Celestia Antwerp marks 60 years in space technology

[Adapted version] Antwerp, 09 May 2022:  Celestia Antwerp, a leading European player in ground segment satellite communications, is marking 60 years in space technology in 2022, a year that sees the business come almost full circle in ground station activities.

The company has been at the forefront of innovation in ground segment technology, gathering knowledge and technical ability gained over 60 years in the industry, with its people being involved in numerous firsts in space activities.

Its prececessors took their first steps in the space industry in the early sixties as a division of the Bell Telephone Manufacturing Company, later known as Alcatel Bell, an Antwerp based business that belonged to the American ITT Corporation. 

Activities were just starting to be organised at a European level, with the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) and The European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO); Bell developed solar panel power conditioning equipment and a trailer based control and tracking station Down Range Guidance and Tracking Station (DRGS) for the Europa A launcher.

Between 1962 and 1966, scientists from Bell worked on one of the first ground stations to be developed in Europe.  State-of-the-art technology developed by the business was deployed in the ELDO Gove Down Range Guidance and Telemetry Station built at Gulkula on the Gove Peninsula in  Australia’s Northern Territory to track the downrange path of rockets launched from the RAAF Woomera Range Complex in South Australia.

With the creation of ESA in May 1975, Belgium was again a pioneering country with Belgian developed technology making a major contribution to the success of missions like Giotto, and the Ariane launcher. Bell took its business from subcontractor to prime contractor, supplying Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) for Spacelab; Tracking, Telemetry & Command (TTC) services for the CNES S-band ground stations network and flight equipment and payload EGSE for Olympus. The company earned a solid reputation amongst both institutional customers as well as in the commercial satellite communications market at large.  

Fast forward to the new millennium, and space technology has reached operational maturity with space becoming something of a commodity, with satellite TV, weather forecasting, disaster management, navigation and much more. 

The ground segment business has continued to grow and acquire know-how, joining the Alcatel Space group in 1998 and Alcatel Alenia Space in 2005.  In 2010, it became part of OHB AG, when it was known simply as Antwerp Space, before its ground segment satellite communications division was acquired by the pan-European Celestia Technologies Group in late 2019.

The business has been developing High Data Rate Receivers for over four decades now and its Omnisat modem for satellite payload data was ground-breaking when it was launched.  It remains a key part of today’s product portfolio. 

Other innovations include its TT&C modem IBB, which has evolved into a Virtual IBB with new features being added all the time. Celestia Antwerp has also launched a Sampler platform which meets current demands for virtual and cloud-based ground stations.

Other milestones have included successfully delivering the communication networks supporting the operation of the Galileo system; providing the ISS’ Columbus Lab EGSEs for European manned space flights; defining the EGSE for ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle as part of Europe’s support of the ISS as well as the MPCV EGSE for the Orion programme, and deploying a test system team to design, develop and manufacture the Payload Data and TTC Special Check-Out Equipment for Sitael for the new generation PLATiNO, all-electric multi-purpose small satellite platform.

“This year we are celebrating sixty years in space technology and a journey that has taken us from early pioneers to experts in ground segment satellite communications, with an unsurpassed reputation for technical excellence and innovation,” says Guy Van Dijck, Managing Director of Celestia Antwerp.

“Our team cut their teeth on ground station projects in the early days when the technologies in use were very much in their infancy, and we have grown in both stature and expertise having amassed extensive knowledge and capability. We have collaborated on missions and projects with institutional and commercial partners across the world with a successful track record spanning six decades.”

“Today, our business is one of the leading companies in Belgium working on some of the most prestigious, large-scale ground station integration projects in the industry.  With strong growth ambitions and a vision of continued success, we look forward to working with our customers, industrial partners and our talented team to make the next decade as big as the last six,” he adds.

