|15-06-07, 10:19 PM||#1 (permalink)|
manic midlander retired mod
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Scottish Borders
SES ASTRA and VERHAERT SPACE SECURE ESA contract to run Belgian Ground Station
SES ASTRA and VERHAERT SPACE to operate satellite ground station in Redu / 10-year contract / New company to offer services also to third parties
Betzdorf (Luxembourg), 15 June 2007. – SES ASTRA, an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), and VERHAERT SPACE, a QinetiQ company, have secured a major long-term service agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) to maintain and operate the Belgian satellite ground station in Redu. The activities conducted by the ESA Redu station comprise ground control and in-orbit testing of satellites for ESA missions.
VERHAERT SPACE and the SES ASTRA subsidiary SES ASTRA TechCom will provide maintenance and operations services to ESA at the Redu station. For this purpose, SES ASTRA and VERHAERT SPACE have founded a joint Belgian company, REDU SPACE SERVICES. The 10-year contract allows this new company also to offer satellite and operations services to third party customers. The services contract between ESA and REDU SPACE SERVICES was awarded following a tender process started by ESA in November 2006. REDU SPACE SERVICES will begin to operate the Redu station on 1st July 2007, taking over from the incumbent operator who has been in place for the last 25 years.
In December 2006, SES ASTRA created a new, wholly owned Belgian subsidiary of SES ASTRA TechCom, and entered into a partnership with VERHAERT SPACE, the leading Belgian space system operator, in order to expand the satellite services in and from Belgium and to develop active cooperation with other European space companies.
“The ESA contract is another important step in the development of our service offering for institutional and government customers”, said Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA. “It further strengthens our close relationship with ESA and can enable us to position SES to be further involved in important government and institutional projects. It will also allow us to enhance the use of the ESA facilities by offering services to third parties and to give significant impetus to the development of the Belgian space industry. On this long-term base, we will be even better positioned to fulfil the needs of institutional and government customers.”
“This agreement opens new growth possibilities for SES ASTRA TechCom and will support the efforts of the Belgian Government to build a global presence in the satellite sector”, said Pascal Rogiest, Managing Director of REDU SPACE SERVICES. “We are confident that our joint technical expertise will provide strong support to existing and future ESA missions on the station, and that our commercial strengths will contribute to the development of new activities and business on the site, especially in-orbit testing, satellite operations, and telecommunications services.”
“This partnership is a new step in the development of our satellite business”, said Paul Verhaert, founder of VERHAERT SPACE. “It represents an important opportunity to create value in our company and enhance the activities and business scope in Redu.”
“The operation services at Redu represent an important asset in our portfolio of small satellite systems that we offer to ESA and commercial customers”, said Frank Preud’homme, commercial director at VERHAERT SPACE. “It will allow us to have a full end-to-end system in our portfolio. A number of small satellite missions developed by VERHAERT and supported by the Belgian Science Policy are planned to be supported by the Redu station in coming years. We intend to add a number of other small commercial missions because our customers worldwide value highly the capabilities that small satellites provide. This segment therefore represents an important emerging business for us, especially for earth observation applications which can be complemented by our ultralight stratospheric UAV platform Mercator, at this moment ready to fly, but still in the process to receive clearance approval from the Belgian authorities.”
(SES press release)
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