South Korean CONTEC, a specialist in the design, development and integration of ground systems in space and defence applications, recently announced it raised approximately $11 million from top banks and VC investors for its series B investment round. The company is benefiting from its European HQ in Luxembourg to seek new business partners in the EU.
A spin-off from Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), company CONTEC offers space ground station services, satellite image processing and application services as well as a whole ground integration solution. In 2019, the company established its European headquarters in Luxembourg.
Boosting space data use
The recent $11 million investment will be used for developing additional ground stations to be built in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia in the next two years. CONTEC also plans to increase its global business in the field of satellite image application services and developments for FSO (free space optical) ground stations.
As the commercial space sector is booming with an increasing number of small satellites being launched into orbit by private operators, the demand for the accurate image positioning provided by CONTEC technology is growing strongly. The company’s vision is to collect valuable data such as images, environmental data and resources information together with satellite data suppliers across the world, and apply it to application platforms that can be provided as a service to customers. Potential clients include space agencies, universities, research organisations and private companies.
Open for European business partners
The series B funding will make it possible for CONTEC to build its first ground station in Europe. “Our plan is to set it up in Finland in 2022,” says CEO Dr Sunghee Lee. The company is now looking for business partners in the EU to develop the ground station and to set up R&D partnerships.
Partnership or sales discussions in the EU market have become much easier since we opened our Luxembourg office.
Since opening its European HQ, CONTEC has signed a partnership agreement with Spacety, another Luxembourg-based company providing a secured synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) data platform that integrates earth data to enable innovative applications and solutions. “Partnership or sales discussions in the EU market have become much easier since we opened our Luxembourg office,” Dr Lee points out. “We are located in a neutral centre in the heart of Europe.”
The company also has a cooperation agreement with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg. The intention is to conduct an interdisciplinary research project combining artificial intelligence and space technology. “Thanks to our collaboration with the excellent researchers of the SnT, we hope to be able to join European Space Agency (ESA) projects.”
New space opportunities
Cooperation with ESA as well as the Luxembourg Space Agency is high on the agenda of the young company that is also interested in the space fund set up in Luxembourg. “As a spin-off from government-backed KARI, which plays the role of space agency in South Korea, we want to promote the mutual relationships between Korea and Luxembourg for space industry cooperation,” Dr Lee concludes.
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