Oakman Aerospace President and Chief Systems Engineer Stanley Kennedy Jr - Interview

President & Chief Systems Engineer

What Is the Background of Oakman Aerospace’s Top Management?

Maureen S. O’Brien is the Chief Executive Officer at Oakman Aerospace, Inc. Ms. O’Brien has over twenty years of experience in the Aerospace field, in her role as CEO she works to guide the strategic direction of OAI both domestically and internationally. Further, she oversees the ITAR/Export Control program and contracting at OAI. Her experience includes modeling and simulation utilizing STK and various spacecraft analysis tools, security, proposal management, and business development. Ms. O’Brien has worked extensively, both at the regional and national levels, to support the continuing efforts to reform the U.S. ITAR/Export Control laws via working groups and Colorado economic development offices. Ms. O’Brien’s career began in the U. S. Navy as an aviation structural mechanic on the P-3 Orion and from there transitioned to industry with positions held at Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Comtech AeroAstro.

Stanley O. Kennedy, Jr. serves as the President, Chief Systems Engineer, and Co-Founder of Oakman Aerospace, Inc. (OAI) and has over thirty years of direct, hands-on experience in Aerospace Engineering. Mr. Kennedy has worked on heavy-lift launch vehicles, upper stages, multiple spacecraft programs and ground systems supporting government and commercial customers both domestic and international. Mr. Kennedy earned his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA, USA, and an M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA. He is an Associate Fellow and Lifetime member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) serving at both the regional and national levels. Mr. Kennedy is the Technical Chairman of the AIAA/SmallSat Frank J. Redd Student Competition held annually in conjunction with the AIAA/SmallSat Conference in Logan, UT, USA; and, is a member of AIAA Standards Executive Council (SEC). He also serves on the U.S. Commerce Department’s Industry Trade Advisory Council on Aerospace (ITAC-1). The Committee advises the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representatives concerning trade matters. Mr. Kennedy is a member of the Technical Committee of the Small Satellite Systems & Service (4S) Symposium. The 4S Symposium is Co-Sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) of France. Mr. Kennedy serves as Vice Chair of the Colorado Companies to Watch (CCTW) Alumni Committee and as Membership Chair on the Colorado Space Business Roundtable (CSBR) Board of Directors. Mr. Kennedy has held technical and management/executive positions with Comtech AeroAstro, General Dynamics – Advanced Information Systems, and Lockheed-Martin Space Systems Company.

Stanley O. Kennedy, Sr. has over thirty-four years of project management and systems development/acquisition of Strategic and Satellite Systems, including directing the DoD Nuclear Weapons Effects Research & Testing programs for radiation effects on electronics; survivability of ICBM, ALCM, Space and C3I systems; System Acquisition of Minuteman Launch Systems; Development/Acquisition of DSP Satellite & Ground Terminal Systems; Program Management/Acquisition of Survivable C3I Systems and survivable, adaptive SIOP planning systems; and T&E of ABM mid-course intercept systems (GBI) design concepts. Stan earned a B.S. in Physics from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, an M.S. in Nuclear Physics (and post-masters study in Solid State Physics) from the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA. He served as US National Leader, TTPC (The Tri-Partite Committee) for Nuclear Radiation Effects, and as an invited member of the Vulnerability Working Groups for Minuteman ICBM, Poseidon/Trident SLBM, and Safeguard Spartan/Sprint systems. He has hands-on experience in conducting nuclear weapons radiation effects testing at Nevada Test Site, at radiation sources (Sandia & White Sands fast-burst reactors) and LINAC, Flash- X-ray and pulsed 14-Mev neutron facilities. Stan has held technical and program management positions with Boeing, McDonnell- Douglas, and with the Secretary of Defense, AF Space Division, Minuteman ICBM Program Office, Defense Nuclear Agency and AF Weapons Lab. Stan currently serves as Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Oakman Aerospace, Inc.

What Is Oakman Aerospace’s Core Product or Service and Its Unique Proposition to Their Market Sector?

OAI’s unique proposition to the market is derived from the vast experience in the industry that positions OAI at the cross-roads of domestic and international government, industry, and academia in a way that enables cutting edge technologies and partnerships to come to fruition. Being able to understand how each of these market players/forces operate and interweave to create the fabric of the industry allows OAI to assist customers and teammates in determining how to best execute on “Making Space for Everyone”. OAI works through our three core business areas of systems architecture and engineering, modular open-system compliance and standards, rapid and responsive space solutions, and boutique missions and payloads. Through these main areas, OAI is disrupting the aerospace market by cutting costs and schedules to allow for faster, smarter, and more efficient systems to change the landscape of our day to day lives. With our advanced technologies, applications, and approaches, OAI offers a one stop solutions for customers and partners to be able to access and utilize space for a greater tomorrow.

As a private, woman-veteran owned small business, Oakman Aerospace, Inc. leverages the flexibility and agility of a small company to ensure both innovation and flight-proven service are paired to revolutionize space. Outside of the office, OAI also focuses on STEM outreach and cultivating the next generation of space scientists, engineers, and enthusiasts. OAI has participated in curriculum development, job fairs, and career exploration across the U.S. and internationally to ensure the industry that went to the moon continues to go far beyond into the universe. As a global provider of space-based solutions, OAI is proud to offer complete end-to-end capabilities that leverage next generation technology for our customers, teammates, and stakeholders.

