It’s no surprise anymore that work is different — at Benchmark Space Systems, the company wanted to offer an opportunity for the propulsion community to stay connected – even if that is harder working from home.
In early July, the Benchmark team produced a 2.5 hour workshop entitled “Propulsion Systems 101 Interactive Workshop – A guide to selecting the right propulsion technology for your Small Satellite mission.” In the firm’s opinion, this workshop was a great success. The company wanted to share some highlights and lessons learned for others wanting to build a learning experience for the community during COVID.
The propulsion workshop focused on providing brand-agnostic summaries of different propulsion technology as well as topics that relate to spacecraft in general – such as launch operations, mission design and financial decisions that impact the economics of a mission. While these are topics in which the firm could have easily deep dived into the technical weeds, all of the speakers focused on making their content accessible to the wider audience. This paid off greatly when it came time for the actual workshop – with more than 150 attendees, there was a huge swath of experience and backgrounds ranging from college students to industry veterans.
Working with amazing people makes the whole process infinitely more enjoyable. At Benchmark, several team members were present. Jake Teufert presented a summary of chemical propulsion systems, Isa Peterson discussed the mission level impacts that drive propulsion decisions and Chris Carella acted as the MC for the event. Other colleagues rounded out the conversation:
- Grant Bonin (Spaceflight Industries) discussed launch site considerations and advice for propulsion manufactures
- Ian Christensen (Secure World Foundation) spoke on regulatory impacts coming soon and how that might impact the propulsion and spacecraft industries
- Jason Wallace (Phase Four, Inc) discussed brand-agnostic electric propulsion systems
- Jared Bottoms (Kepler) enlightened us on the economic considerations for having a propulsion system for your spacecraft fleet
All these contributors brought sizable impact to this workshop.
The main goal of this workshop was to put together an event that every attendee in the audience would walk away from having learned something in an enjoyable way. Keeping the topics dynamic, brand agnostic and light in nature offered a safe space for the audience to learn together and ask questions without feeling like they were getting a sales pitch for three hours.
In addition to the conversation and presentations, a mega mission design tool was created. This high-level, criteria driven tool allows mission designers of all capability and program maturity to consider different propulsion systems side by side for the mission they are building. Toggles include total delta-V,mission life, de-orbiting preferences, and more. Benchmark hopes this tool enables designers the ability to quick trade options in the future.