Polish company to build satellite for Oman

2022-02-10 15:09 update: 2022-02-12, 15:31
Photo PAP/EPA/ESA/Arianespace
Photo PAP/EPA/ESA/Arianespace
SatRevolution, a Polish company based in Wroclaw, southwestern Poland, has been commissioned by Oman to design and build a satellite that will travel to, for example, the Moon, Mars or Venus, SatRevolution CEO Grzegorz Zwolinski told PAP.

A preliminary agreement between SatRevolution and Oman was signed a few days ago. "Within 30 days, we have to present proposals to specialists from the University of Muscat and then together determine the final path in which the satellite is to travel," said the SatRevolution CEO.
He added that an executive contract will be signed in the next three months. When asked about the value of the contract, he said the final amount depends on the destination the object is to reach.

Collaboration with billionaire Richard Branson

This is not SatRevolution's first contract with Oman. Last year, the company signed a contract to build a satellite that will penetrate the low orbit around the Earth. According to the company's plans, the satellite is ready and will most likely be launched from the UK this summer. The operation will be carried out jointly with Virgin Orbit, owned by billionaire Richard Branson, which specialises in delivering commercial, civil, national and international satellites into orbit. Ultimately, the installation of satellites for Oman in the low orbit will consist of a dozen or so objects using technologies that ensure the possibility of 24-hour Earth observation.

Why does Oman need so many satellites?

Zwolinski said that Oman is currently a rapidly developing country that wants to invest in the latest space research and technologies. In addition, he added, Oman's new economic strategy envisages that the data obtained from satellites will become another important source of Oman's revenues in the coming years, apart from energy resources. "Data is the oil of the modern world," Zwolinski noted.

He added that information obtained from satellites is a valuable commodity, including for the agricultural, insurance, logistics, mining and distribution sectors. "Satellite images allow, among others, to monitor the condition of sensitive infrastructure and quickly react, for example, to leaks from pipelines, predict agricultural yields and market prices, as well as disasters such as landslides or volcanic eruptions," he said. 

Citing the calculations of Euroconsult (a global company dealing with market analysis, including in the space sector and satellite divisions), he added that by 2026 the total value of the global market for satellite imagery services could reach USD 140 billion.

The objects designed and manufactured in Wroclaw are so-called nanosatellites, built of modules slightly larger than a Rubik cube and weighing from 1 to 10 kg. "The one that is to go into deep space must be larger and more protected against cosmic radiation than objects moving in low orbit around the Earth," Zwolinski explained. He added that it is much more difficult and the number of companies that can do this is limited. "These are mainly large corporations, known from headlines, such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus or HBO."

SatRevolution was founded in Poland in 2016, it specialises in the design, production and operation of satellites as well as data analytics and provides a real-time Earth observation. Its goal is to become the world's largest operator of satellites for observing the terrestrial globe. The company has a factory in Wroclaw and employs approx. 65 people.

The Polish space industry

According to the data of the Ministry of Development and Technology (MRiT), there are about 40-50 companies operating in the space industry in Poland, of which five or six are counted on the international market. Minister Piotr Nowak, in an interview with PAP, indicated that the space sector is currently one of the fastest growing industries in the world. "In 10-15 years, the so-called low orbit will be developing a new economy related to, among others, the provision of various types of services on Earth," he said. In the opinion of the head of MRiT, within a dozen or so years, the Polish space sector may become one of Poland's best known sectors on international markets.

The Polish Space Agency coordinates all space industry activities in Poland, its role includes establishing relationships with leading industry players in Europe and the USA. According to Bank of America estimates, the global space sector will be worth around USD 1.5 trillion within 10 years. (PAP)