Pathfinder-1 launches today!

This evening at 8:43p Pacific, BlackSky will launch our first satellite, Pathfinder-1! PF1 is going up on an Indian rocket, PSLV-35, and there will be a live stream of the launch. We have a 15-minute launch window, so if the weather doesn’t cooperate and the rocket is unable to launch within that window the launch will be scrubbed and attempted again Monday night at the same time. So far the weather looks good!

The primary payload should separate from PSLV-35 about 15 minutes after launch. Then the rocket will change orbit in space before PF1 will be released around 11:30p Pacific.

The BlackSky Twitter account has links to some interesting blog posts about PF1’s trek to India and will have updates on the status of the launch and early operations. The SatOps team has been asked to not discuss the status of the sat after launch and let all official communications happen through corporate, so the Twitter account is the best place to figure out how things are going with PF1 after launch.

LEO, here we come!

Promotion: Validation Manager

I’m excited to announce my promotion to Validation Manager! I’ve lead teams in a technical capacity many times over my 16-year career, but this is the first time I have HR management responsibilities.

My team and I are the sole software validation team within Spaceflight Industries. We’re responsible for the end-to-end testing of our entire software stack: from the web interface customers use to task and purchase satellite imagery, to the ground-station software that operators use to communicate and task satellites, to the flight software running on the satellites in orbit.1 One of our missions is creating and implementing software validation practices across the entire company.

I’m very fortunate that my direct reports, whom I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with over the past three months, are rock stars. I fully expect the bulk of my “manager” duties to be protecting them and giving them space to work.

Oh, and did I mention we’re hiring? I’m looking for a strong SDET with embedded experience to work with our satellite flight software team. Have a strong test background? Feel at home in a Linux terminal? Have experience with C? Like to play with hardware? Excited about SPACE? Contact me!2

1 I like to joke that “we prevent your satellite from becoming a meteor!”.

2 Unless you work for DellEMC, because this is NOT a solicitation of any kind for you.

Ciao EMC Isilon, hello BlackSky

Friday, June 17th will be my last day at EMC Isilon. It’s been a fun 5.5 years but for a variety of reasons it’s time to move on to new adventures. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing people on some superbly-interesting projects and I wish them all the best on the cool stuff they’re working on next. (To Infinity and beyond!)

Monday, June 27th I start work at BlackSky Global (BSG) where I’ll have the pleasure of working with Jane Vail and Eric Rybczynski again. I’m being brought on to build up their validation team1 and drive their end-to-end testing alongside Eric.

BSG began courting me last August but that was just two months into my sabbatical and I decided the sabbatical wasn’t something I could give up. I am unbelievably fortunate that they were unable to fill the position and still have a place for me now.

I’m excited to be working at my first startup and at a company solving complex problems in space, [say it with me] the final frontier.

An unexpected bonus is that BSG is only a 10-minute walk from my house down a long flight of stairs, making my morning commute a bus-free breeze. The walk back home, on the other hand, is going to be a 15-minute straight-up Stairmaster workout. Buns of steel, here I come!

1 This is in no way soliciting existing EMC (and soon, Dell) employees to join us, unless today’s date is after 2017/06/17.