This morning marked the opening of the IX Meeting on Spatial Telecommunications organised by HISPASAT, the Spanish satellite operator. Under the title “Transformation in the Satellite Sector: Disruption and Innovation”, leading executives from the sector's main companies, both from Spain and abroad, will spend two days analysing the changes that satellite telecommunications are experiencing and the importance of innovation as an agent to generate new business opportunities.
The opening ceremony was led by the General Secretary of Coordination of Science Policy from the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, Rafael Rodrigo, who explained that in the coming years "we willsee the launch ofsatellites designed and integrated in Spain. Thisisthe case of the Earth observation satellite Ingenio, or of the missions completed in the framework of the European Space Agency". Rodrigo noted the important leap that this will imply "for the Spanish industry and the recognition of its coming of age in space technology. Hispasat is a clear example of this effort, and today we can brag that Spain is one of the largest worldwide operators of telecommunications satellites, with 11 satellites in flight and which, therefore, makes up a strategic asset for our economy. In the coming years we have a magnificent opportunity to improve Spain's position among space powers on the foundation of a close collaboration between public investment and private capital."
Moreover, the president of HISPASAT, Elena Pisonero, has indicated that "we live in a time of rapid transformation, in large part caused by the social changes generated by communication technologies, which have enabled being connected whenever and wherever. The future has yet to be written and it is important that we are able to manage the success of the connectivity, instead of lagging behind. For this reason, it is necessary to construct new projects and reconfigure the business models without waiting until the end of the useful life of the satellites.
Pisonero pointed out that in this new path for the space industry, in which the sectors blur together, it is important to be in good company. "We need the traditional family of the satellite sector, but we also have to incorporate new players who question the status quo and bring freshness and a new vision to experiment in new areas", she ensured. For the president of Hispasat, it is fundamental to think about the final users and offer future solutionsthat respond to the needs of people, "and it must be done with new travelling companions, start-ups and other sectors, who will help us redefine the value chain", she concluded.
A sector committed to innovation
According to data gathered by the sector association TEDAE, the percentage of investment of Spanish companies in the space sector intended for innovation was 12%, when the national total is 1.19%. On a stage that is being completely transformed and is highly complex, the Spanish space industry made 8.51 billion euros during 2017, 2% more than the previous business year. Furthermore, 43% of this business volume comes from the flight segment, 33% from operators, 18% from the ground segment and 6% from launchers.
On this stage, HISPASAT has demonstrated that they are committed to driving Spanish innovation, which can be seen in the technological developments incorporated into the most recent satellites that the company has put into orbit the last two years. For example, the Hispasat 36W-1 has advanced regenerative payload, RedSAT, which is made up of a new active antenna of reconfigurable beams manufactured by Airbus Defense & Space España who, together with an on-board processor designed by Thales Alenia Space España, improves the efficiency and the performance of the satellite. In the Amazonas 5, a prototype of an optical radio-frequency distributor manufactured by DAS Photonics was placed on-board, with which the complexity in the entry section of the satellite will be greatly reduced, as well as its mass and volume. The demonstration of the Ka-band receiver based on photonics technology carried on the Hispasat 30W-6 would have similar benefits and whose modules were designed by DAS Photonics and TRYO Aeroespace. This commitment will be kept in the future, as shown by Hispasat’s participation in 5G trials, in developments for connected cars or in the demonstration of the HAPS project (High Altitude Platform Stratospheric) in which it works with Thales Alenia Space and will use a stratospheric balloon from the Spanish company Zero 2 Infinity.
New Space and young companies
HISPASAT organises this biennial Meeting in order to bring together and speak with representatives from the entire satellite sector, inside and outside of Spain, which represents an excellent opportunity to channel the innovative developments of the Spanish space industry.
During today's sessions, the representatives of different companies from our country will analyse which role innovation plays today in the Spanish space sector and the Spanish industry's position with regards to the New Space. Furthermore, executives from the main satellite manufacturing companies will discuss the different ways available when designing the satellite of the future and the directors from the innovation departments from the companies in the sector -such as Airbus and Thales- and new actors -like Facebook and Google- will debate about the change in business model in spatial telecommunications.
In tomorrow's round table discussions, on 29 June, the participants will debate about what role the young space companies must play on this stage, while the main launcher companies will speak about the emergence of new actors and rockets being produced in their area. The closing ceremony of the Meeting will be led by Hispasat's CEO, Carlos Espinós, and Magali Vaisière, the Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications of the European Space Agency (ESA).