Advanced Television

SES involved with UNIO consortium for IRIS2

March 6, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Unio Enterprise, made up of mostly German start-ups plus satellite giant SES, is officially preparing a bid for the proposed – and EU backed – B2B low Earth orbiting super-constellation.

However, two proposed demo satellites which were expected to be launched in the 2023-2024 time frame have slipped to 2025. The Unio consortium has previously stated that it could start building out the constellation during 2026 and opening up for commercial services during 2027.

Unio has employed a CEO (Katrin Bacic, the former chief strategy office at Wayra Germany, itself the investment arm of Telefonica) to ring the project together.

SES, however, is reportedly involved in other consortia also likely to be bidding for the EU contracts. SES announced its support of the UN:IO Enterprise back in September 2022, and Dr. Xavier Bertran, a member of the new company’s advisory board and SVP/EU Programmes of SES, commented: “At SES, we are excited to be part of a like-minded joint venture like UNIO, which is embracing innovation and targets a new growth area in the automotive sector. Innovating to grow our business is very much part of SES’s DNA. The investment in [EUIO] is also part of our ambition to revolutionise the use of satellite communications in Europe and more globally for new applications in the mobility industry and a sustainable future for society. To this end, the management team is currently being expanded at full speed, and the first rounds of financing have already been successfully completed.”

The EU has said that, with the European Space Agency, it would be issuing Requests for Proposals to European industry suppliers for IRIS2 shortly.

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