Small GEO sats to create big impact: Emile de Rijk

Emile de Rijk’s argument on what small GEO sats can bring to a broadband-centric market is getting the attention of industry majors.
Vijaya Cherian, Editorial Director, SatellitePro ME.

Working in the space and satellite market often gives you greater opportunities to meet with visionaries. Last month, I had the privilege of interviewing one such luminary – Emile de Rijk, the CEO and founder of Swissto12. His journey, from the humble origins of a PhD student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) to founding a satellite company, is quite awe inspiring.

When he didn’t have enough funds to procure essential Radio Frequency (RF) components for his Magnetic Resonance research, de Rijk turned to the university’s 3D printing lab. The outcome was not just cost-effective RF solutions, but the start of a long and arduous but fulfilling journey that eventually led to starting Swissto12. He harnessed the power of additive manufacturing to engineer RF solutions for HTS communication applications. Today, that has culminated in the development of HummingSat – a small geostationary satellite poised to revolutionise the industry.

Unlike its MEO and LEO counterparts, HummingSat was conceived for the demanding GEO environment. Its compact design, around five times smaller than conventional GEO satellites, is a nod to the changing tides of investment in space technology.

We are at a period when many GEO sats are reaching their twilight years, but their respective companies who should be planning their next big GEO moves are reluctant to pledge huge investments when businesses are shifting from the more reliable broadcast-business model to the dynamic, yet less predictable, broadband-business model. This is where the small GEO satellite is offering hope and evidently, its potential has not gone unnoticed, with industry giants like Inmarsat already reserving three HummingSats.

On a different note, SatellitePro congratulates India, which made history last month as its Moon mission became the first to land in the lunar south pole region. Again – the work of visionaries.

One place where we are likely to meet more visionaries is IBC. The show is the perfect platform for new product launches and glimpses into future technologies. There’s a lot of anticipation for the upcoming month. Catch you at the show.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment