Antwerp Space selected to develop the Communication Subsystem for Ariel

Antwerp Space selected to develop the Communication Subsystem for Ariel

Antwerp, 28 July 2023


Antwerp Space, a subsidiary of the space and technology group OHB SE, and Airbus Defense and Space signed a contract for the development of the Communication Subsystem for the Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (Ariel) mission of the European Space Agency.

Ariel is the fourth medium-class mission in the Cosmic Vision program of the European Space Agency (ESA). This mission will observe hundreds of transiting exoplanets, measuring their chemical composition and thermal structure. This information is seen as crucial in understanding how the physics and chemistry of a planet are linked to the environment in which it is formed and the star around which it is orbiting. At the same time, this information could also support the quest to find out whether there is another planet like Earth somewhere else in the Universe. The mission is scheduled to be launched in 2029.

The Communication Subsystem under development at Antwerp Space ensures the communication link with Earth and enables the spacecraft commandability and observability during the complete four-year nominal mission and possible two-year extension. Ariel will operate at the second Lagrange point (L2) – 1.5 million kilometers from Earth – and this will bring several technical challenges.  “The Ariel Communication Subsystem is a reliable assembly of 6 main units – including transponders, high power amplifiers and antennas – and 35 components with a total mass of 15 kg. The subsystem provides redundant telemetry, tracking and command capabilities at X-band. It transmits an RF power of 10 W and supports data downlink at symbol rates up to 10 Msps.“ says Hugues Vasseur, Lead Engineer for this activity. Antwerp Space will be responsible for the design, development, manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing, verification, and qualification of the Communication Subsystem. The activities will take place at the company’s main site in Hoboken.

Antwerp Space’s heritage and capability in the Communication domain were recently demonstrated in the JUICE Mission for which the company delivered the Communication Subsystem as well. Koen Puimège, Managing Director at Antwerp Space: “The renewed collaboration between ESA, Airbus Defense and Space and Antwerp Space on the Ariel mission is therefore also a token of the reliable reputation that Antwerp Space has built within the industry. This collaboration will continue to strengthen in future missions and leverage the internal developments in Antwerp Space of unique communication equipment, such as the newly developed X-band Transponder.”


“Antwerp Space acknowledges that this activity is part of the Ariel ESA mission and this Contract is carried out and funded by the European Space Agency. The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.”

JUICE will communicate with Earth with Antwerp Space technology

JUICE will communicate with Earth with Antwerp Space technology

Antwerp, 13 April 2023 – European Space Agency will be launching Juice to observe Jupiter and its three large ocean-bearing moons

The JUICE mission is the first large-scale mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. JUICE will spend three-and-a-half years examining Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere, enormous magnetosphere, set of tenuous dark rings and satellites. It will study the large icy moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto, which are thought to have oceans of liquid water beneath their frozen crusts – perhaps even harboring habitable environments. The mission will culminate in an eight-month tour around Ganymede and end with the probe’s planned impact on the moon’s surface in 2034. It will be the first spacecraft to orbit a moon other than our own – Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede. En route to Jupiter, it is expected to perform the first-ever lunar-Earth gravity assist, a maneuver aiming to save fuel.

Antwerp Space has carried out the complex development of the Communication Subsystem on behalf of the main contractor, Airbus Defence and Space. The Communication Subsystem will communicate with Earth during the eight-year mission journey and the four-year science phase. “This subsystem is an advanced RF assembly of 30 units and components, 20 m of coaxial cable and 30 m of the waveguide. It enables telecommand and housekeeping telemetry at X-band, scientific data download at Ka-band, one- and two-way ranging at X- and Ka-band and radio science experiments at Ka-band. The Communication Subsystem has been designed for the stringent requirements and harsh environment of the JUICE mission, optimized, analyzed, integrated and successfully tested by the Antwerp Space engineering team for four years.” says Hugues Vasseur, the Lead Engineer of Antwerp Space’s team.

