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Frontiers August 2013 Issue

BOEING FRONTIERS / AUGUST 2013 27 The opportunity to solve a new, interesting, commercially relevant problem and build something—that’s why I like working here.” Creating that “startup” culture was no accident and was established early by program leadership to encourage risktaking and innovation—two ingredients necessary for rapid prototyping, according to Daehler. “We knew that for us to design and prototype with speed, we needed to instill a new mentality in people working on the program,” Daehler explained. “We changed the work environment, breaking down cubicle walls, establishing collaboration zones, and brought in leaders from across the enterprise with experience in rapid prototyping. It wasn’t just a couple of physical changes—we used innovative business models, design and manufacturing methods. Combined, all these elements totally changed our method of satellite development and greatly reduced our development costs.” One of the keys to making Phantom Phoenix affordable, Daehler and others on the program explained, is the common avionics and software package, which is compatible with a variety of off-the-shelf hardware components in any number of configurations. Boeing has provided satellites to customers around the globe for more than 50 years. The Phantom Phoenix development team tapped into that vast experience. The diversity of experience was especially valuable to Alex Stavros, a systems engineer on the program. “When I first came on as an intern I got to work with someone who had worked on the Apollo missions,” Stavros said. “It was amazing to have access to someone with that depth of knowledge.” Having been developed by Phantom Works, Phantom Phoenix will transfer to Space & Intelligence Systems, a division of Boeing Network & Space Systems, for commercial production. Phantom Works President Darryl Davis said the Phantom Phoenix team has helped deliver on the promise of Phantom Works: creating the future. That’s the role Phantom Works plays for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Davis said, adding: “Partnering with Boeing Research & Technology, we design and prototype the next generation of Boeing products based on current and future customer needs. Once we’ve validated that technology, production transfers to our business partners, in this case Network & Space Systems.” This approach demands agility. “Being a smaller, more flexible organization affords us more opportunities to take some risk and innovate,” Davis added. “We’re able to quickly move our people to lend expertise and provide guidance. “The people—not just the products—are what make Phantom Works an exciting place.” Tricia Hevers, a systems engineer on the program, is a recent college graduate who got to experience this philosophy in action. “Being part of a smaller team allowed me to be involved in a lot of different roles,” she said. “And because the team was small, each of us could see firsthand how our individual work impacted the entire project.” The opportunity to create a new product doesn’t happen every day, Hevers noted. “I’m really excited—this early in my career—to work on a new generation of satellites.” n eric.j.carlson2@boeing.com PHOTOS: (Opposite page, clockwise from top left) Engineers Nick Musser, left, and Alex Stavros inspect a satellite model; a model of Phantom Phoenix; engineer Tim Cook with satellite models; software engineers Aaron Steinfeld, left, and Derek Dreier collaborate. (This page) Removing cubicle walls increases collaboration for the Phantom Phoenix team: Musser, from left, Tricia Hevers, Erik Daehler, Stavros and Bryan Welsch. Paul Pinner/Boeing


Frontiers August 2013 Issue
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