Spanish space companies are committed to the foreign market. Many demonstrate this by their presence at the sector's product and service fairs and by the participation of their executives in the discussion forums that take place around the leading international events held throughout the world.
In the first half of March, congresses and exhibition halls were held in Washington, Munich and Dubai, attended by companies and senior executives from companies such as Arquimea, Acorde, Celestia, GMV, Indra, Integrasys, Hisdesat, Hispasat and Satlantis.
One of the most important global events in the telecommunications sphere is the Satellite conference and exhibition in Washington, a major annual trade fair at which Hispasat, Spain's leading operator, presented its latest device in orbit: Amazonas Nexus.
Launched on 6 February and scheduled to go into service by mid-year, its CEO, Miguel Ángel Panduro, stressed to executives from five continents that the newborn satellite will offer "high quality connectivity over all of America, Greenland and the planes and ships that transit the maritime and air corridors of the North and South Atlantic".
The market is amid change and customers who used to sign a five-year contract are now looking for shorter-term options, especially in the maritime field. For this reason, the Spanish company has designed its new line of Hispasat Wave services, an "integrated offer" for wholesalers, government operators and audiovisual companies.
Ensuring the transition from first to second generation Galileo
In a session at Satellite 2023 dedicated to analysing how regional operators can compete with satellite constellations in low orbit - below 2,000 kilometres - Panduro predicted that the trend in satellite communications is "complementarity: offering the best costs and the most suitable technical solutions from all orbits".
GMV did not want to be absent from Washington, where it went with a large team led by the chairman of its Space Coordination Council, Miguel Ángel Molina, after having signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the test bench for the second generation of Galileo satellites. The team of GMV's Director of Navigation, Miguel Romay, will provide ESA with the technology to guarantee the "smooth" transition from the first to the second-generation Galileo and to validate the system.
Arquimea was at Satellite 2023 to present its BeetleSat communications constellation to satellite operators and service providers. Currently under development, it is a low orbit Ka-band project with high capacity, security and low latency, whose major milestone is to validate the inter-satellite links. Acorde has arrived with its radio frequency equipment and its participation in ESA and EU programmes; Celestia, with its antennas and components; and Integrasys, with its management software for communications equipment.
GMV has made a qualitative leap forward and with its "already proven level of international relevance", stresses Miguel Ángel Molina, has become the main sponsor of two important events in the first fortnight: the Navigation Satellite Summit, held in Munich from 13 to 15 March, and the 17th edition of the International Conference on Space Operations (SpaceOps 2023) held from 6 to 10 March in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
From different technological angles, both events reviewed space mission planning and trends in future satellite control centres and their operation. SpaceOps is organised by the main space organisations of the United States (NASA and NOAA), Europe (ESA and Eumetsat), Germany (DLR), France (CNES), Italy (ASI), Korea (KARI), Japan (JAXA), India (ISRO), Canada (CSA), Brazil (INPE), South Africa (SANSA) and Emirates (MBRSC), as well as by the most important companies in the sector, including GMV.
Satlantis was also present at SpaceOps, whose CEO, Juan Tomás Hernani, explains that the company is immersed in the development of "cameras with a resolution of less than 50 centimetres", an evolution of the iSIM-90 with a resolution of 1.80 that embarks the 16U CubeSat "Urdaneta" weighing 16.4 kilos. Launched in May 2022, it has been acquired by Geocosmos - an Armenian state-owned company - and renamed ArmSat-1.
GMV presented its "guaranteed solution for precise positioning" at the Munich Navigation Satellite Summit, a technology it already uses in the BMW cars it sells in the United States, which Miguel Romay has found to be "the most mature and advanced on the market". In the Bavarian capital, the company shared its navigation options for constellations in low orbit, which could be transferred to ESA's new Leo PNT programme, in which Spain wants to play a leading role.
The technology company based in Tres Cantos (Madrid) has also won most of the lots in the international tender put out by Hisdesat to develop and build the control and tracking ground segment of its Spainsat NG I and II secure communications satellites. Scheduled for launch in 2024 and 2025, respectively, the main centre will be in Hoyo de Manzanares, a few kilometres from Madrid, and the alternative centre in INTA's Maspalomas Space Station, in the south of the island of Gran Canaria.
Another recent success of GMV and its subsidiary in Romania is the tender awarded to it by the National Observatory of Athens and the General Secretariat of Telecommunications and Posts of Greece's Ministry of Digital Governance to implement its Hellenic programme of surveillance, monitoring and space awareness. The Spanish company's contribution is the FocusSST software, which will enable the Athens operations centre to plan its network of optical telescopes, determine orbits, prevent collisions and predict object re-entry trajectories.
GMV's string of recent successes continues with a contract from the European Defence Agency (EDA) to extend the capabilities of the MARSUR maritime SURveillance network for EU Common Security and Defence Policy missions. The software based on the Socrates border surveillance system will facilitate the secure exchange of data, improve coverage and increase the interoperability of the emergency network, which watches over the 12,000 ships that transit the waters of the EU countries every day.
Indra attended the Munich show after digitising the new air traffic control centre in Bahrain with its ManagAir management system, which doubles the fluidity of movements in the Persian Gulf. The same ManagAir system has recently enabled a contract to digitise the infrastructures of Angola's new M'Banza Congo airport, which joins Luanda, Catumbela and Lubango airports in the country.