SWISSto12’s micro-geostationary satellite wins ESA support
Lausanne, November 30th 2021 – The small telecommunications satellite developed by SWISSto12 SA, intended for launch into geostationary orbit some 36’000 kilometres above the Earth – which can be used as a basis for future satellites – has won support from ESA
This new satellite product line and its first protoflight model will be developed and built under a Partnership Project between ESA and SWISSto12, a small to medium-sized enterprise based in Renens, Switzerland. SWISSto12 – which will lead an international consortium – is already marketing this new satellite to commercial operators, which will be able to use it to stream data or broadcast television. The first satellite is due for launch in 2025.
Micro-geostationary satellites are a tenth the size of traditional geostationary satellites – typically one cubic metre. This makes them much more affordable to build and launch, enabling satellite operators to provide bespoke regional or gap-filling services that would not be financially viable using large satellites. Micro-geostationary satellites can also offer a competitive replacement option for certain legacy geostationary satellites that have reached the end of their lifetime.
“MicroGEO satellites open up exciting new market opportunities that can suddenly be serviced from geostationary orbit, thereby offering a complementary solution to larger spacecraft currently on the market. We are thrilled to have partnered with ESA on our first mission. SWISSto12 will benefit from ESA’s experience and technical support to bring this new product to the commercial market,” said Emile de Rijk, chief executive of SWISSto12.
Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “I very much welcome this initiative of developing a micro-geostationary satellite product line in Europe, led by SWISSto12. ESA works with small and medium-sized enterprises such as SWISSto12 to boost innovation and the competitiveness of the European and Canadian space industry in the global market for telecommunications satellites. We are looking forward to working on this new ESA Partnership Project to support our fast, dynamic and agile private space firms to de-risk their investments to meet the needs of the market.”
SWISSto12 is a leading developer of advanced satellite payload systems. These systems benefit from the company’s patented 3D printing technologies and associated product designs that are unique to deliver lightweight, compact, highly performing, and competitive RF functionality. Besides its space portfolio, the company is also active in telecommunications, surveillance and radar applications for the aerospace industry. SWISSto12 has developed commercially with success in Europe and Israel with prominent partners and customers such as Thales group, Elbit, IAI and the European Space Agency. SWISSto12 is the fastest growing Swiss aerospace company, spun off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), is privately owned and backed by prominent Swiss and European Investors.