DC daily roundup: First in flight satellite; AWS Summit protested over Israel contract; NASA’s $834M for SpaceX

Plus, authorities seek a Russian national over alleged Ukraine cyber attacks.


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VanZyl-1 takes flight

Named after Jakob van Zyl, the company’s late cofounder who had a decades-long career at NASA, the company’s new high-resolution satellite aims to help farmers pinpoint agricultural problems the human eye can’t see.

For example, it can measure the temperature of a plant and detect if that crop needs water; that will guide irrigation decisions with the aim to waste less water and increase food production.

“The ultimate goal, and the reason that we started this company, is to help make sure that the world can feed itself,” Royce Dalby, the company’s president and cofounder, told

The VanZyl-1 is set to be launched by SpaceX at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

➡️ Read more about Hydrosat’s first satellite in my latest report here.

Boosting 3D modeling skills

As 3D modeling jobs stand to increase over the next decade and continue embedding in other industries, two enthusiasts are teaching young people how to create the models.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm and excitement,” one of the people behind CreateAccess told Sarah Huffman,’s reporter in Philly. “We just want to make sure that everyone who wants to be part of this sort of wave of involvement in 3D creation, finds their place within it and that we can support that.”

The nonprofit typically works with teens in middle and high school, and has a paid internship program to help the organization develop programming.

➡️ Learn more about CreateAccess’ programs here.

News Incubator: What else to know

• Demonstrators with the group No Tech for Apartheid interrupted a keynote speech by an AWS executive at the tech giant’s summit in DC on Wednesday. The protest targeted Project Nimbus, Amazon and Google’s $1.2 billion cloud computing contract with the Israeli government. [Wired]

• The CTO of McLean-based banking giant Capital One discussed the past decade of its coding and tech education program, which has partnered with over 150 orgs and schools across North America and the United Kingdom. []

• There’s a new incentive program established in DC’s 2025 budget to convert office buildings in DC, but not for residential use. [Washington Biz Journal]

• NASA is granting Elon Musk-led SpaceX $843 million to create a spacecraft to bring the International Space Station back down to Earth in 2030. [TechCrunch]

• Authorities are searching for a Russian national who is allegedly connected to several cyber attacks against Ukraine ahead of the war. It’s unclear if related attempted attacks on several government facilities in Maryland were successful. [Washington Post]

• The DC-based social risk analytics company Socially Determined is partnering with a research firm to help government organizations better understand social determinants of health. [Socially Determined]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• Women & Gender eXpansive Coders DC is holding a brunch at Union Market on June 30. [Details here]

• Climate DC is hosting a meetup for people working in sustainability and climate tech on July 17. [Details here]

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