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Better Satellite World: Safe Landing

In this podcast series, we speak with members of companies and developers of key technologies on the ground who are getting the job done here on Earth for the space and satellite industry.

Episode 1: A Conversation with ETL Systems' Alex Donnison

Alex Donnison is Manager of Business Development at ETL Systems, Ltd., a position he has held since 2016. A graduate of the University of Wales with a Bachelors of Science in Applied Physics, Alex spends much of his time at ETL looking at strategic business opportunities for the company in the satellite ground segment. ETL Systems is a UK-based company that designs and manufactures RF equipment. It is considered one of the leading manufacturers of key components, having won three Queen Awards for Enterprise in the United Kingdom. Alex's early career was in naval rader ESM/ECM, followed by more than 30 years' experience in international sales. His more recent defense industry experience has been with Cobham in the CIED EW market and with Q-Par Angus Ltd. in land and naval EW antennas. Before joining ETL, Alex worked in the aerospace industry with Techtest Ltd., where he was involved in the sales of airborne antennas and emergency location equipment to both military and commercial users and OEMs.

In a conversation with SSPI Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla, Alex talks about some of the opportunities he has studied for ETL and how the company provides key RF technology improvements for the industry.

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Episode 2: A Conversation with Former KSAT CEO Katherine Monson

At the time of recording this podcast, Katherine Monson was the CEO of Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), though she has now moved on to other projects, including serving as a mentor for Techstars’ Space Accelerator and a Board Member of the Commercial Smallsat Spectrum Management Association. Before becoming CEO, Katherine served as Head of KSAT USA for 3 and a half years. She began her career in the industry as one of the first employees with Spire Global, where she led the Ground Station Department in building out a network of infrastructure to download data from a constellation of over 40 satellites. Before joining the space & satellite industry, Katherine advised Fortune 500 companies, specializing in high-stakes negotiations and high-impact strategic partnerships. She also served as a Fellow at the U.S. Department of Defense. 

In a conversation with SSPI Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla, Katherine talks about how KSAT and other companies on the ground manage the monumental amount of traffic up in space.

Episode 3: A Conversation with Speedcast's William Mudge, Kratos' Christopher Boyd and NSR's Carlos Placido

Will Mudge is the Vice President Engineering Operations at Speedcast developing global teleport and Low Earth Orbit Constellation strategies. In his current role at Speedcast, he leads a global engineering organization of more than 140 team members and is responsible for a large part of Speedcast’s global infrastructure and the delivery of a positive experience to customers. Prior to his current role, Will served as the Director of Satellite Capacity and Technology at Speedcast, developing global teleport and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation strategies. He also previously served as the R&D engineering lead, as a strategic product marketing manager and program manager at Speedcast (formerly as Harris CapRock). Will holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.



Chris Boyd is the Senior Director for Product Management of Space - Earth Observation & Sensing at Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, a position he has held for just over 1 year. He is a seasoned solutions architect, technical marketer and product manager with over 20 years of experience in designing, deploying and integrating mission-critical communications systems used in defense. Before joining Kratos, Mr. Boyd served for over 9 years at ST Engineering iDirect, first as a Network Solutions Architect and then as Senior Director, PLM for Strategic Initiatives and Vertical Markets. His earlier experience includes 7 years at Incident Communication Solutions, where he served as Communications Architect and VP of Marketing & Product Development after co-founding the company, 5 years at Cisco Systems as a Technical Marketing Manager and then Network Consulting Engineer and 4 years as the COO and Director of Engineering at Cisco Certified Reseller US Datacom, another enterprise he co-founded.


Carlos Placido is an independent consultant and senior NSR analyst with over twenty-five years of international experience in telecommunications and entertainment. Joining NSR in 2007 with focus on emerging technologies and satellite markets, he serves as a regional and IP applications expert on satellite communications and regularly provides his analysis and strategic assessment to NSR’s consulting practice. Carlos Placido has conducted numerous analytical and management projects, spanning from global market research studies for NSR, to strategic assessment of emerging technologies, to business development support, R&D and project management. Until 2004, he led a service development team at INTELSAT, where he was responsible for identifying and validating future satcom uses of emerging video and IP data technologies. Prior to INTELSAT, he commenced his career as a network engineer at Impsat (now CenturyLink) and Telecom Argentina. Mr. Placido is also a regular contributor to specialized industry publications.


In a conversation with SSPI Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla, Will, Chris and Carlos share insights from their more than 60 years of combined satellite technology, teleport and strategic experience. They discuss the relatively recent emergence of teleport operating companies that own little infrastructure of their own and instead take advantage of advances in cloud performance, advanced data distribution technologies and new satellite-based applications. Through tactical arrangements, fiber links and advanced network management platforms, they aggregate demand from customers and leverage the capital investments of teleports and satellite operators to add a new kind of value to service. The World Teleport Association recently published a report on this topic: 2021 Cloud Forecast for Teleport Operators, that features more insights from major industry players like Will, Chris and Carlos.