OAI staff has been thought of as leaders and contributors to the communities of Spacecraft Standards and Open System Architectures since their inception – it began with the Integrated Systems Engineering Team, and evolved into the Operationally Responsive Space Bus Standards that continues today as reflected in our Advanced Configurable Open-System Research Network (ACORN). OAI’s suite of products and services include ACORN-SIM-IN-A- BOX (ACORN-S), ACORN-RACK (ACORN-R) AND ACORN-MODULAR TESTBED (ACORN-MT).

The ACORN-S provides a high fidelity simulated space environment and component modeling with configurable scenarios, Modular ADCS and telemetry flight software, ground telemetry and STK 3D visualization interfaces. This SIM-in-a-Box also features Flight Software Development Environment and Payload and Component Hardware I/O integration, both of which can support several add on options such as customizable simulation scenarios and monthly support.

The ACORN-R contains all of the features of ACORN-S plus an external flight processor for flight software and hardware I/O, Real-Time OS for simulation environment and flight software, modular integration of component(s) or Payload(s) and the Benchmark and Evaluation Software Suite (BESSe) Toolset. The software suite provides the industry standard and custom benchmarks, functional and performance test metrics as well as full end-to-end benchmark and performance testing.

The ACORN-MT contains all of the features of the ACORN-R with the addition of a full modular (re-configurable) testbed spacecraft for integration of complete set spacecraft components and payload. The MT provides full development, integration and test toolset that supports full development cycle and complete ground software/mission operations – both supporting several add on options.

OAI strongly supports STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Outreach effort in our community and around the world. Our staff believes that encouraging youth in STEM-related fields is critical to maintaining a robust, high-tech Aerospace workforce and a strong economy by encouraging and developing qualified technical talent to support the “New Space” programs of the future. Because of this commitment, OAI is proud to participate in many STEM Outreach events and to support these programs with our time, talent and monetary commitments.

This past Summer OAI sponsored for internship two University of Colorado, Boulder Aerospace Engineering students; enabling them to participate in multiple work projects as well as assist in the yearly Colorado Space Business Roundtable (CSBR) summer program for local middle and high school students interested in Aerospace. The interns, Lucas Droste and Jaquelyn Romano’s main project was to design the After School Rocketry Program (ASRP) to be implemented by Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District introduce students to the fundamentals of aerospace, electronics and programming in order to apply these skills to launch a model rocket remotely from a smartphone. OAI funded and in partnership with a grant from the Michigan Space Consortium OAI developed an outline of the program including the curriculum schedule, materials list, and assembly and launch procedure checklists.

What Are Oakman Aerospace’s Growth Objectives over the next 5 Years?

OAI’s five year plan is intended to develop products, services, and teaming opportunities that will continue to leverage our personal and technology Intellectual Property (IP) to support “Making Space for Everyone”. In August 2017, OAI and Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE) announced a partnership that will utilize the OAI developed Common Interface Unit (CIU) to support the “Try-Before-Free-Fly” services being offered on the International Space Station (ISS) through TBE’s Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) program effort. In addition, OAI is closely partnered with New Space Systems (NSS) of South Africa to enable advanced, cost competitive satellite components to be sold in the U.S. Further, OAI has long worked with, formerly Ruag now, Thales Alenia Space of Switzerland to foster business relationships within the United States as well as abroad, delivering products and services associated with low-cost, open-system architectures. One of OAI’s goals is to begin engineering products and services that comply with foreign export controls and reduce administrative and legal barriers to investments in technologies and applications that will revolutionize the pursuit of space.

Because OAI passionately believes in Making Space for Everyone, the company will always (well beyond five years) support the growth of STEM-outreach initiatives with a focus on under- served communities to enable lower-income and disadvantaged youth to pursue STEM careers in the future.

What Competitive Changes Does Oakman Aerospace’s Envisage Within Key Markets over the next 5 Years?

OAI sees commercial constellations as a continuing dominance in the marketplace as a smart and affordable solution in space. The only way mega constellations and segment services (ground/communications/etc.) will be successful on a large-scale is through standards and open-system architectures and compliance, as well as modular systems that enable greater access and availability – Making Space for Everyone.

Oakman Aerospace’s ACORN suite of rapid and responsive space system architectures, modular spacecraft/satellite design and development, and full dynamic closed-loop modeling and simulation are ideal for multiple constellation programs.

In the near future a shake-out of the start-ups (similar to the dot-bomb shake-out in IT) will start to occur. Many start-up companies that wanted to ride the lucrative wave of participation in the exploding small sat/cube sat opportunities will begin to finish up their current contracts. Survivor companies will have managed their growth properly as well as set themselves up for continuing contracts because of their ability to strategize and adapt to future needs.

OAI envisions new entrants into the aerospace and adjacent markets providing new and interesting technologies and applications for long established space science. Main areas that will develop in the next five years will revolve around cost cutting measures, open architectures and compliance, and modular systems that enable greater access and availability to Make Space for Everyone.


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