EU Commissioner Thierry Breton is known for pushing the development of a dedicated European satellite network. At the industry meeting "Secure Connectivity initiative - opportunities for the European New Space Ecosystem" it was now announced that the construction and operation will be jointly undertaken by several leading European companies.
The plan was unveiled by new French satellite communications operator Rovial SAS. The startup, founded by commercial spaceflight veterans, is leading a consortium that includes high-profile founding members Mynaric, Reflex Aerospace and Isar Aerospace. It is intended to expand the consortium in the future to include additional suppliers of subsystems and components. Rovial's first milestone is the launch of a demonstration satellite in 2022.
The establishment of a dedicated, European-focused, secure, end-to-end, high-capacity and scalable satellite constellation is expected to enable a range of applications that would not otherwise be feasible. These include further expansion of the Internet-of-Things (IOT), autonomous driving vehicles, video/rich-data communications (Internet via satellite), and defense and humanitarian missions. In addition, the three major priorities of the European Commission will be supported:
- "Autonomy and sovereignty"
by relying on European technology for key components.
- "Green Deal"
by offering sustainability with a highly scalable constellation capable of delivering initial services with as few as eight satellites
by incorporating state-of-the-art software technology and other satellite-based and terrestrial technologies to ensure efficient, reliable and cost-effective services for customers and end users
Bülent Altan, CEO of Mynaric, emphasizes that the establishment of the consortium is not a quick fix, but rather well-considered: "Of course, this is not something that just came into being overnight. In fact, there has been activity on this in the background since Commissioner Breton launched his initiative more than a year ago, and I am pleased that the paths are converging today. " Adding to the opportunity, Raghu Das, co-founder of Rovial, emphasizes, "We are very excited to be driving this opportunity with our highly respected partners and other European companies, and expect to overcome any technological and operational challenges and launch our innovative commercial service in Europe in 2023-2024 in line with the European Commission's objectives."