top of page
Search

Cognitive Space, Investments and AI Engines with Scott Herman

Tim talks with Scott Herman about many topics and a career full of amazing ventures.


Scott Herman is the CEO of Cognitive Space – a startup focusing on AI-driven satellite operations and mission planning. Scott is a passionate New Space, Small Satellite, Remote Sensing, ML/AI/CV Analytics, Agile Development, Lean Startup, and Cloud Computing evangelist. Scott is deeply involved in strategic planning, business development, product management, and software development. But at any given moment Scott is also supporting program management, production operations, concept incubation, community outreach & evangelism, industry mentorship, customer service, and investment activities. What a cool job!

Scott has spent most of his career developing and deploying Remote Sensing, Imagery Analysis, Sensor Fusion, Knowledge Management, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the National Security community. Before becoming the CEO of Cognitive Space, Scott was the CTO at BlackSky, a satellite analytics company that recently IPO’d as the latest “New Space unicorn”. Before BlackSky, Scott was responsible for Product & Platform Development at Maxar. Scott is also an advisor/mentor with the Techstars “New Space” investment portfolios – a venture capital accelerator for startups.

Scott works at Cognitive Space in Chantilly, VA and can be reached at Scott.Herman@CognitiveSpace.com or www.cognitivespace.com







Full Transcript:

[00:00:00] Tim Chrisman: Hello, and welcome to another edition of podcasts for the future. I'm your host, Tim. Christmann the executive director of foundation for the future. I'm joined today by Scott Herman, the CEO of cognitive space. It's going to be exciting conversation today. I met Scott on the sidelines of south by Southwest this year and Really taken by the work that they're doing, their cognitive space.

[00:00:39] Cognitive space is a startup that's focused on AI driven, satellite operations and mission planning. Scott's a passionate new space, small satellite, remote sensing machine learning, AI analytics, agile development, lean startup, and cloud computing evangelist. So as you can tell [00:01:00] conversations with him get get pretty excited because of his past.

[00:01:03] Scott's been deeply involved in strategic planning, business development, product management, and software development. But at the same time he loves supporting the program management, the operations, the. Incubation and community outreach, as well as industry mentorship, customer service and investment activities.

[00:01:23] It's a pretty cool combination of what he's doing and the sorts of organizations he's supporting Scott has spent most of his career developing and deploying remote sensing, imagery, analysis, sensor, fusion, knowledge management, and geographic information systems for the national security community.

[00:01:44] Before he was a CEO of cognitive space. Scott was the CTO at black sky, a satellite analytics company that recently IPO as one of the. Or latest new space unicorn companies before black sky, he was responsible for [00:02:00] product and platform development at max R. He's also an advisor and mentor with Techstars, a new space investment portfolios.

[00:02:09] What Techstars is, it's a venture capital accelerator for startups and definitely one of the higher profile and all around better programs that you can get so six sighting to have Scott on here. And let's get to it.

[00:02:26] Alrighty. Thanks for being here today, Scott it's it's exciting to have you here. And I'm looking forward to hearing more about what it is you have going.

[00:02:37] Scott Herman: Yeah, thanks a lot for having me on. I really appreciate it.

[00:02:40] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. I wanted to first talk a little bit about, your journey here.

[00:02:45] Looking through your bio, you started as software engineer after a dual major political science and computer science. And now you're leading a company that's rapidly expanding and Graduating or working [00:03:00] with know, a variety of companies accelerators. And so it's an exciting journey, but love to hear, how did that come about?

[00:03:08] Scott Herman: Yeah. So there's a common theme. If you look at how I've grown over the years, and it's really being at the intersection of satellite, remote sensing and geospatial analytics and national security. So I started out as an engineer. I was a programmer at first and rose through the ranks of, becoming an architect and a systems engineer and a program manager.

[00:03:29] And moving up, through the, what you might call the technical management ranks, but the kind of the common theme through all of that engineering work was, how do you apply what you're building to the mission? So I am a bits and bytes guide, but through most of my career, it was very much about how do we deploy the system and how has it being used operational.

