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Episode 3: Satellite Autonomy with Nate Hamet

Revolutionizing spacecraft operations by managing satellite uptime like computer servers.

In this episode, we hear from Nate Hamet, the co-founder and CEO of Quindar. Quindar is an aerospace startup redefining spacecraft operations with a SaaS offering that manages satellite uptime like servers in a data center. Nate started his career testing and launching billion-dollar government satellites at Lockheed Martin and later joined OneWeb as an early engineer focusing on broadband satellites. At OneWeb, Nate met his five other co-founders who helped build the software to operate the world's first mega satellite constellation.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn about the product challenges that arise from managing satellite constellations that must maintain orbit and make regular contact with the ground in spite of temperamental connectivity and antiquated hardware.

  • Hear how Quindar has tackled the jobs of dozens of highly paid engineers and astrodynamics experts in one multi-module product

  • Understand Quindar's approach of treating satellites as flying servers, abstracting the complexity of different satellite types and operating systems, similar to traditional IT management, but in a cutting edge discipline.

  • Find out how a team of six cofounders jointly built conviction for the same product solving the same problems and achieved product-market-fit

  • Learn how Quindar decided to start with commercial sales instead of government ones

  • Hear how Nate balances using AI for autonomy while protecting safety, and his views on Starlink

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In this episode, we cover:

  • Introduction (01:02)

  • Quindar's Mission (03:19)

  • Satellite Industry Persistent Challenges (04:30)

  • Quindar's Approach (06:07)

  • Operational Challenges of Flying a Constellation (07:17)

  • Why Satellites Require Constant Intervention (09:30)

  • Challenges in Maintaining Contact With Earth (12:32)

  • How the Industry Dealt with Challenges Pre-Quindar (18:15)

  • Rise of Mega Constellations (19:59)

  • Quindar's Co-founder Dynamics and Building Joint Conviction (25:27)

  • Deciding Which Modules Matter Most and Continuous Learning (31:36)

  • Getting Access to Hard to Reach Early Adopters (35:20)

  • Hardest Parts of Building Quindar and Heterogenous Systems (39:10)

  • Hiring Outside the Industry For Competitive Advantage (44:29)

  • Deciding to Start with Commercial, Not Government (45:10)

  • Quindar’s Take on Starlink’s Autonomous Constellation (48:27)

  • Quindar and Generative AI (51:30)

  • Getting in Touch With Nate and Quindar (54:40)

You can connect with Nate Hamet through the following platforms:

You can connect with Adam through the following platforms:

Where to find Emergent Newsletter and Podcast:

For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast or becoming a guest, email adam@firstprinciples.la.

Get full access of the Emergent’s Newsletter at www.emergentproduct.com/subscribe.

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Emergent: Building the Future
We sit down with the world’s best emerging technology product builders and unpack how they make a massive impact from nuts and bolts through strategy. Whether you’re starting out or scaling up, you will learn something fascinating about building for impactful missions in every episode.