GovSat is the brand of LuxGovSat, S.A, a joint venture between the Luxembourg government and Satellite Operator SES. The company is headquartered in Luxembourg and is operating the SES-16/GovSat-1 satellite. The spacecraft was built by OrbitalATK (Northrop Grumman) with the goal to provide secure, reliable and accessible governmental satellite communication services to address the demand resulting from defense and civilian security applications. Among the customers is the Belgian Navy’s Godetia command ship missions and NATO (NSPA).  GovSat supports missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Mali, as well as NATO Allied Command Operations in other Middle-East operations.

The SES-16/GovSat-1 satellite was built on Orbital’s GEOStar-3 bus and is positioned at 21.5° East after it was launched in January 2018 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket operated by SpaceX. The satellite entered operational service on March 19th, 2018 and is now operated from Secure Mission Operations Center in Luxembourg. 

The satellite project was financed with 100 million euros (123 million USD) invested in a 50/50 shareholder arrangement between Satellite Operator SES and the Luxembourg government, plus a 125-million-euro (154 million USD) loan from a consortium of Luxembourg banks. The startup investments and loan are covering LuxGovSat’s founding costs, the procurement of the GovSat 1 spacecraft and its launch on a SpaceX’Falcon 9 rocket.

Company History

LuxGovSat was set up in February 2015, when ESA and an SES-led European consortium agreed to join forces to set up a new platform that will make secure and affordable satcoms available to public users, as part of a Europe-wide push to help governments get the most out of existing systems and services. EU governments often required access to commercial satcom networks at short notice, to provide disaster relief or crisismanagement. 

To help solve this problem, Satellite Operator SES, together with industrial partners Redu Space Services, GovSat, Newtec, QinetiQ and Tekever, have joined ESA’s GovSatCom Precursor program to develop a new ‘system of systems’ for governments. With the founding of the company an order was placed with US manufacturer Orbital ATK (Northrop Grumman) for a satellite as part of an effort to fulfil international defense spending obligations.

On January 31st, 2018 the company launched its first satellite, SES-16/GovSat-1 on a Falcon 9 rocket operated by SpaceX from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA. The satellite went operational on March 18th in that year.

In May 2022 the company was accredited ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, confirming that GovSat has secure business processes and systems, as well as information riskmanagement processes.

In 2022 LuxGovSat ended with a new loss of 1.7 million euro, adding to the 46 million euro it has already lost since its creation in 2016.

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Resources  edition February 16th, 2015  edition February 16th, 2015  edition June 2nd, 2023

Satellite fleet by GovSat

SES-16/GovSat-1 at 21.5° East