Developing a communication subsystem for a mission such as JUICE requires strong space engineering knowledge and heritage. This system will enable communication on an average distance between Earth and Jupiter of approximately 800 million kilometers and needs to survive the extreme environmental conditions around Jupiter. The intense radiation around the planet and its moons can potentially destroy any piece of technology developed on Earth if not protected properly.

“I am very proud of the JUICE team and would like to thank Airbus Defence and Space and ESA for the valued and close collaboration. Once again, Antwerp Space has successfully demonstrated its capability to take full end-responsibility in the design of such a complex system,” says Koen Puimège, Managing Director of Antwerp Space.

Antwerp Space Galileo FOC TUR-P (Test User Receiver for PRS) successfully completes major Galileo end-to-end test campaign

The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully completed the end-to-end test thanks to Antwerp Space FOC TUR-P Galileo system tool. 

For the first time, end-to-end testing of the Galileo system showed signal acquisition of the Full Operational Capability version of the Public Regulated Service (PRS), the most secure and robust class of Galileo services. This test involved three centres across Europe: the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre in Spain, the Galileo Control Centre in Germany and ESTEC in the Netherlands hosting an actual Galileo satellite, which then broadcast the signal, to be picked up by a Galileo PRS Test user tool, developed by Antwerp Space under ESA contract for Galileo system testing activities.

The first version of the PRS signal has been broadcast by the satellites up to now, but in the next years the signals will evolve into an enhanced version known as Full Operational Capability Public Regulated Service (FOC PRS), which has been defined in close collaboration with the European Commission, The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and the EU member States.

The Antwerp Space FOC TUR-P Galileo system tool supports future Galileo PRS evolutions and allows deep analysis of the PRS signals, supporting features beyond those included in PRS operational user receivers. This state-of-the-art instrumentation tool addresses the needs of ESA for testing, monitoring and simulation of current and future PRS signals. Antwerp Space will deliver more test tools to ESA and Thales Alenia Space to support live signal testing.

The awarding of the FOC TUR-P contract is an important milestone for Antwerp Space. “We are honoured that Antwerp Space has achieved this milestone successfully. This allows ESA and the EU to guarantee the availability and the accuracy of Galileo PRS to public safety and security, critical infrastructures, and defence users. This project is at the heart of our ambition to become the leader in the development and delivery of high end PRS equipment.” said Koen Puimège, Antwerp Space Managing Director.

Oana van der Togt appointed to lead the Business Development division of Antwerp Space N.V.

Oana van der Togt appointed to lead the Business Development division of Antwerp Space N.V.

Following the Company’s strong growth

Oana van der Togt has been appointed to lead the Business Development division of Antwerp Space N.V., effective December 5th 2022.

“Following a company’s strategic decision in 2018 to diversify into 5 different application domains by leveraging its core competencies in high-frequency RF and signal processing, many business opportunities in satellite communications, navigation, spectrum monitoring and radar applications, as well as RF scientific instruments for exploration missions have been achieved. This appointment is therefore a logical next step to strengthen the team to continue the success story of Antwerp Space in the coming years,” says Managing Director Koen Puimège.

Oana van der Togt has been working in the high-tech industry for over 15 years, with a focus on the space industry for the last 6 years. She held positions in project management, program management, business development and account management before joining Antwerp Space in 2022 as Head of Business Development. In her previous positions, she was responsible for strategy development, implementation of roadmaps and sales and marketing activities towards ESA and NASA.

“I am looking forward to this new challenge and I am proud to lead Antwerp Space’s business development activities and the fantastic team behind it. I am convinced that we will achieve our ambition to grow the company further and contribute to the future success of the OHB group”, says Oana van der Togt.


About Antwerp Space:

Antwerp Space, a member of the OHB Group and belonging to OHB’s Space Systems Business Unit, develops systems and equipment for European space programs and commercial space applications worldwide. Antwerp Space provides expertise and system solutions for broadband access systems via satellites, navigation- and radar solutions and products for scientific, exploration and telecommunication missions.



