[Via Satellite 10-16-2015] GMV is one of the leading suppliers of satellite ground segment equipment. The company has a strong presence in both institutional and commercial space, with more than 30 telecom satellite operators relying on its systems to support their satellite fleets, and major European programs such as Galileo, Copernicus and ExoMars employing its technology.
Today, 218 telecommunication spacecraft launched or to be launched use GMV technology for control. In an interview with Via Satellite, GMV Executive Director Miguel Angel Molina described the progress the company has made in expanding internationally, developing new technology and exploring new markets.
Via Satellite: How has business been for GMV in the space industry this year?
Molina: This year is going particularly well with the development of GMV subsidiaries and we are seeing that the investment effort is generating considerable growth in our newer subsidiaries in France, Germany, Poland, Romania and the U.K.
Via Satellite: GMV opened an office in Poland not too long ago. What new opportunities do you see there?
Molina: Poland is a fantastic country with plenty of opportunities and our people there are doing a terrific job. We established a GMV subsidiary in Poland in 2008 and now we have a permanent staff of more than 60 people.
GMV’s focus in Poland is in two markets: transportation, through our offer of intelligent fleet management systems; and space, where we develop space and ground segment technologies mainly for European Space Agency (ESA) programs. In fact, the development of space in Poland started at the occasion of Poland joining the ESA and making a significant contribution during the Ministerial Council of 2012. That was a reflection of Poland’s strategy of investing in space technology, particularly in the domains of Earth Observation (EO), technology, telecommunications, navigation, space surveillance and robotic exploration. We see opportunities in all those fields.
Via Satellite: Is GMV looking to expand elsewhere internationally?
Molina: GMV is going through a strategy for growth. This includes development of existing markets where GMV is present, among which space plays a predominant role. Nowadays GMV is present in 11 countries, and in most of them there is still plenty of room for growth. We are also seeking to expand the markets in which GMV is present. In pursuing our strategy of growth we keep our mind open to new ventures and countries while at the same time we consolidate ongoing efforts. Areas like the United States, Middle East, and Asia are today in our eyes as priority regions for expansion and consolidation of our business.
Via Satellite: GMV spends a significant amount in Research and Development (R&D). Do you have new technology you hope to bring to market soon?
Molina: GMV is a technology-oriented organization where almost 20 percent of our revenue in space corresponds to technology development programs, including R&D. This is very unique to our group of companies and represents our main competitive advantage. We invest a lot in developing technology for very different domains including rendezvous and docking, on-board guidance, navigation and control systems, satellite navigation, satellite control centers, space surveillance, data processing, security, software, etc. One specific area that we are pushing strongly is autonomy and robotics, where we are developing advanced robotics capabilities to serve other industries like oil and gas. As we mentioned before, the adaptation and improvement of our portfolio of ground segment products is also taking a part of this continuous R&D effort.
Via Satellite: Automation of satellite operations is a growing trend. What is GMV doing in the area of automation?
Molina: GMV has been developing satellite operations automation technology since the early 1990s. After 25 years of experience in the field we have developed numerous products and technologies to automate the satellite operations. Our solutions provide different degrees of automation to better adapt to the operations concept of the corresponding satellite operator; we are able to reach hands-off operations.
Today our technology is used, or will be used soon, by leading satellite operators such as Eutelsat, SES and Arabsat. As a matter of fact, most of the commercial satellite operators that use our technology include some degree of automation. We do not see such a similar use of automation in institutional satellite operators. Finally, on this area we are investing a big effort to expand the current automation concept when we are looking to the ground segment operations as a whole (including satellite, ground, human operators, etc.). New tools will be soon available in the market covering this new and improved automation concept.
Via Satellite: High Throughput Satellites (HTS) are also driving innovation across the industry. How is this affecting GMV?
Molina: Well, any application or service that is enlarging the capabilities of the telecom market will always help to maintain and increase the satellite telecom fleet, and this will help us because of our presence today in this market. As we mentioned before, more than 30 satellite operators are using today our solutions in ground segment, which by definition are designed to be multi-mission, multi-satellite and then ready to grow together with the new technical improvements. In addition to that, we are today in the market deploying tools for payload management in a large sense, including the payload configuration monitoring, fast reconfiguration, transponders capacity and power management, steerable antenna — then the new services and payload innovating concepts are also requiring some effort to adapt our tools.
Via Satellite: What new markets/opportunities is GMV pursuing today?
Molina: At present GMV is trying to develop new markets where our technology is applicable, such as robotics technology for the oil and gas industry. The European Union flagship programs, Galileo and Copernicus, are key to GMV as we see numerous opportunities in those two programs. Furthermore new commercial satellite operators are a potential growth vector. Space surveillance and tracking is also a domain where we expect significant growth, together with the possibility to deploy debris removal missions in the future. Orbital servicing is also an area of potential growth where we are also very active. Finally, we also see new opportunities in space exploration, including asteroids and lunar missions.
Via Satellite: In two years where do you envision GMV will be?
Molina: Our strategic plan focuses our efforts for the coming two years in growing the company, including progressing in the added value chain and consolidating GMV positioning as a ground segment developer and integrator; also consolidating GMV position as space segment provider and subsystem developer. Further development of the company in the commercial space market, including the applications (downstream) segment, is a priority to GMV. In summary, in two years we envision a stronger GMV able to address bigger challenges.
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