LONDON QinetiQ has purchased a 90% share of Verhaert Design and Development NV (VDD), the Belgian space systems integrator which is to renamed Verhaert Space NV. QinetiQ has an option to purchase the remaining 10% of shares at a later date.
Andrew Rogoyski, Managing Director of QinetiQ's Space Division, said, “With this deal QinetiQ and Verhaert have created a company that is well placed to bridge the gap that currently exists in the European space industry between the two biggest players and a multitude of smaller suppliers. By combining QinetiQ's expertise in space missions and technology with Verhaert's complementary capabilities in small satellites, spacecraft system integration, payloads and instrumentation we believe we can establish ourselves as the leading European mid-tier space company.”
QinetiQ already has a working relationship with Verhaert through the recently announced near-space UAV programme, Mercator, undertaken for a Flemish government customer.
Paul Verhaert, CEO of the Verhaert Group, said “By partnering with QinetiQ we can better exploit the market trend towards the provision of smaller, low cost, fast-to-launch satellites for government and commercial customers. Through QinetiQ we can also gain access to leading edge technologies that can deliver product innovations to Verhaert's client base.”
VDD will continue to operate autonomously under its existing management team, and will trade as Verhaert Space operating out of its premises in Antwerp. Three QinetiQ directors, John Braddell (Chief Operating Officer, Security & Dual Use), Mark Palethorpe (Financial Director, Security & Dual Use) and Andrew Rogoyski (Managing Director, Space Division) will join its board.
QinetiQ has a pedigree of space research, development and operations that goes back to the late 1950s. Current programmes include TopSat, the latest of QinetiQ's micro-satellites, due for launch in September, which provides high-resolution imaging capability at very low cost, together with GOCE and Alphabus, where QinetiQ is providing its world-class ion engines for use on these satellites.