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Aerospace supplier Simera Sense (ZA) sets up in Flanders

In response to a growing global demand for its optical payloads for small satellites, South African supplier Simera Sense has announced the opening of a new office in Leuven, Flanders. By expanding into the European market through Flanders, Simera Sense aims to better support its international customers while being closer to its key suppliers. “The support from Flanders Investment & Trade proved to be instrumental in realizing our expansion into Europe,” the company states in its press release.

European base

Simera Sense chose Flanders as a European base for its central location as well as the region’s local domain ecosystem. Not only is Simera Sense procuring its high-performance sensors from Flanders-based players, the company also has various local clients in the region. In partnership with Open Cosmos (UK), for example, Simera Sense was selected to be part of the Phi-Sat-2 mission, an AI-enabled Earth Observation CubeSat supported by the European Space Agency.

Initially, Simera Sense’s new office in Flanders will serve as a marketing and sales hub, but it will also support clients with the assembly, integration and testing of the company’s optical payloads.

“A logical choice”

Simera Sense is no stranger to Flanders. CEO Johann du Toit: “During the mid-2000s, a core part of the Simera team – then part of Sunspace – collaborated on the multi-sensor micro-satellite imager as part of a consortium of universities, private companies and research councils in both South Africa and Flanders.”

At Simera Sense, we are excited about the next phase of the company. For us, Flanders was a logical choice as an entry point into the European market, not only for its location, technology and economic advantages but also the historical relationships.

Johann du Toit
CEO of Simera Group

Part of a vibrant aerospace ecosystem

Claire Tillekaerts, CEO Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), welcomes the new high-tech investment from South Africa in Flanders:

The Simera Sense investment fits perfectly with our tech strategy to attract foreign tech-driven players to Flanders and become one of Europe’s top innovative regions in the next five years.

Claire Tillekaerts

“Simera Sense will be a valued partner of Flanders’ aerospace and space innovation ecosystem, which already includes over 150 companies in Flanders,” Claire Tillekaerts explains. “Through government agency Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the South African company will enjoy support in R&D projects and can, thanks to its local presence, become a lead partner in new EU or ESA projects.”

Tapping into great market potential

With its move, Simera Sense positions itself to tap into the global Earth Observation data and service market, which is expected to grow to an USD 8 billion by 2029. According to consulting and analyst firm Euroconsult, more than 50 new space companies have announced that they want to launch Earth observation satellites over the next decade. This represents about 1,800 small satellites, the majority of which will be lighter than 50 kg. According to Johann du Toit, the CEO of Simera Group, this is the market that Simera Sense seeks to target through their office in Flanders.

More info

Simera Sense
Reported by
Simera Sense press release
9 December 2020

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