Stoke Space, the company developing a fully reusable rocket, has introduced a new tool that will allow hardware companies to track the design, testing and integration of parts. A new tool, Fusion, targets the unsexy but essential side of hardware workflow.
It’s a solution born out of “ubiquitous pain in the industry,” Stoke CEO Andy Lapsa said in a recent interview. The current parts tracking status quo is marked by cumbersome, balkanized solutions built on stacks of documents and spreadsheets. Many existing tools are not optimized for “boots on the ground,” but for finance or procurement teams or even the C-suite, Lapsa explained.
In contrast, Fusion is designed to optimize simple inventory transactions and parts organization, and it will continue to track parts throughout their lifecycle; as they are built into larger assemblies and undergo testing. In an extreme example, such as hardware failures, Fusion will help teams connect anomalous data to the exact serial numbers of the parts involved.
“If you think about aerospace in general, there’s a need and there’s a desire to be able to understand the provenance of every single part and serial number that’s put together,” Lapsa said. “So you not only understand the configuration, but you understand the history of all those parts, which goes back forever.”
Although Lapsa clarified that Fusion was the result of an organic internal need for better parts management; designing a fully reusable rocket is complicated, after all, turning it into a marketable product was an early decision by Stoke’s team. It’s a prime example of a rocket launch creating revenue streams while their vehicle is still in development.
Fusion places a special emphasis on startups. Many existing tools are designed for production stages, rather than the fast-moving research and development environment that many hardware startups find themselves in, Lapsa added. In these environments, speed and accuracy are paramount.
Brent Bradbury, head of software at Stoke, echoed these comments.
“Parts change, people change, processes change,” he said. “This allows us to capture it all as it happens without a lot of extra work.”