Silicon Sky: How One Small Start-Up Went over the Top to Beat the Big Boys into Satellite Heaven

By Gary Dorsey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
March 1994
Interference

After the third meeting of the day about Grace Chang's ill-fated Earth sensor, Dave Steffy went back to his office and began stuffing everything from his in-basket into his briefcase—a sporadic task he called "vacuuming the in-bin."

He reached into a filing cabinet to remove a stack of academic papers about antennas to take home for bedtime reading. At least for one evening in March, he expected to get home before his kids went to bed. With his briefcase filled, Steffy imagined he would knock off the few last items on the day's "to do" list while he watched the NCAA basketball tournament.

When he turned to leave, Mark Krebs walked by the doorway.

The engineer's eyes looked milky, shot with red streaks like boiled shrimp, the result of too many consecutive days writing algorithms on MatLab. He had not been happy about the outcome of their meetings about the Earth sensor.

To save money, Steffy had vetoed his request to install a new set of magnesium brackets that would have improved the pointing accuracy of the attitude-control system by one degree. Still anxious to meet specifications, Krebs needed every bit of margin he could scratch up.

"Remember, Mark, all these things have to do is produce revenue," Steffy said, poking his head out the door. "That's the most important thing."

Krebs spun around, and kept walking away backward. "Oh, okay, 'enhance revenue'—well, that just about covers all my worries," he sniffed.

"What—more or less worried?" Steffy asked.

-228-

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