Capella Space acquired this synthetic-aperture radar imagery Sept. 24, showing the eruptive cone of the volcano on the Spanish island La Palma. Credit: Capella Space with annotations by Raphael Grandin, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris

SAN FRANCISCO – Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite operator Capella Space named Amy Hopkins, former Boeing Phantom Works Strategy Director, as its first vice president and general manager of U.S. Government Services.

“Amy has firsthand experience as both the tactical user and the policymaker,” Payam Banazadeh, Capella CEO and founder, said in a statement. “She brings deep knowledge of the customer’s challenges and how we can help them extract greater intelligence as well as operational, planning and policy value.”

Over the last two decades, Hopkins has worked for Northrop Grumman, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Pacific Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Hopkins began working with SAR early in her career when she was deployed to Camp Bondsteel, the main U.S. Army base under the NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo. As a Defense Intelligence Agency civilian intelligence officer supporting the 1st Armored Division, Hopkins saw “the need for all-weather, day and night SAR to support military operations.”

She didn’t become a SAR evangelist, though, until she worked in Hawaii for the U.S. Pacific Command.

“The challenge to the nation’s security posed by major global players put an absolute premium on all-weather, day and night coverage,” Hopkins said by email. “The demand for this decision-level data has only increased since my time deployed in military operations support, and I see no end to that demand in sight.”

San Francisco-based Capella collects SAR imagery and data with a constellation of five small satellites in low Earth orbit. The company has won contracts from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, Pentagon’s Space Development Agency, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Space Force.

Capella also named retired U.S. Air Force officer Stosh Kowalski to be the company’s government programs manager. Kowalski’s LinkedIn profile notes he “served on launch teams for over 40 rockets for the USAF and National Reconnaissance Office” in addition to helping to establish initial operating capability for a $470 million satellite processing facility.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...