Senior Program Director and Vice President of Engineering.

Mr. DeMauro is a universally respected figure in the industry and a graduate of Rutgers University. In a conversation with SSPI Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla, he talks about Northrop Grumman’s recent historic achievement – reviving a satellite in orbit.

Episode 2: A Conversation with AXA XL's Chris Kunstadter

Chris Kunstadter is Global Head of Space at AXA XL, where he manages the company’s space insurance portfolio. He is actively involved in all aspects of AXA XL’s space insurance business, including technical, financial and actuarial analysis, policy wording construction, claims handling, and business development.

Chris has been responsible for developing and exploiting innovative satellite salvage opportunities, as well as being involved with numerous failure review boards for satellites and launch vehicles. In addition, he has worked closely with satellite operators, launch providers, and government agencies to enhance industry understanding of space collision risk and space situational awareness, and has participated in developing guidelines on risk management aspects of space collision risk. Prior to joining AXA, Chris was Executive Vice President at U.S. Aviation Underwriters, Inc., where he managed the Aerospace and IT Departments.

Chris is a recognized leader in risk assessment throughout the industry and a graduate of University of California, Berkley. In a conversation with SSPI Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla, he talks about how the space insurance industry is growing and responding to the current times of crisis and change.

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Episode 3: A Conversation with Voyager Space Holdings' Dylan Taylor

Dylan Taylor is a global business leader and noted philanthropist. He is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, whose aim is to introduce a new investment model to the space community and the thousands of industries necessary to build it - a model that is long-term minded with a capital structure that fills the vastly different needs of the industry. Dylan is a former space industry angel investor who founded Space for Humanity, a non-profit whose mission is to shape the future of space travel and policy.

Dylan has been cited by Harvard, SpaceNews, the BBC, Pitchbook, CNBC, CNN and others as having played a seminal role in the growth of the private space industry. As an early-stage investor, he put his belief and his risk into 50 emerging ventures. In a conversation with SSPI’s Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla, Dylan talks about thinking big about the future and the risks associated with that mindset.

Episode 4: A Conversation with AvL Technologies' Jim Oliver

Jim Oliver is the founder, owner and President of AvL Technologies. He founded AvL in 1994 after 7 years as Vice President of Engineering at RSI/Satcom Technologies, of which he was a co-founder. AvL's first customer was BAF Communications, a mobile broadcast market supplier. The company's first product was a 1.5-m vehicle-mounted antenna for satellite newsgathering. By 2006, everyone knew AvL, and the company won the Teleport Technology of the Year Award from the World Teleport Association that year for its 5IF Mobile VSAT Antenna with Roto-Lok Cable Drive. 

Jim is well known and respected throughout the industry as someone willing to take a risk to see an idea come into the world. He is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University. In a conversation with SSPI's Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla, Jim talks about taking risks as an entrepreneur and never giving up the passion required to succeed.

Episode 5: A Conversation with Hypergiant's Will Griffin

Will Griffin is the Chief Ethics Officer and VP of Ethics & Diversity in AI at Hypergiant. In the Hypergiant Space Age Solutions Division, he provides understanding, creation and implementation at the intersection of experience and machine intelligence. The Space Age Solutions Division is teaching machines to teach themselves in order to create powerful technology solutions and smarter, more efficient human workforces. Before joining Hypergiant, Will was a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Griffin Media Ventures for 19 years, where he served as a strategic advisor for multiple major media organizations. His ventures included the launch of some of the first original content on the Sony Playstation Network and the launch of the first video-on-demand channel "Hip Hop on Demand" on Comcast. Will has been a featured speaker at many venues, including Aspen Institute, American Marketing Association, Newseum, Congressional hearings on media diversity, Ad Week and Digital Hollywood.

A graduate of Harvard Law School and Dartmouth, Will has a track record of bringing culture-shifting ideas and content to his companies. In a conversation with SSPI's Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla, Will talks about the risks that will always be part of doing the right thing.

Episode 6: A Conversation with Bluefield Technologies' Yotam Ariel

Yotam Ariel is the CEO of Bluefield Technologies, a company he founded 4 years ago. Bluefield Technologies provides customers with independent, direct and timely methane emissions data so that they can make the best decisions with the best information possible. Using its BFX2 Advanced Emission Detection Algorithm, the company continuously analyzes satellite data around the world and offers actionable insights at an unprecedented speed, scale and low cost. Customers can simply subscribe to receive alerts and analytics. Before founding Bluefield Technologies, Yotam was the founder and CEO of Bennu Solar, which produced a range of clean energy systems and deployed them in Africa, providing modern electricity to tens of thousands of people and reducing greenhouse gases.

He is a graduate of Xiamen University with a Bachelor's in Business and Chinese. In a conversation with SSPI's Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla, Yotam talks about how satellite data can help companies make the right decisions about climate change by providing timely data and analysis.

Episode 7: A Conversation with Environmental Defense Fund's Dr. Steve Hamburg

Dr. Steven Hamburg is Chief Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund. In his role at EDF, Steven works to ensure that EDF’s advocacy is based on the best available science. He coordinates studies on methane emissions from the global natural gas supply chain as Chief Scientific Officer of the International Methane Studies, which is part of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition/UN Environment. He also co-chairs the Solar Radiation Management Governance Initiative – a joint project of Royal Society, The World Academy of Science and EDF – and serves on the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Division on Earth and Life Sciences Advisory Board as well as other university and government advisory boards.

Prior to joining EDF, Steve spent 25 years on the faculties of Brown University and the University of Kansas where he served in numerous administrative positions in addition to his teaching and research. He has served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was recognized as one of the scientists contributing to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He has also been awarded the US Environmental Protection Agency Merit Award – region 1 twice. He has published more than 100 scholarly papers on biogeochemistry, climate change impacts on forests, carbon accounting and methane emissions. Steve completed his undergraduate degree at Vassar College and his MFS and PhD at Yale University in Ecosystem Ecology. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University and a Bullard Fellow at Harvard University.