UAE satellite operator, Thuraya, and ELSE SA, a Swiss new space start-up, have signed a memorandum of understanding paving the way for a strategic alliance.
The agreement will allow both companies to collaborate and benefit from each other's capabilities on multiple fronts including technical, regulatory as well as sales and marketing.
From a commercial perspective, the agreement between Thuraya and ELSE extends their product and service portfolios considerably besides facilitating expedited access to the market.
Thuraya's chief strategy officer, Jassem Nasser, said: "This agreement forms the foundation of an extensive framework and an exciting long-term collaboration towards providing a progressive platform for our partners to offer services beyond basic satellite connectivity. Futura, our future plan encompasses three main pillars, one of which is 'New Wave' services for M2M and IoT applications. Our alliance with ELSE serves as a building block for the development of this component of FUTURA and further reaffirms our commitment in building value through partnerships."
The ELSE team has supported more than 10 European Space Agency (ESA) missions, seven nanosatellite missions and is building a network of low-earth-orbit (LEO) nanosatellites named Astrocast that will provide cost-effective IoT and machine-to-machine services to global enterprises. This mission is also supported by ESA through their ARTES program.
The first satellites are scheduled for launch by 2018, as a demonstration mission, with a plan to have a total of 64 satellites in orbit by 2021. Once fully operational, the constellation will provide remote monitoring, geolocation services, predictive maintenance and intelligent data gathering. The full scope of markets that will benefit from these capabilities will include retail, agriculture, automotive, utilities, maritime; oil and gas among others.
Fabien Jordan, co-founder and CEO of ELSE, said: "As an established company, Thuraya brings experience, skill and reputable legacy to the table. ELSE shall benefit greatly from their technology and distribution reach and we are very excited about the possibilities this alliance will create."