[00:03:49] And in fact, for the first half of my. I really worked in what you might call the black world, right? With the three letter agencies. And basically what I was doing for many years was a what's called [00:04:00] operational prototyping. And so we would spend time in the lab building new capability. But then we would take it on the road and deploy with it into not only exercises, but a lot of operations.

[00:04:12] So for many years I was part of what was called the national intelligence support team, which was a flyaway team. And so when there was a crisis around the world, the local ambassador or the local military commander would say, I need national health. And so we would fly in and basically set up an instant intelligence cell with analysts and operators from the different agencies, as well as reach-back support.

[00:04:34] To the three letter agencies and all of the national assets, including the satellites. And so on the one hand, it was an engineering job, build new stuff, build new features, integrate new feeds, think about new user experience. But at the same time, I spent a fair amount of my time sleeping under Humvees and going to different garden spots around the world.

[00:04:53] Really trying to understand at the pointy end of the spear, what kind of systems and capabilities were needed. After [00:05:00] spending like I said, probably the first half of my career, working in that world and kind of honing those skills that really spread across things like, not only computer science, but political science and national security strategy.

[00:05:11] I made the jump into the commercial world but still looking back at the national security. So I ran up products and platform at max R for several years. This is the GUI and digital globe days. If you remember those names. And then I got involved with starting a new company that really wanted to take advantage of what was happening with the small satellite revolution, the wave of geospatial analytics and artificial intelligence.

[00:05:36] That company eventually grew to become black sky where I was the CTO up until the the SPAC IPO of about a year ago. And then I got involved with cognitive space and now I'm the CEO there.

[00:05:49] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, that sounds that's a cool journey. I I too have a number of years of experience working with what's now national mission force, similar [00:06:00] experiences to what you're talking about.

[00:06:01] A lot of fun memories sleeping out under the stars in beautiful locations.

[00:06:07] Scott Herman: It's the coolest job ever has got to be honest. Oh

[00:06:10] Tim Chrisman: yeah, no, it's true. And I'm especially glad that it was early in my career. I know there's a number of people who went to those jobs later and I salute them because the pace is hard.

[00:06:21] Investment bankers on wall street have nothing on the hours. Some of these missions required and I feel like it's a, it was a great formative experience. And it it sounds like that has been a huge platform that you've used as you've grown, especially as you've started taking on these leadership roles.

[00:06:40] Can startups whether that was with your work in open, where all the way through cognitive space what was it? That was one of the hardest pieces of transitioning from the national security side to the commercial side.

[00:06:55] Scott Herman: W when you're doing things commercially, even though you can be very mission-focused. [00:07:00] Yeah. There's still a profit motive. And there still is the intricacies of how do you build competence? And I've been fortunate. I've actually worked across a number of different startups and small businesses while they were in their hyper-growth mode. It's almost become a specialty of mine in a lot of ways.

[00:07:18] How do you scale up a company? And that was really excited, right? So even though it was a commercial. In many cases, it was, how do we take this ragtag bunch of specialists and really grow it into something that is a sustainable profitable business, even though it may still have a national security focus as one of the people from.

[00:07:38] And then how do you grow those companies beyond simply being glorified defense contractors, and really look at it from the perspective of what is the other commercial market out there. So if you think about the work I was doing at GUI and digital globe right now, XR, certainly the U S government and foreign minister international ministries of defense were the [00:08:00] primary customers.

[00:08:01] But at the same time, we were also feeding content to apple and Google and other napping organizations and big. And striving to find that addressable market for things like energy and supply chain and critical infrastructure and figuring out whether the whole industry to cross that chasm from being totally dependent upon national security, to finding viability and sustainability and other addressable markets.

[00:08:27] So really fascinating problem. But that was that was one of the challenges, you think of. The national security world and it's all about what contract you win and what's the big German. And where's the funding coming from when you think about working with commercial organizations and there's an agility and nimbleness and have a lot of.

