The conflict in Ukraine has created an opportunity for commercial earth observation space companies to show how public access to remote sensing can improve transparency – enhancing public awareness and understanding of a global crisis by providing an unbiased lens through which we can each evaluate ‘the facts’ by seeing the imagery with our own eyes.
It is strategically noteworthy that images collected by commercial satellites have chronicled the buildup of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders and provided unprecedented public insight into the ongoing crisis, providing intelligence previously only available from government sources, and not usually accessible to the public.
The crisis has showcased the remarkable technical capabilities of commercial space companies, whose high-resolution satellite images have been ubiquitous for the past several months as the crisis intensified. From a cultural standpoint, commercial space is transforming global transparency and driving transformational change on a global scale.
Ken Peterman is Founder & CEO, SpyGlass Group, an innovative thought-leading organization that has helped shape aerospace and defense strategic trajectories in the tactical communications,mobile networking, cybersecurity, and satellite sectors since 2012. As a passionate, creative and forward leaning leader in the global aerospace and defense market, Ken serves on a variety of boards and advisory groups where he has been honored with multiple awards, including: TEN BEST INNOVATIVE BUSINESS LEADERS – BUSINESSMAN OF THE YEAR – GAME CHANGER AWARDEE and INDUSTRY TECH OUTLOOK, 2020 – BATTLESPACE MAGAZINE – 2018 VANGUARD MAGAZINE.
Previously, as President, Viasat Government Systems (2013-2021), Ken led a global defense business (>$1B) recognized as a market leader in assured high-capacity satellite communications, tactical networking and Link-16 datalinks, information assurance and cybersecurity, hybrid adaptive networking and blended air/ground situational awareness. Under Ken’s leadership, Viasat built a culture of passionately focusing on the warfighter’s mission and applying technical innovation to empower the warfighter in new and different ways, proactively creating technology-enabled operational capabilities in unprecedented ways some never thought possible. Ken led Viasat’s transformation to become the fastest organically growing US defense company for six consecutive years. Viasat grew to become a prime capabilities provider to the US DoD and allied forces, with a commitment to connecting the world’s toughest missions and ensuring that mission operators have the trusted information they need, when and where they need it most.
Previously, as President, ITT/Exelis Communications and Electronic Warfare Systems (2007-2013), Ken led a global defense and aerospace business >$1B with over 3,000 employees in 12 states plus the United Kingdom. Portfolios included tactical and satellite communications systems, information assurance and cybersecurity solutions, global positioning systems (GPS), electronic protection and counter IED systems, and integrated command, control, communications and computer (C4) systems for U.S. and allied forces in over 35 countries. (Note that ITT/Exelis spun out of ITT in 2011 and was then acquired by L3Harris in 2015.)
A distinguished leader in aerospace and defense, Ken has enjoyed successful executive leadership tenures at Viasat, ITT/Exelis, Rockwell Collins and Raytheon. Broadly respected as a thought leader and innovator among US and international senior leaders, he currently serves on a variety of boards and advisory groups. Ken received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (high honors) from Tri-State University (now Trine) and completed executive programs at Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Pennsylvania State University.
John Gedmark is CEO and Co-Founder of Astranis. Astranis builds and operates small, low-cost telecommunications satellites with the mission to bring the world online. The company has raised over $350 million to date, and has a team of over 250 based out of their San Francisco headquarters.
John co-founded and served as Executive Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the industry association for commercial space companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic. As Executive Director, John reported to a CEO-level board of directors and led the commercial space industry’s efforts to privatize flights of NASA’s astronauts to low Earth orbit — in February 2010 President Obama announced the historic decision to use commercial space transportation, a landmark change worth more than $10 billion to the commercial space industry. Prior to that, John served as the Director of Rocket Flight Operations for the X Prize Foundation, responsible for operations of rocket launches in front of a crowd of 20,000 people, including the first-ever public flight of a Vertical Take-off Vertical Landing (VTVL) rocket. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University and a Master of Science degree from Stanford University, both in Aerospace Engineering, with a focus on rocket propulsion.