The Economist this week is running a piece on ADS (Airbus Defence and Space) from their plant located to London’s north. The report centres on the hexagonal satellite, the LISA Pathfinder scheduled for launching next year. Andrew Bradfield, a director of satellite manufacturers SSTL says that his company is essentially involved in “changing the economics of space”. It has almost single-handedly carved out a niche for smaller, cheaper satellites, with many sales going to emerging countries.
The company is also involved in scientific operations such as Rosetta. Mr Bradfield went on to say that Airbus Defence & Space’s success is due in part to its thriving commercial operation, supplying large satellites to clients such as BskyB. The innovatory technology devised for scientific projects with government funding such as Rosetta can be transferred to commercial operations, to maximise returns on intellectual investments. The conclusion from The Economist is that currently the formula looks stellar.