The Software Agents - Episode 5: Software in Space

Written by: Christina Noren

2 min read

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The Software Agents is a new podcast series sponsored by CloudBees. Each week, we bring you a leader reinventing a different field through software for the new world that is now being born. Listen to this week's podcast here.

Our guests this week on The Software Agents are Stefan Powell and Koen Lucassen of Dawn Aerospace. Dawn, with dual headquarters in New Zealand and the Netherlands, are building space planes that will lift off and land at  everyday airport runways to carry payloads into orbit, multiple times per day. As we all rely more on digital services, many of which require satellite uplinks, Dawn is making sure our space-connected future is both environmentally sound and adaptable to rapid change.

Dawn’s newly revealed Aurora MkII, a suborbital plane that will help them refine the fully orbital MkIII in the pipeline, is a small, remotely-piloted rocket with wings. It’s faster than a fighter jet, yet innovative control software lets the Aurora fly safely in and out of commercial airports as part of regular air traffic. 

In its suborbital flights in coming months, Dawn’s planes will collect environmental data and carry high-altitude experiments at heights too high for a balloon, but too low for a satellite. Aurora MkII will let us collect much more data around the globe to study a changing planet.

Stefan is an actual rocket scientist and Dawn’s cofounder, Koen is an avionics software engineer who makes sure the Dawn’s plans will lift off, carry out their missions, land safely amid passenger flights, and be ready to fly again the same day. He credits continuous delivery practices for the rapid iteration that Dawn is delivering.

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