Aerospacelab, a Walloon company specializing in small satellites, officially launched its satellite "mega-factory" on Tuesday, 14 June.
Located in Charleroi, the plant will be able to manufacture two satellites per day, making approximately 500 satellites in one year. The factory should be operational in early 2025, according to an Aerospacelab press release.
The site will have 16,000 m2 workspace, including 3,000 m2 devoted to development laboratories. This will make it the largest factory of its kind in Europe and the third-largest in the world after Amazon and Space X. It will be built by Sambrinvest and will generate between 400 and 500 jobs.
"The Aerospacelab Megafactory project is the perfect illustration of the essential role a venture capital can play to vitalize our economy and ensure that Wallonia and Belgium stay at the forefront of technology in Europe and in the world,” Willy Borsus, Vice President of the Wallonia government.
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This Charleroi "mega-factory" follows one recently built near Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, capable of producing 24 satellites per year. Faced with the ever-growing demand for satellites, Benoît Depere, CEO and founder of Aerospacelab, launched this second location in Charleroi.
"We have set up an assembly line to create satellites at a lower cost but we remain attentive to the demands of our customers,” Depere said. “As a result, we have developed a recipe that optimizes the standardization and customization of satellites."
According to Euroconsult, by 2030 over 1,700 satellites worldwide are expected to be launched each year.