[00:08:42] That is usually unmatched when you're working with government sponsors.

[00:08:46] Tim Chrisman: True. No, that's very true. And the layers of approval needed to move are significantly significantly shorter and narrower, which ends up being good and bad [00:09:00] thing times. And you mentioned one of Sort of unique skills or one of the things you become really good at is this scaling companies.

[00:09:07] What have you found is the thing that, that helps you with that?

[00:09:12] Scott Herman: There's a number of different techniques. Certainly things like agile iterative software development has been super important in thinking about how you've scaled. Not only in terms of how you build products, but you can actually apply a lot of those same techniques across the company.

[00:09:26] How am I building my sales organization? How am I building my marketing organization or my program management organization? How am I scaling the company as a whole? How do you insert disciplines. Without turning into a bureaucracy, right? Those are all really important problems to think about.

[00:09:42] How do you stay focused? How do you make sure that you're doing crisp execution? One of the things we talk about a lot is no. And there's so many shiny objects out there that could distract your company. But the problem is, most shiny objects are big traps into a ditch. Are you going to wind up doing the [00:10:00] spoke development for a single customer?

[00:10:01] That's not applicable to others? One of the really important concepts that I tend to measure initiatives by is what's called platform yield. And the platform yield is basically saying, yeah, it's okay to do. Programs and contracts and professional services, but what is it doing to drive features into your product base that then can be applied to other customers and making you a viable product company?

[00:10:27] Not simply a services company, but that. Between, do what the customer needs you to do, but also find capabilities that can be applied to a much larger customer base. What's called addressable market is driven by this concept of platform. You, so for example, we may look at a project, a contract, like a government contract, or even a commercial contract and say, 60 to 80% of the world's.

[00:10:52] Is going to drive new features into our product roadmap that can be applied elsewhere. That's a good project. 20 to [00:11:00] 40% of that work may be bespoke, or it may be customs integration or architecture and design support, but that's okay because we're getting that 60 to 70% platform yield out of it.

[00:11:11] Tim Chrisman: No, that makes a lot of sense.

[00:11:12] And I I remember early in my career, I'd get really upset at the middle managers chasing those squirrels. And now as I lead a couple organizations, I'm like, man, I understand this impulse. I really get it. I get it. There's a lot of cool stuff that you could be doing, but you're right. At some point say no is the most freeing thing you can.

[00:11:33] Scott Herman: And I think one of the challenges is that, I think it's pretty easy to look at it and say we have the discipline not to chase bad money but that's not the decision. The decision is there's lots of good money out there, but how do you chase the. Yeah. How do you chase the stuff that's going to give you the biggest return on your product investment.

[00:11:51] That's going to give you the longevity and contract space. That's going to give you the recurring revenue stream, right? That's a lot harder than simply [00:12:00] saying, yeah, that's a squirrel. Don't chase it. One of the things I learned from a previous mentor, and I've been fortunate that I've worked for some phenomenal mentors but it, one of the things he constantly hit us with is know what to say now.

[00:12:12] What you say no to is just as important as what you say yes. To, it's easy to say. Yes. And then you're spinning, right? Yeah. It takes a lot of discipline to say no to things that seem really tempted.

[00:12:22] Tim Chrisman: No, it's true. And it is that. Delineating the good verse. Great. Because oftentimes good enough is what we're okay with.

[00:12:32] And it's not useful. I imagine this is a similar sort of message. To what you deliver as a mentor at Techstars.

[00:12:40] Scott Herman: Yes, that's correct. And, the role of being an advisor or a mentor to other startups, Techstars and other accelerator it's something I really enjoy. I also do a lot of work with some of the analysts that are out there.

[00:12:53] The street analysts that are trying to understand what's happening in new space. There's billions of dollars of investment flowing into [00:13:00] new space. Some of it is smart money, some of it's dumb money, but there's a lot of people trying to understand that. And that role is mentored by. To help understand what's happening in this industry, as well as how do you build startups?

