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Safran's space strategy: objective, leading equipment supplier!


In late 2021, Safran Electronics & Defense announced the creation of a new entity within the company: the Space Division. Under the leadership of Jean-Marie Bétermier, who is also CEO of Safran Data Systems, this consolidation of the Group's space activities is designed to make Safran an independent equipment supplier and leader in these markets. How? We explain more here.

Sky with stars

Since January 1, 2022, more than 1,100 employees worldwide working for our space businesses have been united under one entity, the Space Division, to serve a single ambition: to establish Safran as a key global equipment supplier independent of space contractors.

This is a reasonable ambition amid a context in which the scale of space projects is growing continuously worldwide: an explosion in the number of private stakeholders, a resumption of lunar missions, a proliferation of satellite constellations, an expansion of defense activities, growth of orbital services, etc. The sector is currently undergoing major changes, and Safran intends to confirm its position as a high-tech equipment supplier in its efforts to contribute to the sovereign control of space.

Adopting a global approach reinforced by strong local presence

Safran Electronics & Defense is already recognized for its expertise in cutting-edge products and services for instrumentation, launch vehicle data transmission and navigation, space and radio spectrum monitoring, and also ground stations for receiving data on Earth, plasma propulsion, optics and onboard time and inertial components for satellites, and atomic clocks, with the recent acquisition of Orolia.

The new approach of the new Space Department is to offer not a single solution, but rather a range of products and associated comprehensive services to all types of customers.

The Space Division's offering is aimed not only at the Group's historical customers such as space agencies (NASA, ESA, etc.) and systems integrators (Thales Alenia Space, ArianeGroup, Airbus Defence and Space, etc.), but also at all the players in the "New Space" sector, Blue Origin, Space X or Virgin Orbit. By offering standardized and customizable solutions and relying on the operational excellence of all the teams at all its subsidiaries' sites, the new Space Division hopes to attract these new private companies, which have very stringent requirements, particularly with regard to production and delivery times.

The Space Division, which is already represented in 40 countries and has three international subsidiaries, aims to establish an even more significant presence in the most strategic geographical areas, such as India, with the acquisition of Captronic Systems, and in the United States with Safran Data Systems US.

Encouraging synergies

The interactions and meetings between the various teams that make up the Space Division first began in September 2021, and have intensified during this first year of existence. The teams from Safran Data Systems, Safran Reosc, Safran Electronics & Defense and the Vernon site of Safran Aircraft Engines, which will become Safran Spacecraft Propulsion on October 1,2022, were quick to get to know one other, bringing out the first commercial and technical synergies that will enable the Group to enhance its offering yet further.

For example, Safran Data Systems teams with expertise in radio frequency are now working closely with Safran Electronics & Defense and Safran Reosc teams in Saint-Pierre-du-Perray on optical ground stations for very high-speed optical communications. In the same vein, Safran Electronics & Defense in Valencia and Safran Spacecraft Propulsion in Vernon are already working together to develop a complete plasma propulsion system (EPS), including the PPS®X00 plasma thruster, the latest addition to the Hall-effect engine family.

Our message, our approach and our offering have been well received, as shown by the recent orders from Blue Origin, KSAT, Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), SkyPerfect JSAT and Contec. They show that the market is heading in the right direction, and that we are doing well. We must now accelerate technical synergies and achieve commercial synergies, thanks in particular to a new organizational structure that will be put in place by the end of the year.
Jean-Marie Bétermier, head of the Space Division at Safran Electronics & Defense and CEO of Safran Data Systems