Pioneering the Cosmos: Satellite CTOs Envision Tomorrow’s Technology Today

Day two of SATELLITE 2024 unfolded with industry-leading Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) from across the globe converging to discuss the revolutionary technologies reshaping the future of space and satellite operations. The discourse centered on innovations that promise to redefine the industry, from advanced materials to the integration of cloud computing in space.

The conversation was spearheaded by Intelsat’s CTO, Bruno Fromont, who emphasized the transformative potential of 3D printing and the increasing computational power available in space. “The chips are very close to what you get on the ground. We are looking to get more computing on board. Cloud computing will come into space. This is game-changing,” Fromont remarked.

Iridium’s CTO, Greg Pelton, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the infusion of commercial technology into orbit. He pointed to the Space Development Agency’s (SDA’s) investment in commercial technology as a pivotal shift, with government initiatives now leading the industry.

Ground Segment Breakthroughs

The dialogue also touched upon the ground segment, with Satcube’s CTO, Lukas Nyström, sharing his excitement about connectivity on the move. “We want the terminals to physically integrate into the roofs of cars… You need to use more advanced semiconductors. Game-changing technologies will be needed to make this kind of connectivity a reality,” Nyström explained.

Ovzon’s CTO, Kennet Lejnell, brought attention to new materials with superior strength, which could enable novel opportunities and structures in space, further pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

The Future of Direct-to-Device Communications

The CTOs also delved into the prospects for in-orbit technologies and direct-to-device (D2D) communications. While some were skeptical about the viability of in-orbit refueling, others, like Boeing Satellite Systems International’s CTO Rachelle Radpour, were optimistic about the D2D market. “D2D is not a new thing. But what is new is the collaboration between cellular and satellite players… With the expected profits, these issues will get solved,” Radpour stated.

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