A consortium is working on a Liechtenstein-based satellite network to deliver data for economical use. The network will be a revenue source for Liechtenstein, make Liechtenstein more attractive for businesses, and contribute to global stability.

288 satellites for Liechtenstein. A massive project that should make Liechtenstein more attractive as a place to do business. The idea is to create a network of satellites that can reach every point on earth and send data to Liechtenstein-based control stations. The network will belong to Liechtenstein, and other countries or companies may buy access in return for fees.

A milestone for Europe

Dr. Florian Krenkel is in charge of the project. “It’s a unique window of opportunity for Liechtenstein,” says Krenkel . “A consortium has come together that has the technological and economical means to do that.” The consortium of private companies is working with the Office for Communication (Amt für Kommunikation) and the International Telecommunications Union, which sets the standards and rules for satellite operations. 

Two Liechtenstein-based firms and one Chinese firm are part of that consortium. Krenkel says the Chinese are very advanced in terms of satellite technologies. They have their own rockets and satellites, so they helped Liechtenstein going the first steps. Also, Krenkel sees the project as a milestone in European-Sino cooperation. China is now Europe’s largest trading partner, so cooperation will become even more important in the future.

It’s paramount that there are several satellite systems all over the world, instead of one nation having a satellite monopoly. “Like every other sovereign nation, Liechtenstein can launch satellites into space, and Liechtenstein has decided to do so,” says Krenkel.

Krenkel draws a parallel with GPS, where Europe had to rely on non-European systems. We shouldn’t make the same mistake again with satellites. Today, the US, China, and Russia all build and operate their own satellites. In Europe, France and Norway have projects underway, and Liechtenstein can contribute as well. Ultimately, having a Europe-based satellite system will make Europe more independent and contribute to global stability.

Every industry needs data

Two satellites have already been up in space since November 2019. They have completed successful testing. The network is in low orbit; satellites fly at about 1,000 km above the earth’s surface. They can send data very fast from one point to another with low latency. Control stations in Liechtenstein will control the satellites and coordinate the data access.

These projects are very complex, technically and economically. “That’s where the future is,” says Krenkel. “Industries need data, and that need for data will increase exponentially in the future.”

He explains that every industry needs data, from automobiles to banking and finance, to shipping and airlines. Liechtenstein will be the network owner and can sell data. The network ownership remains the property of Liechtenstein, and Liechtenstein has control over the network.

This system is solely for private use, not for military applications. It will make Liechtenstein as a place to do business more attractive. Businesses need data, and for that, they need access to satellites.

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