The launch and the stationkeeping

Happy 2016, everyone!

At the beginning of the year, many people launch– or re-launch– their businesses with “massive action.”

But do they have a plan for stationkeeping?

Let me explain.

I used to launch satellites for a living, along with many other thousands who contributed time and energy to each launch.

The departments I worked in concentrated on the trajectory.

In other words, the path the rocket took from the launch pad all the way into high earth orbit, where it released the satellite into its own orbit. We tussled with the accurately-predicted high heating, winds, and physical strain on the vehicle as it punched its way through the atmosphere.

We trajectory & performance experts wanted to transport your satellite to the release altitude as quickly as possible, using the least amount of fuel. However there was no use in finalizing a flight path that would cause the launch vehicle to burn up, veer significantly off course, or snap in half.

My colleagues and I were dealing with the real physical strains and atmospheric effects of  “massive action” during the launch phase.

On the other side of the building, engineers were concentrating on what happens weeks, months, or even years after “spacecraft/launch vehicle separation.”

The long-term effects of radiation exposure on the onboard computer and sensors. Impacts from micrometeorites.

The tiny amount of atmosphere that would slow the satellite down, decreasing the altitude of the orbit into a slightly more dense section of the atmosphere, leading to an even lower orbit.

And the rare case when the satellite had to be moved to a significantly different position… like when a weather satellite hovering over the Eastern USA failed, and one from the west coast had to be scooted significantly eastward to cover the gap.

Each satellite is launched with its own tank of propellant onboard for stationkeeping maneuvers. As you can imagine, that fuel is doled out with parsimonious care, because once that tank is empty, there is no way to refuel it … and you have doomed the satellite to certain slow decrease in altitude and burning up as it reenters the densest parts of the earth’s atmosphere.

In our businesses after the “massive action,” there needs to be a way to sustain the rewards of the growth. In aerospace engineering we refer to that next phase as “stationkeeping.”

Consider these “stationkeeping” questions.

What systems do you have in place to train and educate your new distributors? Your new clients? And you yourself?

How will you keep in touch with your distributors and clients, in a way that is emotionally fulfilling for THEM, so they continue to buy your products?

How do you teach your distributors to take a look at their business-building actions… and decide whether they need a burst of “stationkeeping” maintenance (pep talk, a choice video or audio recording, reading a book) or a complete overhaul?

Business success is more than getting started right… it includes sticking around to reap the rewards from the work. Be sure you have sturdy plans for both phases.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

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