[00:13:13] What are the right kind of value propositions to go after? How do you scale your company? How do you survive? Angel investing and seed round investing in a round investor. It's a problem I really enjoy. And while I am at heart, a technical geek with a real focus on national security missions, one of the things I really like about the job, I have both as a CEO, as an advisor is just the breadth of the problem set.

[00:13:37] You have to know how to. You have to know how to sell stuff. You have to know how to market stuff. You have to know your financials, right? You have to know how to scale the company. You have to know how to work with the investment community, right? It's a very multidimensional problem.

[00:13:52] And that's what I find super exciting. You have to be really good at lots of different disciplines. Don't want to be a master of everything. But you can't just [00:14:00] be a thin Jack of all trades, to be successful. As a CEO, you've really got to have a lot of depth and a lot of different disciplines.

[00:14:09] That's part of the fun, it's part of the challenge.

[00:14:12] Tim Chrisman: No. I agree. I think being able to span the full range of activities is easily the best part of running organizations. Because then you're not pigeonholed into any one thing. And it ends up being a nice way to, to change things up.

[00:14:27] As the sort of culmination of your journey was. Here with cognitive space. How did that idea form, where did that come from?

[00:14:38] Scott Herman: Yeah, so what we're doing at cognitive spaces, we really help organizations fly their satellites. And we're doing that by revolutionizing satellite operations by bringing artificial intelligence.

[00:14:49] Into disciplines like mission management and collection planning, communications, link, coordination, even order management, even though the monetization framework offer for building the [00:15:00] satellites and, historically putting remote sensing constellations in the space was a billion dollar effort, right?

[00:15:08] This was seven to 15 years of engineering. This was Boeing and Lockheed and Raytheon and the big systems and big government agencies billion dollars to get on orbit. So you might be spending 500 million or more just to build the satellite. And it was a Battlestar Galactica might spend 250 in ground architecture, 250 million and ground architects.

[00:15:31] How do you monetize the constellation on the ground? How do you communicate with it? And then you might spend a hundred to 150 million just to get it launched, right? So it was not for the faint of heart and it was certainly not the realm of startups, but what's happened over the last five to 10 years.

[00:15:45] There's been a whole series of revolutions that have spawned. What's now called the new space economy and how you, that space is really supporting the build-out of that new space. Couple of things that happened, right? You're talking about the trends leading up to [00:16:00] this one was the ability to build satellites, cheaply, instead of 500 million, you can get a satellite built for five to 10 million or even cheaper.

[00:16:07] If you start getting into things like cube sets and Nana. Commercial components standardized buses, right? A lot of things drove that revolution. Another revolution was getting into space, right? It became a lot cheaper through things like ride sharing, which was something that, that, the work I did at spaceflight industries was a pioneer in ride sharing launch throwing a hundred satellites onto a single launch platform, for example, as well as the proliferation of launch providers.

[00:16:32] Not only stay snacks, but now you've probably got 10 to 15 other. That are now jockeying to get you into orbit. Yeah, that's important because the next revolution was moving from Battlestar Galactica as to what are called swarm constellations. And these are constellations that had, dozens, hundreds, even thousands of satellites, all working in unison and all needing to be controlled autonomy, Nestle and dynamics.

[00:16:57] Because you can't have 50 operators per [00:17:00] satellite, the way you did back in the mission control days. And so that's really what cognitive is all about is how do we apply artificial intelligence to swarm based satellites? And how do we do that in a way that companies can build using venture capital and other startup methods to do it cost effectively and affordably, we're essentially providing a set of services that act as Lego blocks or satellite operators to build out their business.

[00:17:23] We also sell into space infrastructure, and because we're using AI to optimize the collection, we can sell back into kind of legacy operators because we can get more yield from the revenue or collection capacity or another trend that's really happening is the move from, mapping to monitoring missions, the ability to do persistent monitoring.