Contact Antwerp Space:

Mai Vu
Corporate Communications
phone: +32 (0) 3 829 50 46


Contact OHB:

Günther Hörbst
Corporate Communications
phone: +49 (0) 421 2020 620

International TT&C Workshop, Noordwijk

International TT&C Workshop, Noordwijk

The 9th TT&C International Workshop will be held from 28th November to the 1st December 2022 at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk.

Fantastic Transponders and where to find them. Dave Geerardyn, Teamleader RF, Electronics and Photonics at Antwerp Space, will describe how the TT&C X-band Transponder was conceived as part of a product family, how it grew from this conceptual idea to a representative Elegant Breadboard (EBB), a fully-functioning Engineering Model (EM), towards the Engineering Qualification Model, and ultimately Flight Model. An overview of the product development cycles (and the latest status) will be presented, clarifying how the different sub-elements were derived and ultimately constitute our baseline X-band Transponder.

Additionally, it will include measurements results and achieved key performance parameters of both the EBB and the EM. These measurements have proven that the design is extremely performant, remains highly flexible, and has a lot of potential for future expansions.

Meet our TT&C team at 9th TTC 2022 (

EPIC Meeting on Photonics at the Final Frontier at ESA

EPIC Meeting on Photonics at the Final Frontier at ESA

Photonics is gaining a key enabling technology in Space engineering.

Right now, 14 September 2022 at 10.30am at ESA in Noordwijk, Hakimeh Mohammadhosseini, Technical Lead at Antwerp Space, is talking about the Photonic Integration for Satellite Applications.

The purpose of this event, is to critically review the main and most promising emerging technologies addressing new Space applications.

Switch to Space 3

Switch to Space 3

The largest event in Belgium dedicated to students and young professionals interested in developing careers in the space sector

We are proud to announce that Antwerp Space renews her partnership with Switch to Space. Antwerp Space will be one of the twenty participating professionals at the Switch to Space 3 Conference in Brussels.
It will be an exciting conference with plenary sessions, 7 engaging topics and interesting 1:1 speed dating meetings.

This afternoon “19 October” 14:30-16:30 CET, Mattias Genbrugge “Project Manager at Antwerp Space” will speak about How Radio Wave technology, Boiled Eggs and the Inner Structure of Mars are Related.

Register now Switch to space

International Conference on Space Optics 2022, Croatia

International Conference on Space Optics 2022, Croatia

The ICSO 2022 is the 14th edition of the largest meeting worldwide of experts working in all disciplines of Optical and Photonic Technologies for Space Applications.

Antwerp Space will participate in the International Conference on Space Optics! #ICSO2022 will be held 3-7 October 2022 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Our colleague and #photonics expert Hakimeh Mohammadhosseini will be part of the Programme Committee 👏
She is also coordinating the Young Space Optics Professionals group.
Feel free to join this group:
We hope to see you all at the #ICSO2022 ! 🚀

73rd International Astronautical Congress, Paris

73rd International Astronautical Congress, Paris

World's premier global space event

Antwerp Space will be present at the 73rd edition of the International Astronautical Congress, which takes place from 18-22 September at the Paris Convention Center. The Hosting Organization is the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), a member of IAF since 1981. Paris hosted the first IAC ever in 1950, then in 1963 and lastly in 1982 and now will be holding the record of the city with most IACs hosted.

With the theme Space for @ll, this IAC is an outstanding occasion to bring together all space communities, alongside the burgeoning global ecosystem and start-ups, entrepreneurs, laboratories, research scientists and manufacturers that could get involved in space activities or benefit from them. Special attention will be paid to students and young professionals, who will be closely associated through dedicated events.

On Wednesday 21st September, from 4pm to 6pm, there is a Belgian Space drink at the Belgian booth E3.

Come visit us at the Belgian booth E3!

For more information, go to Programme – IAC 2022