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Nova Space Launches to Support the Training and Professional Development Side of the Blossoming Space Economy

Joseph Horvath

CEO & President

Nova Space, Inc.


Joseph Horvath

(612) 200-3982

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor

CEOCFO Magazine

January 3, 2022

CEOCFO: Mr. Horvath, what is Nova Space, Inc?

Mr. Horvath: Nova Space is a company focused on training, education, and professional development for the space industry, government, and academia, alike. Our vision is to become the leader in providing professional development and training within the space ecosystem, as this ecosystem is growing significantly.  

CEOCFO: Are many people looking to address the issue of education about space or are you one of the few that has recognizes the importance?

Mr. Horvath: One of the main reasons that we started this company is that there is currently a lack of professional development opportunities in the space industry. Up until now, the space industry has been mostly focused on college degrees, whether it be a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. However, that hiring is very specific to people that are involved in engineering or the physical sciences. The reality is that there are all kinds of positions and needs within these companies, including everything from your technicians, support staff, human resources, executive staff, lawyers, that need some background and training about what space is, how we use it and why it matters, in order to communicate better internally, as well as support the needs and requirements of the clients that they are trying to support as a company.

As the space industry is seeing an absolute explosion in investment, there is going to need to be more focus on the human element of it. By ignoring the human element, a space company or organization will be challenged to meet the current pace of growth without the people to support it. We saw that need for more focus on the human side of developing the space ecosystem and we are one of the only organizations focused solely on that effort.     

CEOCFO: What are some of the basic misconceptions about space you need to dispel when you are first starting in the educational process?

Mr. Horvath: One of the most common things that people seem to think is that space is really hard. And yes, rocket science or astrophysics are hard, but there is a plethora of ways to be involved in the space ecosystem that do not require a significant technical background. It is really about the team working together to accomplish the goals with all their various expertise, backgrounds, and ideas. However, one of the common misconceptions is how involved space is in the daily lives of all of us. Depending on what you do today, you will likely use GPS, probably on your phone or in your car. GPS affects how you act today including how you maneuver through the world. You might very well look at some imagery on your phone that comes from remote sensing and images that were taken from space. By utilizing GPS you’re accessing those space images and thus space is all around you.

Another example is that the stock market uses GPS timing to synchronize and coordinate trades and sets the standard for timing. Space extends into our lives so much more than people realize. Part of what we try to dispel early on is that the space economy is something that you cannot be involved in. Instead, we help you understand what is required to have that basic foundational knowledge in order to see how you could fit into the space industry and add to the value in what is being created.   

CEOCFO: What is the Nova Space Professional Course™? Would you tell us about it?

Mr. Horvath: The Nova Space Professional Course™ is our recently launched first course. It is the first in a line of courses that we are designing to provide a true career path of space professional development. It is specifically designed to set a very foundational standard across industry. So often in my experience, people working within the space industry have a wonderful level of expertise, but it is in one very specific niche area. They might be an expert in optics, or they might be an expert in launch, or they might be an expert in propulsion or orbits. However, the reality is that often, there is a lack of understanding across the board, at the foundational level of what everyone in the team is doing, what the user and stakeholder requirements are for what they need. We are trying to help mature the industry in that sense.

I will liken it to computers and cyber in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where you had several different companies that were all kind of fighting against each other. It was kind of the Wild West. They all had their own unique protocols and proprietary systems. Designs and systems were not interoperable. Then, by the late 1990s and 2000s, the industry became very standardized, where there were very specific protocols that anyone could make a device to work with that. Things became very interoperable and much of that comes down to standardization; standardization of knowledge, standardization of techniques, standardization of the foundational thought of what that industry meant and what you could expect someone to know that is working in that industry. That is something that we are trying to tackle with the space industry in order to help mature it and grow it into something that can be more easily joined by new workers and to allow for better communication, performance and business outcomes.

I think as the industry tries to tackle some of these tough problems that they are trying to accomplish, it takes a certain amount of creativity, and in order to do that, you need to understand the fundamentals. Even if it is not in your specific area of expertise, you need to understand the fundamentals across the board of what all your partners are going to be thinking about, to see where that trade space is, where new ideas can take shape and how to maximize benefits, both in profits and in growth within different companies and industries involved in the space industry.     

CEOCFO: What are some of the challenges in creating a course that addresses the issues both novices and people well educated in the topic? How do you put together an offering that people want to use, should use, and covers all the bases?