[00:17:45] For environmental or economic or national security understanding. So that, that, those were several of the drivers that got me interested in this problem. And in fact, while I was CTO of black sky one of the things I was doing was looking at what was happening out there, in the industry [00:18:00] and data care fell our founder at cognitive space, but had started putting together a small company.

[00:18:06] To look at how to apply AI to this collection, planning and optimization problem. I fixated on that. I was really interested in that particular problem and help mentor the company through Techstars got involved in the advisory board. And then they surprise me by inviting me in and saying, why don't you help us with this?

[00:18:23] And I was kinda like I'm CTO at black sky, please that, And they're like, no, we, why don't you come aboard and really help us build it. Launch come aboard as the CEO, let's go do this. And that was an offer. I couldn't refuse. That was really exciting. It was an opportunity for myself in terms of my own kind of personal growth and ambitions.

[00:18:41] And it's a problem I'm really passionate about. I joke that I've tilted that this windmill for, more than 20 years now here's an opportunity to put up or shut up. That is really focused on how do you do satellite orchestration and swarm operations. And because we're working with so many people [00:19:00] across the new space industry, we're actually helping enable an industry itself, right?

[00:19:04] It's not just one company it's, we're providing the tools that hopefully will allow many flowers to blossom across the new space.

[00:19:12] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. One thing that a lot of people may not understand is the. Level of complexity involved in managing some of these constellations. The communication architecture back to the ground from space is very different than what we have, all the way through the traffic management and sort of rules of the road for where your satellite is.

[00:19:33] You want to talk about. Some of that and some of those problems that you all are able to solve through this application of

[00:19:39] Scott Herman: AI. Yeah, absolutely. Part of what we're building is a, an engine and artificial intelligence engine that solves for optimization across what we call a sea of constraints.

[00:19:53] It's how, like the traveling salesman problem on steroids, there are many possible solutions, but how do you find the best. [00:20:00] And we're really taking a page from a, in some ways the game industry, right? You're seeing where some of these reinforcement learning models, that's a kind of AI that we use reinforcement.

[00:20:10] As opposed to like computer vision or natural language processing, right? AI has many flavors of what we use is reinforcement learning. And the idea behind reinforcement learning is you have many possible solutions many variables. How do you find the best solutions out of that?

[00:20:25] So for us, our game ward is really things. Hundreds of satellites in a constellation, tens of thousands of brown targets that we're trying to monitor and observe customer commitments and service level agreements, the technical constraints of the satellite itself, what is it capable of doing power battery slew rate, jitter communications coordination writes a pretty technical problem, or tology, where is it at and what can it see?

[00:20:52] Is a huge part of what we're solving for. How do you get that satellite task? How do you get that data to the ground? And what we're building is an engine that is really [00:21:00] about the orchestration of tasking for what we call intelligent machines. So satellites in a way are robots, right? The little task, and they respond to those tasks and then you task them again.

[00:21:11] In fact, you have to tell them what to do minute by minute, point over here, slew over here. Turn your solar panels this way, downlink this data, like almost a programming problem, right? When we talk about a schedule for a satellite, it's the program of activities on a minute by minute basis.

[00:21:26] So when we're trying to optimize, we may be optimizing for revenue. How do I maximize revenue out of our satellites? It's a manufacturing problem in a lot of ways where the satellites are producing raw materials, they may prove producing observations or communications capability, but it's very much an optimization for yield and that yield could be.

[00:21:46] It could be total capacity. It could be customer prioritization, it could be revisit and service level agreement optimization. There's a lot of different what we call biases that you can put against this problem. And intelligence machines don't [00:22:00] have to be just satellites. And in fact what we're doing is applicable to things like drones and other types of sensor networks and our eventual goal.

[00:22:08] Our long-term. Is that we're orchestrating, millions of these intelligent machines across a wide range of customers. We're doing it on earth. We're doing it in orbit. We're even doing it interplanetary. As we move out into CIS lunar and Mars and asteroid mining. That's all going to be driven by this network of intelligent machines and they have to operate with autonomy.

