Microwave-scale satellites to democratize space

Ral married |

Madrid (EFE).- The average cost of a conventional satellite is around 500 million euros and its production and launch is only accessible to multinational companies, governments and space agencies -and in most cases alliances between them-.

Microwave-sized nanosatellites aim to democratize space, and industries that would never have considered accessing satellite solutions can now do so quickly and affordably.

A nanosatellite can be designed, manufactured and launched in a few months for around 1 million Euros; They can be launched from multiple spacecraft and rockets; They create constellations that allow rapid renewal or renewal, and their exponential growth has also multiplied the number of companies and administrations seeking this type of service.

These are the arguments defended by Rafael Jorda, the founder and president of OpenCosmos, who started the company eight years ago in the United Kingdom and today has offices in Barcelona, ​​Madrid and Cádiz with installations for integration and testing. Satellites in “white” or clean rooms and research centers are being made increasingly smaller to advance many electronic developments.

Rafael Jorda, founder and president of OpenCosmos. EFE / Ballesteros

Jorda, who will receive a business award from the Princess of Girona Foundation in the coming weeks, spoke to EFE about the “democratization” of access to space and how it can benefit society, the “new space”, technologies that are disruptive and innovative. Also passion, enthusiasm, talent, leadership and professionalism and human quality.

Satellites face humanity’s greatest challenges

The company manufactures and operates satellites and improves the collection of geo-seasonal data or telecommunications services with them, which its founder explained to address some of the biggest challenges facing humanity (climate change, efficient use of natural resources,). forecasting of natural disasters), but also improving connectivity in remote areas or facilitating the management of humanitarian aid.

It has already won competitions and developed projects for the European Commission, the United Kingdom, the European Space Agency (ESA) or the Generalitat of Catalonia (“Minute” nanosatellite for Earth observation).

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for the Junta de Andalucía (“Agapa” satellite for the Agriculture and Fisheries Management Agency of the Junta de Andalucía); or the Instituto Astrofísico de Canarias (“ALSIO-1” to identify environmental and climate risks and improve the use of natural resources).

Space satellite
Rafael Jorda, founder and president of OpenCosmo. EFE / Ballesteros

Majorcan Rafel Jordá points out that the success rate of the missions he has created is now 100 percent, and that the company has a portfolio of contracts to send eighteen nano-satellites worldwide for around 50 million euros. , contracts and, in his opinion, it will help to create quality employment and retain Spanish scientific talent.

The engineer reviews his passion for science and space since childhood; How he learned from his parents—both health professionals—that the margin of error should be close to zero; The space industry is undergoing a transformation “or revolution” thanks to nanosatellites and how a dream becomes a project and a project becomes an enterprise overcoming three major obstacles in this industry: very high technical complexity, strict regulation and high costs.

Among the most important and attractive lines of business in the future, Jorte refers to “total constellations” of satellites, capable of collecting data provided by hundreds of satellites and nanosatellites already orbiting the Earth – from different companies and governments. – Give them a new application and turn them into useful and practical information for many users and in different fields (marine, security, agriculture, fishing, environment or communication).

“The space industry has traditionally been accessible to very few,” Rafael Jorda told EFE, and he praised the “miniaturization” of satellites in the last decade, thanks to design processes and higher production, which made it possible to “democratize” space. Faster and cheaper, it doesn’t have to lead to any “enrichment” in his opinion.

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