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Making a Better World: Conversations with the 2022 Better Satellite World Award Recipients

In this podcast series, SSPI Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla interviews the recipients of the 2022 Better Satellite World Awards about their projects, goals and making a better world for all.

Episode 1: Saving Millions of Gallons of Water a Year with ASTERRA's Recover

Elly Perets is CEO of ASTERRA (formerly Utilis), a position he has held for 8 years. ASTERRA provides utilities around the world with cutting-edge satellite scanning technology to detect leaks in their infrastructure. Before joining ASTERRA, he founded and served as CEO of Progressive Labs, Ltd. Elly’s other experience includes serving as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Pageflex and Press-sense, as Viable Vision Expert for Goldratt Consulting and as Sales Director for SA International. He has a M.S.E. in Management of Technology from the University of Pennsylvania and a L.L.B. in Information Technology from Reichman University.

Potable water systems around the world suffer an average of 15-20% leakage rate, resulting in wasted energy usage, contamination or, in the worst cases, critically low availability of drinking water in already stressed areas. ASTERRA (formerly Utilis) developed and patented a new technology that uses reflected signals from L-Band polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) to detect potable water underground up to 2 meters. Using ASTERRA’s proprietary algorithm, potable water can be distinguished from naturally occurring or salt/brackish water. The technology can penetrate foliage and asphalt roadways, allowing detection of water leakage from utility pipes. Once the leaks are identified, field leak inspectors can pinpoint where to search for the source of the problem to repair the damage quickly and with the least possible waste. ASTERRA’s new technology, called Recover, is a low-cost alternative for finding potable water leaks that is available even to small and rural water agencies, where they frequently had few options. The company works with small and rural utilities to provide custom packages to meet their needs, as these organizations often do not have GIS programs or a formal leak detection program. Learn more about ASTERRA’s Recover technology.

With Thanks to Our Corporate Partners

Episode 2: Fighting Climate Change with Satellite Data from Spire Global

Jeff Rex is Vice President of Business Development, Earth Intelligence at Spire Global, a position he has held for 1.5 years. He previously served as Vice President of Engineering, Weather. Before joining Spire, he held a variety of management positions in the industry, including serving as Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Business Development at FLYHT, Director of Engineering & Business Development at Panasonic, Vice President of Engineering & Product Integration at AirDat and Vice President of Integration & Operations at L2 Consulting/L2 Aviation. Jeff began his career as a Federal Account Manager for Dell.

Climate change continues to be a major and developing threat around the world. Spire Global has responded by using space-based data and analytics, provided by its constellation of over 100 multipurpose satellites, to help governments and the private sector monitor, adapt to and reverse the effects of climate change in several ways. Spire’s Earth Intelligence data provides crucial information on environmental factors, including sea ice levels and soil moisture, which can be used in climate change research and development of solutions. For example, the company’s data is currently being used to monitor soil moisture in Scotland’s peatlands. The peatlands cover 20% of the country and are one of the most efficient carbon stores in the world; they currently contain roughly 140 years of the nation’s total current greenhouse gas emissions. When the bogs are damaged, however, they become carbon emitters instead. Restoring the peatlands is crucial to prevent such emissions, and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is using Spire’s data to map wetlands and monitor their dynamics, providing necessary information on which areas most require restoration and protection. Learn more about Spire Global’s usage of satellite data to combat climate change.

Episode 3: Viasat Provides Connectivity for Those Who've Lost Everything

Kevin Cohen is General Manager for Global Prepaid Internet & LATAM Fixed Broadband at Viasat, a position he has held for nearly 1 year. He has served in a variety of management positions at Viasat during his nearly 15 years with the company. Kevin previously held the positions of Managing Director for Global Community Internet, General Manager for Community WiFi, Americas, Managing Director and General Manager for Global Community WiFi, General Manager for LATAM Consumer Broadband and Director of Emerging Markets, Space Technologies, among others. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and his Master of Business Administration from San Diego University.

When the war in Ukraine began and the immediate resulting refugee crisis occurred, Viasat partnered with the regional government of Košice, Slovakia to provide free high-speed internet access to Ukrainian refugee sites across Eastern Slovakia. Viasat utilized its satellite-enabled Community Wi-Fi system to connect the areas most in need of connectivity. Once these areas of need were identified by the Košice regional government, Viasat’s Community Wi-Fi systems were installed in a matter of days to provide critical connectivity available to thousands of refugees. Viasat focuses on unlocking the opportunities provided by internet connectivity for everyone, wherever they are, through its network. Learn more about how Viasat provided fast, easy access to connectivity for Ukranian refugees.