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Poland’s Thorium Space to boldly go

Poland’s Thorium Space is becoming a leading light in the European space industry.

In mid-November, Poland officially joined the European Space Agency’s (ESA) optional programs and on November 30, the Polish firm Thorium Space was added to the HummingSAT program – a new product line of European small telecommunications satellites for geostationary orbit (GEO).

“Thorium is participating in a national telecommunications satellite project based entirely on Polish technological thinking, with co-financing from the ESA and other partners. The company has been recognized by the ESA as Mission Prime and for the first time ever will be responsible for building a Polish geostationary satellite. This is a very important, even groundbreaking step for Thorium and for the development of the space industry in Poland,” says Pawel Rymaszewski, CEO of Thorium Space.

“This project gives us the opportunity to define a completely Polish mission, which will enable the construction, integration, launch and operation of the satellite according to Polish needs. The start of work on this innovative project is a key moment for Thorium Space. I am already convinced that this will be a landmark mission for us and the entire Polish space ecosystem, not only providing such a critical resource as independent, secure satellite communications, but also entering the market of GEO telecommunications satellite manufacturers, with the most desired today digitally defined payload SmallGEO HTS,” Rymaszewski adds.

With Thorium Space joining the HummingSAT program, work on the all-Polish national telecommunications satellite Small GEO officially begins, with the company responsible for defining the requirements of the entire mission, including the design of the Small GEO satellite, as well as the development and construction of the all-digital telecommunications payload in the Ku/Ka band.

As part of the project, SwissTo12 is responsible for the customization, construction and delivery of the GEO satellite platform – developed through the HummingSAT program – on which Thorium Space telecommunications payload will be placed, collectively representing the latest generation of a new family of software-defined, small – weighing less than 1 ton – telecommunications satellites suitable for GEO launch.

The preliminary value of the entire project is estimated at around €75 million and the declared total ESA funding for the telecommunications payload alone, designed and built by Thorium Space, will be €8 million for the first A/B phase of the mission (the first two years) and €25 million for the C/D/E phase of the mission (the next three years).

“In the project, Thorium Space will work on a national, all-Polish telecommunications satellite with an innovative Thorium payload worth more than €35 million. This project is part of the Polish mission with the working name KryptonSAT,” says Ewa Polawska, Head of Communication at Thorium Space.

ESA Partnership is a program that provides the right environment for the satellite communications industry to bring innovative space solutions to the commercial market. The ESA already has in its portfolio implementation of several significant partnership projects under the Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program, covering various types of satellites – from large geostationary satellites to cubesats. These projects are of great importance to the development of the space industry, providing innovative solutions and supporting the competitiveness of the satellite telecommunications industry in Europe and Canada.

Jo Harper
Jo Harper
Jo Harper is a British national with a 20-year freelance journalistic career in Poland, Germany and the UK, writing for Deutsche Welle, Politico, the BBC, the Daily Mirror, Gazeta Wyborcza, Polityka, New Eastern Europe and Forbes. He is a published author of books on Polish affairs and holds a PhD from the London School of Economics.