[00:22:29] They have to be able to take dynamic tasking and they have to be able to get their results back to wherever they're going, whether it's observations or comms or whatever the mission of those particular satellites are. So that's what we're building

[00:22:39] Tim Chrisman: out well, and this is a good example of what we talk about.

[00:22:44] A lot of. Things in space, benefiting us on the ground where these satellites need to. Have that level of autonomy. Whether it's because they're in a complete communications blackout, whether it's because [00:23:00] of whatever, but

[00:23:01] Scott Herman: that we'll just, and even just, how many of them there are, when you used to have 50 operators with one satellite, you could do a lot of manual adjudication, and consistent persistent orbits. Predictable. Now what's happening is you have swarms of satellites, and they're flying in all kinds of different orbits, right? So it's not as simple as going. I pass over the spot on the earth every three days between 10 and 12. O'clock. And I'll just manually adjudicate a schedule or are you some basic heuristics in terms of an algorithm now it becomes a much, much more complex problem.

[00:23:35] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Yeah. And that then applies, here on the ground or in the air with, these drones, swarms. All the way through delivery drones. It's similar algorithms that are tested in space, tried in this environment. As, especially as these constellations grow, that's a great time to do that.

[00:23:55] Agile software development. It's for use on the ground. A lot of people think we [00:24:00] were in the space sector, essentially take pallets of cash and shoot it into space. But I think this is a great example of being able to take the benefits of space and bring it down beyond the benefits of the satellite itself, doing the observation, the monitoring and stuff like that.

[00:24:16] Scott Herman: Yeah, absolutely. And some people will look at what we're doing and go, oh, you're doing fleet, man. Yeah. And in a way it is a fleet management problem, right? Whether it's an airline or a bunch of delivery trucks, there's a lot of similarities. I think the differences and why this isn't a traditional fleet management problem.

[00:24:34] One very three-dimensional right. You're dealing with orbits and space and, targets on the ground and having a coordinator. The second is that we're actually producing the schedule for what that, that intelligent machine does. So it almost be like fleet management, except you're also driving the car or driving the delivery, as opposed to just saying if this destination or deliver this package.

[00:24:55] But it is a V I guess you could call it a variant of the problem, but the goal [00:25:00] is definitely why are we doing, so this is the theme throughout my whole career. It's yeah, I'm a technologist. I'm a super geek. It's not about the bits and bytes. It's about what can you do with it? And what do you change it by having that capability?

[00:25:14] And that's really where the focus is. And what you said about what we do in space impacts us here on the ground is a huge vision driver for me and for cognitive space. And it really goes to this idea of what are we doing to increase our understanding of the earth and eventually an interplanetary ecosystem.

[00:25:32] And what are the dimensions of that, right? Whether they be environmental economics, national security supply chain management, critical infrastructure, understanding, construction monitoring, a global transparency is the goal. Yeah.

[00:25:45] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. No, that makes a lot of sense. One of the things I wanted to get to is what was it that.

[00:25:52] Looking back across your career what was it that made you think spaces? And this is where I want to go. [00:26:00]

[00:26:01] Scott Herman: I think part of it was you had mentioned my political science background as well and a lot of people will go wait a minute. You're, you're a hardcore engineer, or at least you came up as a hardcore engineer, useless overhead business person.

[00:26:13] But it at least came up through those ranks and they're like, but wait a minute, national security and political science and international relations, like what the act and, I guess part of the background there is I come from a family of intelligence specialist and I was a military brat.

[00:26:27] So for me, like growing up in the factory town, right? Yep. I graduated from Fort Meade high school, just to give you an example. And so for me this intersection of technology. And monitoring and global understanding always made sense. It was something that was a life's work objective for me and, tact and weed here and there across different kinds of companies, admissions, it's been a fairly consistent theme all the way through.

[00:26:50] And so this overlap between kind of political science and geopolitics. And how do you apply technology to that particular problem? It's been a common theme all [00:27:00] the way.

