STPSat-3 Program Manager - Michael Hackman

Dave Kaufman

The Ball Aerospace STPSat-3 satellite launched Nov. 19 aboard a Minotaur I from Wallops Flight Facility located on Wallops Island, Virginia. STPSat-3 is the primary satellite for the U.S. Air Force Operationally Responsive Space (ORS)-3 enabler mission. STPSat-3 is the second spacecraft Ball has built for the Department of Defense, Space Test Program Standard Interface Vehicle (STP-SIV) program managed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Development & Test Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Michael Hackman is Ball’s program manager for STPSat-3.

Q. What does it mean to be the program manager for STPSat-3 – what do you do?
A. As the project manager for STPSat-3, I’m responsible for initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing all aspects of the program. This includes project integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement management. On the softskills side, I’m responsible for the performance of a team of highly skilled individuals and our interactions with our customer, company management, and other stake holders.

Q. What is the most interesting part of working on STPSat-3?
A. The most interesting part of my work is the people. I love the group interactions and steering the team toward peak performance using industry best practices. I also like to fully encourage non-linear thinking, which led to our current manifest of six payloads on a spacecraft designed for four.

Q. This is considered a small, but robust spacecraft. Does its size make it more, or less challenging?
A. STPSat-3 is a high performing ESPA class space vehicle. The internal spacecraft component packaging as well as the external payload packaging makes the building of the space vehicle challenging, but doable due to the exceptional skills of the team.

Q. What is the key technology?
A. STPSat-3’s key technology is its standard interface, which allowed us to procure the spacecraft components prior to knowing our payload manifest, de-manifest two of four payloads after the spacecraft was built, re-manifest one payload as part of our second manifest and add three more payloads for a total of six payloads on a spacecraft designed for four.

Q. What makes STPSat-3 unique?
A. STPSat-3 has a very unique manifest made up of payloads from the Air Force Research Lab, NASA/NOAA, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. This broad range of payload providers gave our customer and the Ball team a very unique collaboration opportunity.

Q. Was there an individual who inspired you in your career?
A. A gentleman by the name of Bill Roybal had the most influence on my aerospace career. We differed on many things, but he always encouraged me to be who I am. Also, I’m giving away my age, but a favorite motivational quote that resonated with me during this program is from Ram Dass: “As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.”

Q. What do you do in your spare time?
A. I enjoy spending time with my family, researching management theories, developing my own management theories, and studying consciousness.





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