Americas Asia-Pacific EMEA



European Space Agency and ViaSat Partner to Stimulate Growth Across Europe’s Space Industry Ecosystem


April 28, 2016

The European Space Agency (ESA) and ViaSat Inc. announced a new pilot programme called the High Capacity Satellite Applications Factory Initiative (“the HCS Initiative”). This initiative will focus on accelerating Europe’s growth as a centre of excellence and innovation in the space industry through the rapid development of new HCS products, applications and services. 

A three-year multi-million euro project, the HCS Initiative involves the collaboration of ESA, Member States, industry, universities and ViaSat. The major goal of the HCS Initiative is to simplify and shorten the funding application process to reduce time-to-market for new products, applications and services that can contribute to, or benefit from, advanced HCS systems. The HCS Initiative expects to spur job creation and growth across the European space ecosystem by lowering barriers of entry for start-ups, Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and new market entrants, and give large corporations the ability to prosper in the established space industry, which is estimated to be worth over €500bn by 2030.  

To kick-off the HCS Initiative, ESA and three Member States: the UK, Switzerland and Belgium will provide €30m in funding, and ViaSat will introduce and manage an online portal, known as the Space Hub. This portal will provide a collaborative space for ESA, Member States and participating organisations to share knowledge and experience; identify potential partners and opportunities; and ultimately produce more effective HCS technologies, applications and services. Projects selected under the HCS Initiative will receive up to 50 percent funding, with assistance from ViaSat that could include technical support on proposal preparation and project execution, program management, test bandwidth and hardware support.   

Magali Vaissiere, ESA director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications commented, “Through ARTES Competitiveness and Growth (C&G), ESA provides broad support for the development and validation of technologies, products, applications and services to maintain and further improve the competitive position of industry of ESA Member States in the global market of satellite telecommunications. The ViaSat Applications Factory initiative is a clear example of how the ARTES Competitiveness & Growth programme can provide effective support to successfully develop products and applications. This initiative will help the ESA Member States and Industry to team up with ViaSat and to quickly integrate and demonstrate their products in the High Capacity Satellite ecosystem of ViaSat as well as across the wider Satcom market.” 

“High Capacity Satellites are a new breed of technology that is delivering ubiquitous, affordable broadband services to rival cable, fibre and terrestrial offerings. They also deliver services where terrestrial offerings simply cannot compete from hard-to-reach residential or business locations to providing in-flight internet. We believe the possibilities for how to connect people with High Capacity Satellites are endless,” said Keven Lippert, executive vice president, Space Systems and Corporate Development, ViaSat. “However to leverage the potential from High Capacity Satellite systems, we need constant innovation, fresh thinking and investment from across industry, academia and government. By partnering with ESA and others on the High Capacity Satellite Applications Factory Initiative, we are making a commitment to energise development and reduce time-to-market for new High Capacity Satellite technologies, applications and services across Europe.” 

ViaSat’s Commitment to Europe

ViaSat is a natural fit for the HCS Initiative, as the Company has led the global transformation in HCS satellite systems and services for nearly three decades. The HCS Initiative represents a key step in ViaSat’s ongoing commitment to bring HCS services to Europe. It comes in the wake of ViaSat’s recently announced joint venture with Eutelsat to provide residential and commercial high-speed satellite services across Europe and ViaSat’s announcement to deliver a dedicated ViaSat-3 class satellite, which will provide more than 1,000Gbps of total capacity over Europe, Middle East and Africa by 2020. 

Additional Supporting Quotes

“Satellite services are now a fundamental part of our interconnected global economy. The HCS Initiative represents a fresh approach designed to open up the innovation arena to new players enabling them to build real world solutions and bring them to the market quickly and effectively. This innovative ‘match making’ will bring the kind of dynamism and creativity to the development of technology, applications and services that should be tailor-made for those with an entrepreneurial approach. The initiative therefore has the real potential to drive economic growth and stimulate job creation and we look forward to seeing that positive impact in the UK economy.” – Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency 

“The momentum created through the HCS Initiative is an important and unique opportunity for budding enterprises beyond the space sector. In this collaboration with ESA and national delegations, ViaSat plays an important role of an enabler and catalyst. What was once a start-up seed in Switzerland has become part of a global enterprise that itself enables new ventures. I very much look forward to the economic growth that this initiative unlocks in Switzerland and Europe.” – Daniel Neuenschwander, head of the Swiss Space Office