Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2002 (Revised April 2002)

Space Data Corporation

by Alan D. MacCormack and Jay Wynn

Abstract

Space Data Corp. plans to partner with the U.S. National Weather Service to place transceivers on weather balloons and thereby create a national mobile communications network. The company is in the late development stages and is planning to launch a regional test that will demonstrate its ability to provide paging and messaging. It intends to sell its service to existing mobile carriers, such as Skytel and Verizon, rather than directly to end users. This case illustrates how Space Data has applied flexible business processes throughout its initial market research and technology development to create a system that can make optimal use of its limited resources and respond rapidly to changing conditions. As the case concludes, the executive team at Space Data faces three opportunities, each with very different costs and benefits for the company. It can proceed with a regional test of paging and messaging as planned, leap forward to develop a more complex but potentially more lucrative voice service (forgoing a regional test), or make a transition to the small but financially stable telemetry market. Includes color exhibits.

Keywords: Wireless Technology; Business Startups; Business Processes; Adaptation; Partners and Partnerships; Opportunities; Telecommunications Industry; Public Administration Industry; United States;

Citation:

MacCormack, Alan D., and Jay Wynn. "Space Data Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 602-121, January 2002. (Revised April 2002.)