Nieke Roos
25 June 2019

Satcom specialist Newtec is entering the Belgian space market. The company from Sint-Niklaas has announced that its Manufacturing Competence Center (MCC) in nearby Erpe-Mere was chosen by Qinetiq to provide the soldering of onboard electronics for two projects. From its site in Kruibeke, which it acquired when it bought Verhaert Space back in 2005 (link in Dutch), the British aerospace and defense firm selected the MCC due to the advantages of working with a partner in close proximity, including cost-effectiveness and convenience.

Under the agreement, Newtec will work on two initiatives: the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM) and the development of onboard computers for the next generation of satellites Qinetiq is planning to build. The IBDM, which is being developed together with the European Space Agency (ESA), will enable vehicles carrying cargo or passengers to dock softly at any space station with less force. The collaboration with Qinetiq will contribute towards Newtec’s ESA certification, which the company hopes to complete by 2020.

Newtec satellite terminals
Credit: Newtec

“Our partnership with Newtec has brought a number of benefits, including maximum cost-effectiveness and convenience due to the location being near our Space Center, which will prove particularly useful should any problems arise,” said Frank Preud’homme, Commercial Director at Qinetiq. “Over the years, Newtec’s MCC has proved itself to be more than competent in providing services to a number of different industries. We’re sure it will also see success in the space segment as it continues to expand.”

“Our work with Qinetiq is the beginning of a strong legacy we hope to create in the space industry in Belgium,” added Danny De Smet, responsible for business development at Newtec’s MCC. “We’re delighted that Qinetiq has entrusted us with these projects. They’ll showcase the skills we’ve honed throughout our work in other industries, including the industrial, avionics and military sectors.”

Founded in 1985, Newtec is specialized in designing, developing and manufacturing equipment and technologies for satellite, television and broadband internet communication. Recently, the company was acquired by Singapore Technologies Engineering for 250 million euros (link in Dutch). Newtec’s MCC has Factory of the Future status, the highest possible recognition for the manufacturing industry in Belgium, and works with a range of customers, including Thales and Panasonic.