Alessandro Modigliana grew up in Venice, got his master’s degree in Padua (Italy — with his final year in England) and currently lives in Spain where he works for the E-Space team. It’s not unusual in a global industry like satellite to have people with backgrounds like this, and for Modigliana it’s indicative of the breadth of experience he’s gained from the different companies he’s worked for over the years.
Like many of our employees, Modigliana says he came to E-Space for the unique challenge of helping create something entirely new. When he heard what Founder, Chairman and CEO Greg Wyler was planning with E-Space, he knew he wanted to join.
“You don’t want to get too comfortable doing the same thing, and the satellite industry can be rather conservative,” he says. “What I heard from Greg was a real vision and the willingness to take some risks to create something very disruptive.”
Modigliana was one of the first employees at E-Space, joining in January 2022, as a system architecture and modeling lead. With a strong background in satellite communications as well as telecom, he brings experience with advanced systems concepts that will be critical to the development of the E-Space technology. With teams working on the satellite spacecraft, payload, terminals, antennas, communications systems and other key components, Modigliana is in a unique position working across all of these groups to ensure the system is architected to fit together seamlessly.
The key to making this happen, he says, is the company’s focus on vertical integration.
“To truly innovate, you have to build everything from the ground up yourself,” he says. “Own your strategy and know the technology from A to Z — to truly optimize the system while at the same time owning all of the IP (intellectual property). Plus, if you’re truly innovating, no one else is going have what you need anyway — so you’re going to need to build it yourself.”
That approach, he says, is something seen in many successful companies.
“It’s how you move ahead of the status quo, by knowing your strengths and anticipating the future to be years ahead of the competition,” he says. “Also, having a strong vision that shows what you’re doing is how you bring on great talent and retain them.”
In the right place at E-Space
Modigliana has a career background that makes him ideally suited for his position at E-Space. After building a solid foundation in mathematics, physics and telecom systems during his undergrad years at the University of Padua, he spent six years in the telecom industry to put into practice most of the disciplines he studied. It was as he was finishing up his master’s degree at Essex University in England that he interviewed for his first job in the satellite industry, where he was part of a complex constellation project for the U.K. Ministry of Defence.
Staying with the company after that project’s completion, he moved to Toulouse, France — the homebase for E-Space in Europe. He since gained experience working on VSAT networks in C- and Ku-band, as well as becoming deeply involved with Ka-Band multi-beam satellites and mobile satellite networks. He took all of that experience in a different direction to work on advanced concepts at the Satellite Applications Catapult — a technology and research organization that enables non-satellite technology companies to create and commercialize innovative concepts and products into the satellite industry.
What led him to E-Space after that was both the appeal of the technology and the commercial nature of it.
“I was working on prototypes at Catapult, and I really wanted to get back into industry where you can see things deployed,” he says.
With E-Space, Modigliana says he’s particularly excited to work on a constellation that is so unique and so different from traditional systems.
“What E-Space is proposing is a fascinating concept compared to most satellites, which do one thing,” he says. “Here we have the opportunity to have not just individual satellites but multiple constellations working together to meet different end-user needs. By using a simpler design with many low-cost satellites, we can continuously augment the global system, and that’s pretty revolutionary.”
For Modigliana, being part of something new and groundbreaking is where he likes to be.
“I always want to stimulate my mind and use my imagination and technical skills to be part of something that will make a difference — both to industry and to humanity at large,” he says.
Now working primarily from his home in Spain, Modigliana gets to enjoy the flexibility associated with working remotely. He optimizes his time between work, family and friends — which includes an annual ski trip with the “Satcom Skiing” group comprised of friends from his early satellite career where they ski at some of the locations used in various James Bond films — including Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy and Murren, Switzerland.
“It’s a lot of fun, and it’s great to connect with those old colleagues from earlier in my career who have inspired me,” he says.