[00:27:01] Tim Chrisman: Okay. Yeah. No, that makes sense. And I assume, we talked about a little bit about how cognitive space is growing and the sort of people they're looking for.

[00:27:09] I assume it's a similar mindset of people that you're looking for.

[00:27:13] Scott Herman: And we are hiring like crazy. I'll throw that out there for everybody. We are hiring like crazy we're well-funded or we're doing really well. We have a lot of interesting customers. Both in the national security community as well as the commercial world.

[00:27:24] So the kind of people we're looking for are pretty varied. As we scale up the company, as we move from being a, a startup into being a sustainable small business, on the engineering front. It's really interesting. We're looking for people that have, really solid skills and things like artificial intelligence and machine learning.

[00:27:40] We're certainly looking for people that understand the domain of space and the domain of geospatial. Because it's not just space, it's not just orbits. It's also understanding what's going on the ground. But then there's, we're building a product, right? It's an enterprise SAS. So there's a lot of just, traditional Silicon valley style, software engineering around full stack [00:28:00] development and front end and backend development and dev ops and common services and infrastructure.

[00:28:05] We are an enterprise SAS company and have a lot of those attributes. When you think about the kind of people that are looking at. And then, because we are building a business, we're looking for people in the realm of business development and sales and marketing financial it's it's all the different disciplines you need to grow.

[00:28:22] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no. And that's that's a really cool place to be as a startup when you're transitioning from, Hey, we just need all hands on deck to, Hey, we can actually get specialists now. You don't have to do HR and work the factory floor. So that's a pretty cool place to be at. And I assume that's driven in part by these mega constellations, expanding and government taking a.

[00:28:47] More of an interest in distributed satellite constellation.

[00:28:53] Scott Herman: Yeah. And a lot of the work we're doing with the us government and international allies have a lot of the same issues that [00:29:00] we'll call the international ministries of defense, but part of what they're trying to do, not only do they fly their own assets and have to manage and orchestrate those.

[00:29:07] But they're also trying to figure out what to do with this massive tidal wave of new capabilities coming from the current. Space community what's called new space, which there's a better term for it, but that's a pretty common vernacular now is new space, right? So old space is trying to figure out what to do about new space.

[00:29:25] A lot of the work we're doing with the U S government for example, is actually merging, saying, look, if there's going to be 40 new suppliers of remote sensing and other geospatial data, how are you going to take advantage of that? It changes your trade craft, change it, your training, it changes your tooling.

[00:29:42] It certainly changes your procurement models. Yeah. So we're right in the middle of helping the government understand how to do all that through concept development, through prototyping, through exercises, through operations. And by providing, increasingly mature capabilities that can go into things like [00:30:00] systems of record and these larger programs.

[00:30:01] W we're definitely sitting right in the middle of everything, exciting that's happening in new space and all of these new commercial companies. And then how does the government tackle that? How does it take advantage of that? And that's a problem, not only for the U S government, but every allied government is going through the same.

[00:30:18] What are we flying ourselves? What's available commercially. How do we merge that into what's called a hybrid space architecture. Where you have both commercial assets and government assets and systems and people all trying to work together. That's really the forefront of most of the work would be.

[00:30:35] Tim Chrisman: That's exciting. We're getting close to the end of time here end of time. That sounds ominous the end of our time. But looking ahead the next, 2, 3, 5 years, what is it you're most excited about with, whether it's cognitive spaces development or just the space sector in general?

[00:30:51] Scott Herman: I think in terms of cognitive space, we're in an exciting phase right now. We are going to be going after an, a round of funding. We continue the land, additional [00:31:00] customers both in the government and commercial space. Probably the most exciting thing is scaling up the. How do we make this a sustainable business?

[00:31:08] How does it get legs, right? How do we make sure that we're building something of lasting value? That's probably the most exciting thing that we're doing, but the other thing that's really exciting is we're doing that within the context of what's happening in the new space industry itself.