More information about Celestia Antwerp is athttps://www.celestia-antwerp.be

Celestia Antwerp, Roderveldlaan 1 / bus 3, 2600 Berchem, Belgium. Tel: +32 3 303 94 50


Connect with us on LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/celestia-antwerp-bv


Media contacts: 

Celestia Technologies GroupSarah Pracey + 44 7985 112 777             spracey@celestia-tech.com

Celestia Antwerp    Guy Van Dijck +32 476 93 63 30                    guy.van_dijck@celestia-antwerp.be

Gazet van Antwerpen, the local newspaper, is reporting about the upcoming launch of the Orion module. This launch also has some European contributions which are focused on the ESM - the European Service Module. Celestia Antwerp is working on test systems for the MPCV (Multi purpose crew vehicle) since 2012. We are still cooperating with Airbus Defence and Space GmbH - Bremen in this interesting and challenging program. More information can be found in our mission page : https://www.celestia-antwerp.be/en/missions/multi-purpose-crew-vehicle-1

Celestia Antwerp will be present during the Paris Space Week. If you want to explore how we can support you with your Communication and Testing Challenges, please visit us or ask for an B2B appointment with Guy VAN DIJCK or Milo VAN RIEL.

Visit us at the Satellite 2022 in Washington
Celestia Antwerp will be present during Satellite 2022 in Washington. If you want to explore how we can support you with your Communication and Testing Challenges, please visit us or ask for an B2B appointment with Guy VAN DIJCK or Milo VAN RIEL.

March 29th, 2021

Celestia welcomes Waterland as its new partner to accelerate growth

Celestia, a group of high-tech space technology companies across Europe, has joined forces with Waterland, a European buy & build investor, with the aim to accelerate its growth and become a leading player in its market.

Celestia operates in the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany and the US. Celestia has achieved significant growth, both organic as well as through acquisitions. Starting in 1996 as a one-man company, Celestia has evolved to become a group with 240 employees and more than €35 million in sales.

The investment by Waterland and its strategic support will help Celestia to accelerate its highly ambitious strategic roadmap. Celestia will maintain its current management team, with Jose Alonso as Director.

Waterland is an independent private equity investment group active throughout Europe, with offices in 9 countries and €8 billion of assets under management. Waterland is active in growing markets and supports entrepreneurs in realizing their growth ambitions. Since its founding in 1999, Waterland has consistently achieved top tier investment performance. To date, Waterland has made investments in over 700 companies.

Celestia owner, Jose Alonso, commented: “When celebrating our 25th anniversary, I faced the decision to keep the growth at the same pace, as usual, or alternatively try to become a much larger and stronger player. In companies with key strategic R&D developments, ambitious M&A agenda and robust organic growth, capital is always in short supply to run faster. The possibility to join forces with Waterland, with its buy & build track record, give us the chance to achieve our audacious goal of €500 million turnover before the end of this decade.”

Waterland partner, Wouter Roduner, commented “Jose and his team have built Celestia into an innovative space technology company, both in ground station equipment and satellite components. As more and more satellites are being launched, this leads to a proliferation of market opportunities (e.g., telecoms, navigation, remotes sensing, space debris, space exploration, etc.). We are excited to support Celestia in accelerating its roadmap to better support its customers in their growth trajectories.”


December 1st, 2020

Celestia Antwerp moves from Hoboken to Berchem, Antwerp

To better serve our Customers and to provide our employees with a more central location, we are happy to announce you that WE MOVED to a brand new office with integration room in Antwerp.

Celestia Antwerp took over the Ground Segment activities from Antwerp Space in November 2019.

As last milestone in this transition, we successfully moved our activities to ‘De Veldekens’, close to the Berchem train station. Our new address:                           

Building De Veldekens

Roderveldlaan 1, bus 3

2600 Berchem (Antwerp),

Please address all your correspondence and packages to our new address

About Celestia Antwerp:

Celestia Antwerp is a leading company in Belgium, active in the field of satellite ground communication technology. It is part of the Celestia Technologies Group.

Celestia Antwerp’s core business delivers satellite communication solutions for the ground segment. Celestia Antwerp operates in both the commercial and institutional markets, supporting space agency programmes, as well as commercial projects worldwide. The company activities have been located in Antwerp since 1962, when it was founded as part of Bell Telephone.
For more information, please visit our website or contact us.

Contact details:

tel.:+32 (0) 3 303 94 50