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Satnews Daily
June 19th, 2019

Newtec's MCC Factory of the Future Begins Projects with QinetiQ ... Enabling Softer Docking at Space Stations

Signs in stores saying "You break it you buy it" are posted so that consumers won't mishandle merchandise. Likewise ensuring that spacecraft docking at space stations now and in the future don't do damage to the vehicle or station is critical. With that important issue Newtec's expertise is at work in Belgium as it begins work on two key projects for QinetiQ. 

QinetiQ, a major science and engineering company in the defense, security, space and air markets, has selected Newtec’s Manufacturing Competence Center (MCC), in Erpe-Mere, Belgium, to provide the soldering of on-board electronics for two projects. The work will contribute towards Newtec’s European Space Agency (ESA) certification which the company hopes to complete by 2020. Newtec specializes in the design, development and manufacture of equipment for satellite communications.

Thomas Van den Driessche, CEO, Newtec and Erik Masure, Managing Director, QinetiQ Space Belgium sign an MoU for ECCS Certification process

From its site in Kruibeke, Belgium, QinetiQ selected Newtec’s MCC due to the advantages that working with a partner in close proximity brings, including cost-effectiveness and convenience. Newtec’s MCC has Factory of the Future status, the highest possible recognition for the manufacturing industry in Belgium, and works with a range of customers including Thales and Panasonic. 

Per the agreement Newtec's objectives will be twofold:  

  • the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM)
  • the development of onboard computers for the next generation of satellites QinetiQ is planning to build.


The IBDM, which is being developed together with ESA, will enable vehicles carrying cargo or passengers to dock softly at any space station with less force.

Danny De Smet, who is responsible for Business Development at Newtec’s MCC, said that their work with QinetiQ is the beginning of a strong legacy they hope to create in the space industry in Belgium. They are delighted that QinetiQ has entrusted them with this project which will showcase the skills they have honed throughout their work in other industries, including the industrial, avionics and military sectors. Their ability to deliver this work for QinetiQ is the result of company ambition and investment that has further enhanced their manufacturing capabilities.

Frank Preud'homme, Commercial Director at QinetiQ added that our partnership with Newtec has brought a number of benefits, including maximum cost-effectiveness and convenience due to the location being near our Space Centre, which will prove particularly useful should any problems arise. Over the years, Newtec’s MCC has proved itself to be more than competent in providing services to a number of different industries and they are sure it will also see success in the space segment as it continues to expand.