Why SpaceX Chose Technossus to Upgrade its Internal Software

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Why SpaceX Chose Technossus to Upgrade its Internal Software

Technossus modernized SpaceX’s proprietary ERP system “Warp Drive,” their HR Review System, and their “SafetyNet” application to help the company operate manufacturing more efficiently while protecting their workforce from injury and maintaining a culture of safety.

By Kurt Lohse. Head of Global Marketing, Technossus

In 2013, SpaceX contracted Technossus to modernize its proprietary ERP system called Warp Drive. Impressed with Technossus’s work, the tech giant contracted Technossus to do the same for two of their other internal applications: SafetyNet which monitors employee safety, and its HR Review System. Since then, Technossus has provided ongoing modernization and support for these three systems. 

I caught up with our Senior Enterprise Solutions Architect, Steve Kardian, to learn more about Technossus’s role with SpaceX, why the aerospace company chose to continue the relationship with us, and what Technossus does exactly for this Fortune 50 company. 

Three systems

In 2013, SpaceX chose Technossus as its very first external software development partner. The company’s Warp Drive system had grown outdated and was in need of modernization. The system had been built internally and the people who had built it were either no longer with the company or assigned to other projects. 

After a successful initial trial on Warp Drive, SpaceX reached out to Technossus again to modernize its other two proprietary systems: 

  • SafetyNet
  • And its internal HR Review system

SafetyNet is a manufacturing management application that helps SpaceX operate rocket manufacturing more efficiently while protecting its entire workforce from injury and maintaining its exceptional culture of safety. 

The tool tracks employee injuries and workplace safety issues. It allows incidents to be reported to the causes so they can be quickly remedied. 

“But the technology used on SafetyNet was rather antiquated,” Kardian says. “And so there were not a lot of people who actually knew how to improve it.”

The application was written in AngularJS, official support for which was discontinued in January 2022. SpaceX didn’t want to rewrite the entire code base but asked Technossus to help bring in additional features, clean up the code, and optimize it. 

After the first series of changes, SpaceX asked Technossus to continue the optimization process. 

“Not a lot of people understand AngularJS anymore,” says Kardian. “So, while we’re building in new features into the SafetyNet system, we’re also working with SpaceX to figure out the best way to modernize the code base because eventually, it’s going to need to be replaced.”

Making matters more challenging, the original developers of these systems moved on to different roles at different companies without ever really turning over the knowledge of these systems. For the most part, Technossus has had to reverse-engineer the existing systems and go directly into the code bases to try and figure out what that code does.  

The greatest challenge has been keeping the existing system working while strategizing a way for a better system in the future. 

New features all the time

Technossus’s role is far from one of just “fixing what’s broken.” Technossus’s primary function now is keeping up with the torrent of improvements that SpaceX wants to implement in these systems. 

“They want a lot of things,” says Kardian. “For example, their HR System reviews employee performance but they’ve never had anything to track interns.” So Technossuis now implementing additional functionality into this system to track everything related to interns from the moment they arrive. This helps SpaceX decide if they want to keep working with those interns, and possibly even make them a permanent offer. 

Success in the future

Forming a close strategic IT consulting and technical resource relationship, Technossus has been instrumental in developing SpaceX’s proprietary business applications and operational management systems. Working to form teams of internal and external development resources, the partnership has successfully modernized systems relating to proprietary ERP, WMS, HR, and manufacturing process management. 

The technical innovations implemented through access to external insights provided by Technossus help to ensure SpaceX remains in a league of its own when it comes to worker safety, business process optimization, and extensions of tech through to global device hardware.

To read our Client Success case studies on SpaceX, please click here.

To learn more about how Technossus can help your company modernize its legacy applications, contact us today.