Mission accomplished! On 31 January 2018, Luxembourg launched the GovSat-1 communication satellite with a reusable Falcon9 rocket from the US company SpaceX. The launch took place at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the federal US state of Florida. Some 32 minutes after the launch of the rocket, the deployment of the satellite was confirmed. The impressive launch was followed on site by TRH the hereditary grand ducal couple, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and the Minister for the Economy, Étienne Schneider.
GovSat's task is to offer safe, reliable satellite communication capacity for military and civilian purposes, to meet growing demand from institutions and the defence sector. While part of the capacity of the GovSat satellite will be used to meet the Grand Duchy's needs in terms of satellite communication using military frequencies, it is intended that its remaining communication capacity will be sold on to allied and partner countries and to international organisations (including NATO and the EU).
The satellite is being operated by GovSat, a public-private joint venture created in 2015 by the Luxembourg State and SES, the world's leading satellite operator, which has its headquarters in Betzdorf (L).
The project enables the Grand Duchy to fulfil its obligations of contribution in terms of defence, with the added advantage that it also creates economic value and jobs. The project is also part of the efforts to modernise the Grand Duchy's defence sector, promoting the development of specific competencies in the satellite field based on the space know-how that is already well-established in the Grand Duchy.
(Source: Press release from the Information and Press Service)