SES supports EU LEO scheme
November 21, 2022
By Chris Forrester
On November 17th the EU and European Commission issued their political approval for investment in a €6 billion proposal for a fleet of up to 170 low Earth orbiting satellites for broadband system (IRIS²) serving Europe and beyond. SES has issued a supportive statement even though it might have to contribute its portion of a cost of some €3.6 billion – and perhaps more. The EU, subject to final approval, will invest around €2.4 billion part of which is likely to come from the European Space Agency which will use previously “unallocated” spending.
IRIS² stands for Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite.
The EU/EC agreement covers the 27-nation members of the Commission, plus the European Parliament. The final decision will come from a formal legal approval from the EU’s various political bodies.
An ESA meeting set for November 22nd – 23rd will see it review the project and solicit further support from its member states.
SES, Hispasat and Airbus, as well as Eutelsat and a number of other European business involved in space industry’s manufacturing sector, are also interested in participating.
SES, in a statement, said: “The IRIS² constellation that was disclosed [Nov 17] is a pivotal milestone to help determine Europe’s sovereign space strategy for the decades ahead. As a European company offering satellite-based content connectivity solutions since 1985, SES believes that Europe’s investment in a new secure satellite constellation is timely. As the leading global satellite operator who already operates a multi-orbit constellation, SES looks forward to the continued open dialogue between the European institutions and the space and satellite industry on how to find new innovative ways to jointly provide highly secured connectivity services already by 2024.”
The European Commission has already funded a modest €2 million study earlier this year in an attempt to quantify how the system might be used with an emphasis on how it might pay its way with a mix of commercial and governmental/military clients.