Voices from DARPA
Episode 21: Mr. Thousand Satellites
In this episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, Paul “Rusty” Thomas, a program manager since 2017 in the Agency’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO), chronicles how his several-decade career within the commercial space industry has taught him a thing or two about designing, manufacturing, launching, and operating more than 130 civilian and government satellites. At DARPA, he is bringing that background to bear on one of the Agency’s more ambitious space-technology projects, Blackjack, which upon completion could encompass a mesh-like network of thousands of small and inexpensive satellites for delivering global, all-the-time sensing, communications, and other national-security services. With boots-on-the-ground experience in Afghanistan, a pilot’s license, and a personal altitude of 6’8”, Rusty projects a larger-than-life persona, illuminated by an infectious sense of mission to innovate the way toward future-generation space technology.