The Spanish space industry follows with great expectation the work of the Space Council constituted on July 11 and chaired by the Commissioner of the Aerospace PERTE, Miguel BellOr, the person in charge of laying the foundations that must support and build the Spanish Space Agency.
Pending the second meeting of the Council at the end of September, the main companies in the ecosystem maintain the path marked out in their corporate planswhile at the same time keeping a close eye on opportunities in the domestic and global markets.
International competition is growing by the minute, business expectations are constantly changing and merger attempts between operators are the order of the day. Faced with such uncertainty, the current key players in the global space sector “it may not be the same in two years”Intelsat CEO David Wajsgras warned more than 400 top industry executives at the World Satellite Business Week (WSBW 2022), which just closed in Paris.
The debates and conferences in the capital of the Seine were attended by the general director of Hispasat, Miguel Ángel Panduro, who on September 14 received the award for excellence in satellite communications in the category of regional space operator. The jury recognized the Spanish company as “one of the largest regional providers of satellite services, providing Internet and content in Spanish mainly in the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America, and operating a large fleet”.
Panduro rushed back to Madrid to be present on the afternoon of September 15 at 30th anniversary celebration of the launching into orbit of the first Spanish commercial and military communications satellite. Named Hispasat 1A, it was launched into space from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 4 launcher on September 11, 1992, the year of the V Centenary of the discovery of America, the Barcelona Olympic Games and the Seville Universal Exhibition.
The next Hispasat will take off in January
The Spanish delegation that attended the inaugural launch was headed by the then Prince of Asturias, the current King Felipe VIaccompanied by the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications, Josep Borrell, now Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
In his speech before the veteran engineer Pedro Pintó -director of the Hispasat program 30 years ago-, and before many of those who overcame the obstacles to place Hispasat 1A in the 30º West orbital position, Borrell stressed that “Today’s world is largely built through satellite communications”.
He recalled that Spain established with Hispasat 1A “a bridge with Latin America that we did not have until then” and warned that “it is now at stake whether or not Europe will be a relevant actor in space.” Our security and defense “are going to depend on mastery of space,” she concluded.
The third European operator, Hispasat, has already deployed a total of 15 satellites in space, nine of which are still in service. With Red Eléctrica as the majority shareholder since October 2019, the next platform “is already in the oven,” said the president of the corporation, the former Minister of Housing Beatriz Corredor. It is called Amazonas Nexus, of which Miguel Ángel Panduro has advanced that “will take off next January”. It will do so from Cape Canaveral aboard a Falcon 9 launcher from billionaire Elon Musk’s company SpaceX.
The 4.5-ton electric propulsion vehicle, manufactured in Cannes (France) by Thales Alenia Space with extensive participation from the national industry, Amazonas Nexus will occupy orbital position 61º West, will replace Amazonas 2 -launched in October 2009-, will cover the American continent and Greenland and will increase Hispasat’s Ku-band offer aimed at the growing demand for air and maritime transport.
On the hunt for quantum communications
The fact of incorporating a state-of-the-art digital processor (DTP) gives the new device the necessary flexibility to adapt to the evolution of the market, therefore “the US Department of Defense has registered for your services”, confirms Hispasat. Another important contract won by Amazonas Nexus has been signed with Tele Greenland, Greenland’s national communications company.
The Spanish satellite will provide broadband transmissions and satellite Internet to all the remote towns and villages in the north and east of this huge island between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, but belonging to Denmark, whose population is less than 60,000.
Recognized by the entire Spanish industry as the driving force of the national sector, Hispasat is aware that outer space is a disputed domain and has already taken action. Supports the initiative of the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Frenchman Thierry Bretonto build a solid architecture for secure communications and participates in studies to make a future European constellation of sovereign, autonomous satellites a reality, with full guarantees of confidentiality.
That is why he leads a group of Spanish companies and organizations that has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to carry out the feasibility phase of Caramuel. It is the first space mission to position itself 36,000 kilometers above the earth’s surface to distribute quantum keys. It is based on a high-precision telescope equipped with a photon source capable of sending photons to the ground.one of the technologies that will make it possible to safeguard communications in the near future.
The ESA and the European Union intend to develop Caramuel as a shield against hackers equipped with quantum computers. This is expected to maintain the secrecy of civil and military government communications, the nerve centers that control critical infrastructure and the information circuits of large industrial corporations.
The companies that are part of the team headed by Hispasat are Alter Technology, Santander and BBVA banks, Cellnex, Das Photonics, GMV, Indra, Quside, Sener Aerospace, Tecnobit, Telefónica and Thales Alenia Spain. They are joined by institutions such as the National Christological Center, the CSIC, the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, the Institute of Photonic Sciences, INTA, the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the University of Vigo.