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#SpaceWatchGL Column: Space for Business – Module 1 in St. Gallen – Day 5

A sleepy silence falls over most of the bus, as it ventures along the Swiss streets towards Zurich. Today, on the final day of module 1, we had the honor of visiting Thales Alenia Space and Beyond Gravity, formerly known as RUAG Space.

Thales Alenia Space is a Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer specializing in the space industry. It is the largest satellite manufacturer based in Europe. At Thales Alenia Space we had the chance to meet the CEO for Switzerland, Elisabetta Rugi Grond as she gave us an introduction of the company, thei operations and how this connects to innovation. Thales Alenia Space products help to develop business sectors. Their main focus is strongly connected to telecoms constellations.

With all this information we went on to meet the team from Beyond Gravity. “Beyond Gravity bundles its know-how and offering globally along functional competencies. Two program units for Launchers and Satellites are responsible for the management of large satellite and launch vehicle programs”. During a presentation about the company, where we were encouraged to ask even “the difficult questions”, we learnt about the transition from RUAG to Beyond Gravity as well as discussing the implemented “start-up mindset”. After the presentation we got a tour of some of the workspaces! We had the opportunity of seeing the chassis for a meteorological satellite under construction.

During the presentation the topics of challenges and trends for this sector were discussed, these included new procurement rules, satellite constellations, new billionaire investments, disruptive non space activities, system builders becoming operators and growing government protectionism.

My key takeaway for today was seeing just how complex the construction of a satellite is, even  the chassis alone has many compartments and each piece needs to be tested and optimized.

After a final lunch we all said goodbye, some of us heading home, others taking the weekend off to explore more of St. Gallon and surroundings. I look forward to catching up with this great group of people again soon.

Yesterday we got a glimpse of what our week in Portugal will be like – all I can say is stay tuned!



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