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World Satellite Business Week – Day 4

Walking around the Westin this morning there were a lot of bleary eyes after the incredible Gala Dinner to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the World Satellite Business Week event. There was delicious food, fantastic entertainment, awards and surprises aplenty, as well as some interesting shapes being thrown on the dance floor, John Clifton I’m looking at you.

Even though I am sure there were a fair few sore heads and aching feet this morning, you wouldn’t know it given the enthusiasm you could feel for the first day of the Earth Observation focused portion of the event.

After a market presentation from Euroconsult’s COO, Steve Bochinger, followed up with an interview with the Undersecretary for Communications and Information Technology for Oman, Ali Amur Al-Shidhani, the day kicked off with a great session with some of the leading operators in the sector discussing their growth strategies for the future.

There were further sessions focusing on how the earth observation will be instrumental in guiding international action on climate change, how ground system as a service solution will create value for the EO sector and how cloud platforms will revolutionise the way we apply analytics and big data solutions to EO data but, unfortunately, after this it was time for the neuco team to get ready to return home.

Thanks so much to the team at Euroconsult, and especially to Emeline Bardoux, for inviting us along and for putting on what seems to be universally agreed to be the best show in the 25 years history of WSBW. Here’s to the next 25!

World Satellite Business Week – Day 3

As we reach the middle point of WSBW, smallsats and space exploration have become the topics of the day.

Smallsat manufacturers GomSpace, SSTL, Aerospacelab, Millenium Space Systems, Terran Orbital and Hemeria took to the stage to discuss everything from how current and future supply chain issues will impact their business, whether vertical integration is the path to follow, and whether having a key prime partner, such as SSTL’s relationship with Airbus or Terran’s with Lockheed, could be a key to success and longevity. 

As space exploration once again is brought to the forefront of the public’s attention with the upcoming Artemis programme and the push towards Mars, 4 key space agencies (NASA, ESA, Australia and Luxembourg) graced the stage to discuss the importance of private company participation in the future of space exploration, spoiler, not only is public-private cooperation important but fundamental to its success. It was also exciting to have confirmation from Jim Free, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Exploration, that there will be a further Artemis 1 launch attempt on the 27th of September.

It was also great to have a rebuttal to the doom and gloom we have been hearing about investment drying up in the industry from the VC community today with Seraphim Capital, Voyager and Karista discussing the space business from their perspective. The entire panel agreed that, far from drying out, investment into the industry is still at extremely high levels, with many funding rounds still oversubscribed, albeit slower than in previous years.

Given the current geopolitical situation and recent specific attacks on European Satcom infrastructure, another hugely important conversation surrounding secure connectivity in Europe took place today with involvement from the European Commission, ESA, EUSPA and the EDA. Catherine Kavvada from the EC reminded us that, although the concept of the need for secure connectivity pre-dates the invasion of Ukraine, the war has helped shape a consensus on the way forward.

Now, we look forward to the remaining days of the event where Earth Observation gets its chance in the hot seat.

World Satellite Business Week – Day 2

While NewSpace has, of course, been a topic on the tips of most tongues this year, it’s been the traditional Satellite world that brought out the biggest crowds on day 2 of World Satellite Business Week. 

What was, quite rightly, tipped as the most anticipated talk of the event certainly didn’t disappoint! CEOs from Eutelsat, Telesat, Intelsat, SES and ViaSat took to the stage to discuss the future for global satellite operators. 

I’m not sure I can even do a summary justice given how much information was shared, however, there were certainly a number of highlights to mention. 

Eutelsat CEO, Eva Berneke, talked about the capabilities of the newly launched Konnect VHTS satellite describing it as “an asset that will address the digital divide across 60 countries of Europe and Africa”. 

SES Satellites CEO, Steve Collar, addressed the future of direct to handset solutions saying “clearly satellite access to mobile is a potential huge part of satellite going mainstream” which he sees as hugely important for the future of operators, and the industry as a whole. 

Intelsat’s new CEO, David Wajsgras, gave some positive updates on Intelsat post chapter 11 and confirmed that this is “the first time in over a decade that Intelsat has seen a growth profile” and is expected to see “growth this year compared to 2021”. 

Viasat Inc. CEO, Mark Dankberg, confirmed that Viasat 3 is still progressing well towards launch with the satellite close to being fully integrated and that the proposed Inmarsat acquisition is just waiting for regulatory approval, and they should know soon “whether it will close this calendar year or next”. 

And last, but certainly not least, Telesat CEO, Dan Goldberg, confirmed that their LEO offering, Lightspeed, will happen despite delays as “supply chain issues have impacted the delivery” of the platform and that confidence in the success of the platform is incredibly high within the business. 

It’s great to see so many developments coming from the traditional industry showing that, far from being left behind by the NewSpace industry, they’ve shown they are more than up to the challenge the future brings. Bring on day 3!

World Satellite Business Week – Paris

What a treat to be back in Paris for the World Satellite Business Week at the fabulous Westin Hotel! And even better to be invited as a media partner of EuroConsult.

This year has been a sellout event with over 1200 attendees from 50 countries, 95 sponsors and 230 speakers, making it the best attended show in it’s 25 year history.

We have already been treated to some fascinating talks on day one with a diverse range of topics from connecting the unconnected, the future of optical communications, what Comsat manufactures need to do to stay relevant and the important part that service providers still have to play in breaking down the digital divide.

One of the standout sessions of the day, especially given the recent announcement surrounding their conjoined future, was a discussion around the future of satellite connectivity by the CEOs from Eutelsat, Eva Berneke, and OneWeb, Neil Masterson. Eva described the proposed merger as “a natural step” and that “GEO and LEO will be a much stronger proposition” and Neil adding that the “market opportunity is significant” and that their technologies are “highly complimentary”. 

From a selfish perspective, it has also been great to see the issue of where the next generation of industry talent will come from, with hiring problems and a lack of talent being topics of interest across a few different panels. Chirag Parikh from the National Space Council asked the question of “How do we get more skilled people into the sector?”, a question that, given the fact it has been brought up in multiple discussions, has no easy answer it seems.