Aerospacelab starts construction of Europe's largest satellite factory in Charleroi

Walloon satellite manufacturer Aerospacelab on Thursday launched the construction of what should become Europe's largest satellite factory in Charleroi.

The plant will employ around 500 people and will be able to produce up to 500 satellites a year, each weighing between 150 kilograms and 1 tonne. Production is expected to start in 2026.

The factory is being built in the city centre, less than one kilometre from Charleroi's main railway station. "The construction not only marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Aerospacelab, but will also provide the aerospace industry with a secure supply," said CEO Benoît Deper.

The company expects the new plant to boost its turnover to up to one billion euros

Aerospacelab, which was established in 2018, aims to become one of the top three satellite manufacturers in the world. Its new factory will have 7,000 m² of production space and 4,000 m² of clean room space.

The company expects the new plant to boost its turnover to hundreds of millions or even a billion euros, up from tens of millions at present, Deper said. Its current customers are mainly in Europe and North America.

On the same day, space company Thales Alenia Space announced major layoffs in Belgium, mainly at its plant in Charleroi. The company, which also builds satellites, plans to cut 120 jobs. "To stagnate is to suffer,' said Deper in response to the news, adding that the industry must dare to invest.


Aerospacelab's satellite factory in Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

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