One of Synspective’s reasons for existence and role in society is to hand down satellite development technology to the next generation. We are able to recruit members from different industries who have no knowledge of satellites and young professionals with no experience but high potential because we actively hire satellite manufacturing specialists and senior advisors who are able to pass on their skills and knowledge to the next generation. In addition, as a company that is working to build a constellation of satellites, Synspective urgently needs to establish a mass production system for small SAR satellites. Conventional satellites used to be custom-made one by one. In order to produce multiple satellites at the same time, it is necessary to maintain the same quality and speed of production. This is a pioneering effort on a global scale, and this is where the knowledge of our veteran engineers comes into play. In this interview, we spoke with Mr. Masaharu Iiyoshi, a specialist in satellite manufacturing.
Masaharu Iiyoshi, Manager of AIT Unit
Masaharu Iiyoshi has dedicated his career to the assembly of space development equipment since 1973. This includes high-precision soldering of wire harnesses and the assembly of equipment that is difficult to represent through diagrams, an arduous process requiring both experience and intuition. In 2006, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare honored him as an Outstanding Technician (Modern Master Craftsman) for his ingenuity and dedication to his profession. He was awarded the Medal with Yellow Ribbon by the Emperor of Japan, given to those who devote themselves to their work and serve as a role model for the general public. He joined Synspective in 2021 and has since led StriX manufacturing in the Satellite Systems Development Department.
You have been spearheading space development and satellite manufacturing for a very long time. How did you choose this career path, and what is the source of your passion?
When I was a student, I got involved in amateur radios under the influence of a friend and became interested in communications equipment. I was also the type of person who found that the more complex activities such as jigsaw puzzles and plastic models were, the more interested I became. I wasn’t particularly into routine tasks, so perhaps it was inevitable that I entered this world. I have been able to do this for a long time because I love what I do. Also, since each satellite is custom-designed, there are always changes and new insights. I think that’s why I have been able to do this for so long — I’m never satisfied with my craft.
Is there anything you particularly focus on or pay special attention to when manufacturing satellites?
I always strive to make the satellite look beautiful. When installing the purchased parts, the shape is slightly different each time, so I try to imagine the completed state and optimal solutions as much as possible, making full use of my past experiences and expertise.
Being at the forefront of satellite manufacturing for 45 years, how did you come to join Synspective?
When I was involved in the development of Synspective’s first satellite StriX-α as a supplier, I watched up close how members who were much younger than I was were working diligently through trial and error. It was when they asked me to lend my strength that I was inspired to do so. I also believe that you should finish what you start, so my personality influenced my decision as well.
Based on your wealth of industry experience, what are some strengths you believe Synspective possesses, and what issues do you think need to be solved in the future?
Synspective’s manufacturing base is composed of highly motivated young people. That’s great, and I hope that they will absorb my techniques as they continue to grow. I do, however, feel that we still lack the human resources and technology needed to make an excellent satellite. It’s critical that we first create a manufacturing foundation within the company.
Please tell us about your team’s mission.
My team specializes in satellite manufacturing, and our first priority is to ensure that manufacturing proceeds according to plan. We also focus on building a foundation for Synspective’s manufacturing and transferring knowledge and skills from veterans to younger members. This is a necessity not only at Synspective but in all companies, so I acquired a vocational training instructor license. I would like to leverage this as I work to build a highly specialized and technically capable team.
How do you envision building and managing Team X3 to become the cornerstone of production? Please also include your expectations for members.
In addition to building excellent satellites, as a manager, I want to earnestly work on nurturing the next generation. At the same time, I encourage members not to be passive learners. Instead, after absorbing the skills and techniques, I want members to be proactive and ambitious in pursuing their potential, developing their own style and methods, and further improving their capabilities. I say this as someone who is never satisfied with his craft and always trying to refine it. My message to members is that we need to grow collectively as a team and improve upon each other’s capabilities to successfully build a satellite manufacturing foundation here at Synspective.
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