How Free STK Changed Aerospace & Defense

By: Jeff Baxter

When AGI first introduced a free version of STK back in 1997, it was a very “bold and risky move that could easily make or break the company” as CEO Paul Graziani explained in this article from The Wall Street Journal. To help understand the motivation for this bold and risky move, it’s helpful to understand AGI’s vision, which is “a dramatically more efficient and effective aerospace and national security environment.”

By providing a free software tool that was broadly applicable, AGI provided an alternative to building inefficient, ineffective software tools from scratch. Furthermore, it provided a quick on-ramp for customers who needed more advanced capabilities using STK’s add-on products. The risk paid off, as STK quickly became an industry standard for modeling, simulation, and analysis of land, sea, air, and space systems.

AGI then doubled-down on this strategy in 2012 by including the powerful 3D graphics in the free version, as described in this blog by AGI COO Frank Linsalata. Furthermore, around the same time, AGI founded Cesium, an open source, cross-platform virtual globe for dynamic-data visualization built on JavaScript using the lessons learned from STK’s 3D graphics engine. Since then, AGI has continued to add capability to the free version of STK, including streaming terrain, 64-bit support, Cesium Exporter, and a variety of usability features such as the grease pencil and 3D ruler. AGI even provides free video tutorials, virtual training, and certification to make it quick and easy to learn.

Looking back now in 2017, 20 years after introducing free STK, and five (5) years after introducing Cesium and free 3D in STK, it’s safe to say AGI’s gamble on providing free software has paid off.

We hope you’re already taking advantage of these free capabilities, but if not, download free STK for yourself, or contact AGI to request a free network license for your organization.

Posted: 3/23/2017 3:21:24 PM