Verhaert Space win strengthens QinetiQ space business

15 Jun 2007

Belgian subsidiary partners with SES ASTRA to secure 10 year ESA ground station service contract

Verhaert Space, the leading Belgian space system operator acquired by QinetiQ in 2005, has secured a major long-term service agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) to maintain and operate the Redu satellite ground station in Belgium, in partnership with SES ASTRA, an SES company. The 10-year contract allows the partners to offer satellite and operations services to commercial customers, as well as providing services to ESA.

The activities conducted by the ESA Redu station comprise ground control and in-orbit testing of satellites for ESA missions. Verhaert Space and the SES ASTRA subsidiary, SES ASTRA TechCom, will provide maintenance and operations services to ESA at Redu. For this purpose a new joint Belgian company, Redu Space Services, has been created.

Ian Reid, Managing Director of QinetiQ's space division, welcoming the joint Verhaert/SES ASTRA success, said: "I am delighted that, with QinetiQ's support and longstanding heritage in satellite ground station operation, Verhaert and our partners in SES ASTRA have secured this important ESA managed service contract. It represents an important addition to the Verhaert/QinetiQ portfolio and is an excellent illustration of the synergies between the two companies. I am also very pleased that the Redu partnership represents the first significant coming together of the QinetiQ and SES groups. We look forward to developing that relationship further."

“The ESA contract is another important step in the development of our service offering for institutional and government customers”, said Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA. “It further strengthens our close relationship with QinetiQ and ESA and can enable us to position SES to be further involved in the Galileo project. It will also allow us to enhance the use of the ESA facilities by offering services to commercial third parties and to give significant impetus to the development of the Belgian space industry.”

“This agreement opens new growth possibilities for SES ASTRA and Verhaert Space and will support the efforts of the Belgian Government to build a global presence in the satellite sector”, said Pascal Rogiest, Managing Director of Redu Space Services. “We are confident that our joint technical expertise will provide strong support to existing and future ESA missions on the station, and that our commercial strengths will contribute to the development of new activities and business on the site, especially in-orbit testing, satellite operations, and telecommunications services.”

The services contract between ESA and Redu Space Services was awarded following a tender process started by ESA in November 2006. Redu Space Services will begin to operate the Redu station on 1 July 2007, taking over from the incumbent operator who has been in place for the last 25 years.

Verhaert Space is a Belgian space system integrator, based in Kruibeke, designing and building small satellites, cornerstone subsystems like the International Berthing and docking mechanism to interconnect large space craft, and scientific instruments for research in Space. Verhaert Space became a QinetiQ company in 2005. Verhaert Space has longterm partnership agreements with Verhaert New Products and Services, a specialist in industrial new product development.

SES ASTRA TechCom provides operational services, technical consultancy and high-tech products as well as integrated solutions to the satellite industry. The SES affiliate offers the technical expertise and experience of SES ASTRA to satellite manufacturers and operators as well as to broadcasters and public organisations.

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Verhaert Space win strengthens QinetiQ space business