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The space industry is changing rapidly, and as some companies innovate at a pace far beyond what older players are doing, the European Union (EU) is wisely turning to NewSpace for its future satellite needs.

E-Space is one of those companies on the cutting edge of technology prepared to help the EU realize its goal of a secure, sovereign system that relies heavily on services and technology from EU countries.  E-Space SAS, a NewSpace company based in Toulouse, France, is actively hiring in France and across Europe as we plan a new manufacturing facility for our upcoming satellite constellation in low Earth orbit (LEO).  

Recently, the EU officially kicked-off the European connectivity satellite constellation project, dubbed IRIS², intended to serve both defense and commercial interests of the EU member states and to ensure the sovereignty of Europe. This program is ambitious, as was the successful Galileo and Copernicus projects, and its aim is to provide Europe with a third element of large space infrastructure.

IRIS² represents an opportunity to reduce European dependence on non-European initiatives under development, according to Commissioner Thierry Breton with the European Commission, and develop an internal capability that will serve the sovereign needs particular to Europe’s needs.  

A major goal of the EU is to have its own satellite network that is highly resilient and secure. They also want a multi-orbit strategy that includes LEO as well as medium Earth orbit (MEO) and geostationary orbit (GEO) capabilities. E-Space is well-positioned to provide a new level of critical connectivity for government and military personnel to give a major boost to their communications and future connected sensors.

AI-enabled Smart-IoT devices from E-Space have been designed to be very small and have a wide variety of uses for government and military. Enabling these capabilities on a sovereign system that’s highly resilient and secure puts the EU in a much stronger position than it is today. Older, traditional satellite systems cannot meet the demand for global coverage or the advanced technology to connect many of these Smart-IoT and communication devices, which today largely rely on terrestrial networks — particularly cellular.

While traditional IoT models attempt to leverage cellular infrastructure, the limited speeds and cellular coverage areas turn out to be surprisingly inadequate. Smart-IoT requires sensor data transmission, potentially including images and other high-data rate information from “things” over an available network with steady, fast speeds. So, it’s not just “coverage” that is needed, but consistent, high-speed, 2-5 bar coverage to unlock the value of large-scale data collection opportunities. 

We believe the advantages that will be realized by the European Commission’s plan are vast. Along with EU agencies like the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), the European Defence Agency (EDA) the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) and many others — it offers the ability to manage an IRIS² program comprised of a consortium of industrial actors to develop a satellite network that meets the needs of EU Member States for the coming years — rather than the government itself building a system of its own.

The rapid advances in technology that can be incorporated into the network and the reduced time-to-launch of the network are just two of the major advantages to this approach.  

We applaud EU officials involved in developing this sovereign capability and look forward to the new and unique capabilities that such a system will provide for the European Continent.

David Liermann

David Liermann is general manager of France at E-Space SAS. He is responsible for overseeing the daily business activities in the country with a focus on establishing the ‘satellite factory of the future’ in Toulouse, France; driving regional business development efforts across defense and commercial opportunities; and executing the E-Space strategic vision.