Mr. Horvath: It was something that we were very focused on in the design, so that this is a course that can take someone who is a novice or someone who is relatively expertized in space, and they will both come out of it advanced together in their knowledge base. That is a challenge, but it is an advantage that we have in the fact that our courses are digital, they are asynchronous, meaning that you can take it at your own pace, and they are something that is designed to adapt itself to the knowledge base coming in of the individual student. The course allows itself to adapt to a student, which is very important because it makes it something that is respectful of the learner’s time. If someone is performing well in specific areas, then the course does not need to go as deep into those things, because the learner is showing their mastery of that topic as they are working through it. If there are areas that someone is struggling in, the course can focus more on that, and even give more specific or more detailed background if necessary. We were fortunate to have developed this course with an industry leader in digital e-learning design, to make it very adaptable to the student, and I think that is very important to many of us these days. We are all busy, we have a limited amount of time, and we want to be good stewards of our customer’s time. An extra advantage to this design is that it means faster times to competency when you are going through it, so that you can focus on the things that you really need practice in.

Being a computer course and a digital course, it is also great, because it allows a safe but challenging space for people to practice and develop their skills. Some people feel challenged regarding in-person environments for learning. A typical course is taught to the center of the bell curve and maximized to the benefit for that middle group, thus there are going to be people that feel left behind, and there are going to be people that are bored. The great thing about a computer is that it does not get frustrated having to repeat things or allow people to practice until they reach that level of competency, but it can also speed itself through parts that someone is demonstrating mastery of a topic and does not require them to go through a cookie-cutter design course that is meant for one-size-fits-all.     

CEOCFO: Would you tell us about FedLearn and is that someone typical of the relationships you are looking to develop or have developed?

Mr. Horvath: FedLearn was a wonderful partnership for us to establish. We offer our courses and our entire program to companies and organizations that want to use it specifically for their internal workforce to allow for professional development and growth of their employees. We also offer it to individuals that may want to use it on their own, to maximize their ability to grow within the industry, achieving new levels of position or opportunity. Our FedLearn partnership is significant because of their connection to the government and intelligence community, which is an important user and partner to space and the space industry. This partnership gives us an opportunity to really reach a wonderful set of potential clients and potential individuals or organizations that would benefit from this for their employees. We are continuing to develop similar partnerships and I would expect us to announce other partnerships going forward in the future.  

CEOCFO: How do you reach out?  How can you gain attention or does your background provide an edge?

Mr. Horvath: The Nova Space team comes from a background of space operations and astronautics, both on the military and commercial side. Because of that, we do have networks of people that we know through industry or government that providing a lot of the early validation and excitement in what we are doing. At the same time, we are constantly working with different organizations, both US and international, that are focused on the development of the space industry and trying to partner with them, demonstrating how we can be of benefit to their growth and performance. We are also fortunate to have a group of executives with varied backgrounds providing depth of experience to our team.

CEOCFO: What do you take from your own military experience, that has been helpful on the business side?

Mr. Horvath: For me, I was honored to spend over 20 years as a Marine Corps officer. The first 10 years as a helicopter pilot and instructor. Then I earned my master’s degree in space operations from the Naval Postgraduate School and spent the second decade of my career in the military focused specifically on space operations at the Pentagon and US Strategic Command. I was fortunate to have a wealth of experiences in different organizations, and the commercial side as well, having been a DARPA Service Chiefs Fellow. Working with a wide range of people, and seeing some of the challenges that exist, both in industry and government, really highlighted issues related to space and its lack of professional development or formal training and education.

CEOCFO: What are the next courses on the horizon for NovaSpace?

Mr. Horvath: We are excited about some of the future course offering that are in development and have a number in our pipeline right now. We are expecting to launch a course focused on high school students, here in the United States and abroad. This high school course will introduce what space means and provide a feeder into industry or government of different areas that someone can be involved in with space, based on their interests and abilities. We are also developing some shorter courses for executives and investors, to help them understand space better, and how it impacts their professions, both at the corporate executive level and investor levels. There is so much interest in investment in space, but I think that many investors just do not really know much about the topic.

CEOCFO: Are you seeking funding, investment, or partnerships as you move forward?

Mr. Horvath: We have been doing very well in our initial startup phase of growth. However, as we continue to grow, I see a number of areas that we would like to fill out more and branch into. Most definitely, we are looking for both partners and investors to help the company and vision grow, both in support of us, and the greater support to further developing the space economy and allowing it to be everything that it can be over time.

CEOCFO: Why should people pay attention, both from potential customers for the courses and from the investment community?

Mr. Horvath: I think that the most important thing about what we are doing is our focus on people and how we can enable them to be successful, both in their own careers, and then also in how that supports that growth of industry. That is one of the real aspects of why we are unique and why we present an exciting opportunity for both investors and partners as we go forward. The other thing that I find great about this company is that our team is composed of several retired military officers and other experienced professionals, focused on performance and outcomes. I am excited to build this company into something that becomes long standing and influential in the future of the space economy.

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“As the space industry is seeing an absolute explosion in investment, there is going to need to be more focus on the human element of it. By ignoring the human element, a space company or organization will be challenged to meet the current pace of growth without the people to support it. We saw that need for more focus on the human side of developing the space ecosystem and we are one of the only organizations focused solely on that effort.” Joseph Horvath