The announcement was made during the visit with the Minister of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, to two companies based in Aerópolis, CATEC and Solar MEMS

The mayor of Seville has confirmed that the city will apply for the call that the Government of Spain will open to create an incubator for companies in the space sector focused on start-ups and entrepreneurs in the aeronautical industry and the space sector.

During a visit with the Minister of Territorial Policy to the CATEC and Solar MEMS companies, the mayor pointed out that the “designation of Seville as the headquarters of the Agency is already bringing important benefits, such as the fact that the city will host in 2023 the ministerial meeting of the European Union of those responsible for space in their different countries and the Ibero-American Space Congress”. “The objective is for companies like CATEC and Solar MEMS, which are part of the backbone of the space sector and the aeronautical industry in Seville, to establish themselves and increase their presence in the territory, taking advantage of the opportunity we have with the creation of the Space Agency ”.

According to the mayor, the Advanced Center for Aerospace Technologies (CATEC) and Solar MEMS “have been key in Seville’s candidacy as the headquarters of the Space Agency and, therefore, we are going to strengthen the alliance with this business ecosystem for the development of the entire municipal work strategy to position Seville as a benchmark in this sector”. After the visit to these facilities, which was also attended by the mayor of La Rinconada, Javier Fernández, the municipality where the Aerópolis Park is located, Muñoz highlighted that “the Government of Spain has launched a process of decentralization of state agencies without precedents and that represents a great opportunity for territories such as Seville to position ourselves in strategic sectors and to boost our economy and employment. Decentralizing is supporting companies like the ones we are visiting and giving strength to a thriving sector that from now on will have Seville as its main reference”.

“Our great objective as a city is that the presence in Seville of the Spanish Space Agency is a tractor for attracting investments, for the development of projects and for the promotion of all start-ups and large companies that work in the Sevillian territory and throughout Andalusia”, added the mayor, who also recalled that, to achieve this goal, the city will also apply for the call that the Government of Spain will open to create an incubator for companies in the space sector focused on start-ups and entrepreneurs from the aeronautical industry and the space sector.

Regarding the companies visited by the mayor and the minister, it should be noted that CATEC is a technology center managed by the Andalusian Foundation for Aerospace Development (FADA) with facilities that occupy 4,500 m2 and currently has a workforce of more than 90 employees, mostly doctors and researchers, whose main degrees are Engineering (Aeronautics, Industrial, Telecommunications, Materials and Computer Science), Physical or Chemical Sciences.

At this moment, this center is manufacturing elements of a satellite that will participate in missions that will take place on Mars and Jupiter. Specifically, CATEC has developed various products for 3D metal printing, both for aircraft, helicopters, launchers, satellites and spacecraft. Together with its partners, it has delivered flight hardware for critical and non-critical components, such as solar panel mounts for the QUANTUM satellite, hardware for the CHEOPS satellite, a helical antenna for the PROBA3 satellite, star tracker mounts for a South American satellite and finally part of the structure of the JUICE spacecraft that will study the icy moons of Jupiter.

Several of these parts have been designed (in collaboration with Airbus) and manufactured at the CATEC facilities for this satellite. Specifically, the supports for the titanium solar panels, applying 3D printing technology or also called additive manufacturing. These pieces were developed and delivered by CATEC in 2016 and at that time they were one of the first manufactured by technology of a critical nature from a structural and functional point of view, fully qualified for space. This development process required extensive knowledge of technology and maturity, where all associated processes had to be qualified, from the storage and monitoring of raw materials, the application of post processes such as heat treatments, improvement of surface finish, machining of the interfaces, and finally the non-destructive verification and qualification methods, resortgoing in this house to X-ray computed tomography.

Additive manufacturing is precisely one of the main lines of activity and specialization of the Andalusian technology center, in which it has been working for more than a decade, when this technology was still emerging. 3D printing is one of the processes that brings the greatest benefits to the space sector, in which the reduction of weight, manufacturing times and costs are important. All these years of experience and research have helped CATEC to develop more than 100 aerospace applications for launchers, satellites and space probes.

As for Solar MEMS, it is a technology-based start-up born at the University of Seville and with enormous growth prospects with the arrival of the Spanish Space Agency. She is specialized in microelectronic systems and their application to the design of high-precision solar sensors for space. Among other clients, Solarmens works and develops projects for the European Space Agency, NASA or Airbus. It is one of the companies in the sector with the greatest potential for growth in the coming years.