Employee Profile: Drew Hess

Meet Drew Hess, Mission Development Manager for Spaceflight!

Q: What do you do for Spaceflight?

A: How does rideshare for spacecraft actually work? It’s my job to figure that out. In my role as a Mission Development Manager, I am both sales engineer and mission manager, conducting technical feasibility studies for customers considering satellite rideshare as well as actively managing the integration of 16 satellites from 8 countries on upcoming missions. I love my job because I live at the intersection of new and old worlds: how do we leverage the incredible achievements of the spacefaring nations to allow the rest of the world access to the benefits of an orbital perspective? We are in a unique position as a startup company to encourage competition to create more supply in the market, where our competitive advantage is the expertise required aggregate small satellites onto all of those launch systems.

Q: What interests you about space? 

A: After first working on NASA’s EVA Space Suit as an intern, I have been intrigued by the opportunity to participate in the new space revolution where young engineers get to design, build, and fly new creations. I am perpetually intrigued by the concept that it’s always sunny 15 miles above the earth’s surface.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

A: Explore mountainous islands. A day that includes both time on the water and on the trail is the best kind in my book.

Q: Star Wars, Star Trek or The Martian?

A: I never watch much TV, but I have seen the Martian!

Q: If you were to mentor someone who wanted to do what you do, what advice would you give them?

A: Co-op. Study abroad. Start something. Look beyond the big companies dominating the career fair and find the small companies working on innovative new concepts that could change an industry – get in on the ground floor. Don’t feel constrained by the defaults in your surroundings; go forth and make life your own!

Q: Would you interested in going to space someday? 

A: I’m interested in the thrill of launch and the feeling of microgravity, but no interest in leaving this beautiful planet behind to hug a new rock.

Q: What’s one thing that most people at Spaceflight don’t know about you?

A: In 2015, I traveled for 6 months to 11 countries working on the Together We Rise book project as a photojournalist, reaching both 20,000 ft Andean mountain summits and diving hundreds of feet deep in the Pacific. The book is now available on Amazon with all proceeds going to raise scholarship money for kids who have exhibited extraordinary resilience in the face of difficult life challenges.

The other one that comes to mind is that I live on a floating home in Lake Union in Seattle, and sometimes commute by kayak, surfboard, SUP, dingy, or ski boat, all of which are slower than the 7 minute bike ride but faster than the 35 minute car ride (on Friday afternoons). Typically the only traffic on the lake are float planes, rowers, and the occasional river otter. Dreams do come true!

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