[00:31:23] What's called the new space economy, and it's not just that we're building our own business. We're doing things that are helping build that larger. So all of the companies we're working with are players that are going to help expand what's happening in new space. Some of them may be later stage so they're big and they're in play.

[00:31:43] And, they're part of the SPAC revolution in terms of IPO's, we play in that world a lot, but there's also the five guys in a garage, they have some angel funding and they're like, we have a really cool idea for space. But how do we build our own business around? And so we're helping those people get started as well.

[00:31:58] So I think that's really [00:32:00] exciting. There's how do we grow cognitive space, but how do we grow all of new space? That's what gets me up. Yeah,

[00:32:07] Tim Chrisman: no I agree. I like to tell people that I'm not going to be satisfied with where the space sector is and tell my kids can start a lemonade space and a lemonade stand in space and then not be completely absurd.

[00:32:21] So yeah. So yeah,

[00:32:23] Scott Herman: close, you should see some of the ideas I've been pitched. So I believe

[00:32:27] Tim Chrisman: it. With cost of getting to orbit, going down made in space lemonade may not be too far away.

[00:32:34] Scott Herman: And I think to that point, right? One of the things that is exciting is that because the cost of getting into space and building satellites and building a business that's centered around space has gotten so much cheaper.

[00:32:48] New spaces. Now, starting to take on some of the elements that we traditionally attributed to software in Silicon valley, right? Which is all kinds of companies can get started. And some of them may have ideas that never [00:33:00] go anywhere, but, God bless them, give it a shot, but it also enables the type of innovation that the traditional old space methods, that kind of stuff was just never going to fly.

[00:33:11] So you're seeing new much more exotic types of centers. You're seeing a lot of experimentation around business models. One of the things that's going on right now is this attempt to figure out whether new space companies can have what's called the long tail customer. The democratization of the customer base, getting into B2B for small businesses and even B to C.

[00:33:32] That's something that traditionally hasn't happened, right? The dirty secret of our industry is there's only about 10 to 15 real customers drive 99% of the revenue for all of new space. But that's changing. And so I think this idea of, it's not just about building cheaper satellites or getting more companies off the ground, this experimentation around business models, value propositions, use cases and scenarios.

[00:33:56] It's probably is. It is. We can do so much more things. We can [00:34:00] experiment and try similar to the Silicon valley startup arena. And that means innovation is coming to what we do in greater ways. Never before.

[00:34:08] Tim Chrisman: No agreed. It's a great time to be here in the space sector. But yeah, before we close out, is there anything we missed talking about that you want to make sure we hit.

[00:34:16] Scott Herman: I think we covered a lot of ground, we talked about what cognitive space was doing to bring new tools for new. I think that if you haven't gotten it from what I've said already the role of government and national security in driving a lot of this kind of what you might call customer one or the first vertical, and some people would call it the first bowling pin is essential and it drives a lot of crazy dynamics.

[00:34:39] I think it's important that while we continue to service the national security community spaces for everybody, and we want to make sure that other use cases, whether they be business use cases or, environmental use cases or global transparency and accountability use cases ESG for example, is a thing that's starting to look a lot more at space and remote [00:35:00] sensing, but I think that's really important to understand that this isn't just glorified defense contracting or, the next phase of now.

[00:35:07] This really is about the democratization of space and making a place for everybody to be involved. And one of the ways you do that is you make it economically viable to build businesses in space. And that's what cracks the egg, right? That's what opens it up for everybody.

[00:35:23] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Agreed. Agreed. No said Yeah.

[00:35:26] Thanks for being here today, Scott. And it was great having you, and I'm excited to see what comes next for cognitive space, especially as you go up to this series a and are rapidly scaling it's it's going to be exciting.

[00:35:39] Scott Herman: Excellent. Thanks a lot for having me on Tim. I really appreciate it.

[00:35:42] And for the listeners out there, you can find us@cognitivespace.com. I'm happy to answer questions and take a look at what we're doing. It's an exciting time to be in space. Thanks.

112 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page