During the academic year, Master of Space Studies (MSS) students have the opportunity to visit significant space-related enterprises and activities in Europe including amongst others EADS, Snecma, European Astronaut Centre, European Space Agency HQ, CNES, EUMETSAT.
MSS15 students were most pleased with their recent visit to SES, one of the world’s leading international satellite operators; when the organizers and ISU alumni had prepared an intense eye-opening and informative day.
After a swift bus journey from Strasbourg, France to Chateau de Betzdorf, Luxembourg all participants were greeted upon arrival by the Human Resources team. Yves Feltes, Vice President Corporate Communications, whom himself attended ISU’s Executive Space Course re-iterated that it was always very nice to welcome an ISU group, composed of so many different nationalities, just like SES! He detailed some of the milestones of the company originally founded in 1985 as Société Europeenne des Satellites, then renamed SES Global in 2001 and SES in 2006. Involving business magnates like Rupert Murdoch landed a lot of credibility to the Luxembourg satellite project back in 1985 and the development of this business would not have been possible without the participation of the Luxembourg government, since only a sovereign state can give access to frequency slots.
The global fleet currently includes over 50 geostationary satellites at 37 orbital positions, covering 99% of the world’s population and reaching over 291 million households. Thanks to satellite communications, oil rigs data for example can now be analyzed much faster since it no longer needs helicopters to transport data. SES is the only satellite operator that can provide geostationary and medium earth orbit (MEO) communication services. It therefore enables the company to tap into new markets including providing internet with no latency. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd started collaborating with SES to ensure internet access for all 9000 people on a ship like the Quantum of the Sea, one of the largest passenger ships in the world. Travelling without internet access is nowadays unimaginable!
A technical tour of the different operating rooms and further explanations given in the antennae field followed the corporate presentation. Students had again the opportunity to ask specific questions to experts. Simone La Torre, SSP11/MSS13 alumni, who currently undertakes the SES Associate Program which offers talented young people the opportunity to work at SES for two consecutive years in four six-month rotations in different departments in the US and Europe offices, accompanied the group.
Lunch provided the opportunity to meet with some of the many ISU alumni who work at SES. Amongst others, Violetta Kuvaeva, SSP06/MSS07 and Manuel Antonio, SSP09/MSS10 shared their experience with the current MSS class.
The afternoon session comprised of a business strategy simulation which was developed by SES. The session moderator reminded all participants that it is essential to keep in mind what shareholders want. Selecting a business direction and taking a consistent and flexible approach, is what it is all about to achieve objectives!
Juan Esteban Gramajo, MSS15 participant from Guatemala is hoping to carry out his master’s internship at SES. This one day visit made him even more eager to hopefully land an internship in Betzdorf!
SES and ISU have been collaborating for many years, on academic matters, development of short courses, and internship and employment possibilities. Very important is also to mention the availability of an SSP and MSS scholarship thanks to SES, which has been beneficial for both sides. It has indeed allowed many applicants from emerging countries to participate in the ISU programs and, on the other hand, provides SES with an excellent recruitment basis.
We thank all at SES who helped facilitate this specific visit and look forward to a strong continued collaboration.