Kongsberg Spacetec

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Kongsberg Spacetec AS
Industry Space, Information technology
Founded 1984
Headquarters Tromsø, Norway
Area served
Key people
Bjørn Arne Kanck (CEO)
Products MEOS Polar Ground Station
Services IT consulting, Satellite ground stations and software, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems
Revenue NOK 66 million (2011)
NOK 4.5 million (2011)
Number of employees
56 (2011)
Parent Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace
Website www.spacetec.no

Kongsberg Spacetec AS or KSPT, prior to 1994 Spacetec A/S, is a supplier of ground stations based in Tromsø, Norway. It is owned by the Kongsberg Group and is part of its Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace division. The company is co-located with Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) and Tromsø Satellite Station (TSS).


The company was established by some of the most experienced employees of Tromsø Satellite Station,[1] which had been operating since 1967.[2] They originally established Drive Electronics in 1982, but it was bankrupt two years later. The company was re-established as Spacetec,[1] which was registered on 11 December 1984.[3] The company was established with a share capital of NOK 5 million or NOK 1,000 per share.[4] Along with Norsk Data, Computas, Informasjonskontroll and Noratom, Spacetec established the joint venture Norspace to act as supplier to the European Space Agency.[5] By 1986, the company had eighteen employees. It received a state subsidy of NOK 6.25 million to finance its expansion.[6]

This resulted in a contract to deliver a ground station system to Esrange in Kiruna, Sweden.[7] The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment developed an application of synthetic-aperture radar for satellites at this was to be commercialized by Spacetec and Norsk Data.[8] In July 1988 the company signed a contract to deliver equipment worth NOK 26 million to TSS in partnership with Norsk Data. This involved Spacetec designing a downlink and image processing software for ERS-1 which needed to be capable of handling 100 megabits per second. The new ground station was to be completed in 1989 and operational by April 1990.[9] Also in 1988, Norspace signed an agreement to deliver telemetry components for ESA's Columbus module for the International Space Station.[10] In December Spacetec signed an agreement with ESA to develop a system to transfer satellite data from magnetic tapes to optical discs.[11]

During 1989, Spacetec participated in a cooperation with TSS and the University of Tromsø in developing technology to send satellite images to customers in the course of minutes, rather than hours and days, through the use of broadband.[12] After ten years of development, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment launched its CESAR supercomputer, which was tailor-made for analysis of SAR images and had been developed in cooperation with Spacetec. It allowed for the analysis of a 100 by 100 square kilometers (39 by 39 sq mi) surface area in eight minutes.[13] In November 1990, Spacetec signed an agreement with ESA to develop and supply a simulator to test and verify the launching ramp of the Ariane 5 rockets.[14] Spacetec cooperated with the Norwegian Meteorological Institute to develop a processing system for the latter to utilize satellite data for meteorology. With two years of development, Spacetec planned to sell the technology to other users.[15] In 1993 Spacetec signed an agreement with ESA to deliver telemetry systems to ERS-2.[16]

In 1991 the company had 38 employees, of which 30 were engineers. It had a revenue of NOK 28 million and a net income of NOK 2.9 million. One sixth of the company was owned by various employees, while the remaining was owned by various industrial companies in Tromsø.[1] The largest were Odd Berg Gruppen (29 percent) and Sparebanken Nord-Norge (18 percent). Norsk Forsvarsteknologi (NFT) made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase Spacetec in December 1993,[17] with a price of NOK 1300 per share. Negotiations with the main shareholders followed and by March NFT had bought the company at a price of NOK 1,550 per share, NOK 7.75 million in total.[4]

In August 1994, Spacetect signed a contract for parts of a new ground station in Singapore.[18] In September 1995, Spacetec started a cooperation with the French company Thomson to develop systems for the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.[19] In November, a subsidiary was established which would work with processing medical X-ray images.[20] Spacetec participated with technology for the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.[21]

In 1996, the Norwegian Space Center started negotiations with NASA to provide a ground station for the Earth Observing System (EOS) in Longyearbyen.[22] Svalbard Satellite Station was established in 1997 and was owned by Kongsberg/Lockheed Martin Space Data Services, a joint venture between Kongsberg Spacetec and Lockheed Martin.[23] That year Kongsberg Spacetec had a revenue of NOK 42 million and they announced that they would focus on receiving contracts in Asia and South America.[24] Throughout the 1990s, Kongsberg Spacetec had a fairly stable revenue and an annual profit of between NOK 2 and 3 million. In 1997, Kongsberg moved ten employees working on a radar system to Tromsø and co-located them with Spacetec.[25] Spacetec experienced a major revenue increase from 1999 to 2002, to more than NOK 60 million. However, they were not able to increase their profits.[26] After three years development of new weather satellite technology, Spacetec won a contract worth NOK 50 million in September 2002 for Meteosat 8.[27]

In 2002, ownership and operations of the facility were consolidated and taken over by the newly created Kongsberg Satellite Services.[28] Lockheed Martin was no longer interested in owning a share of the facility, and sold their shares. NSC and Kongsberg merged their interests in the new company, which also took over Tromsø Satellite Station.[29] By 2004, six antennas, between 9 and 13 meters (30 and 43 ft) in diameter, had been installed.[30] In April 2005 the company was for the first time in its history forced to lay off employees. The company cited a combination of reduced activity in ESA, a delay in the Meteosat program and a reduction in discounted wage taxes.[31] Nine people were laid off. Following this, there surfaced that there periodically had been poor cooperation between Spacetec and KSAT, as the latter had been in a period with rapid growth without the other following suit.[32] Spacetec had its break-through with NASA in September 2006 when it signed an agreement to deliver twenty-two ground stations to Goddard Space Flight Center in a contract worth NOK 19 million.[33]

Spacetec signed its first contract with a Russian organization in April 2007, when a contract for a ground station for Meteosat was signed with Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia with options for a further two stations.[34] Tromsø Centre for Remote Technology was established in February 2008 as a cooperation between Spacetec, KSAT, UiT and the Northern Research Institute. The goal of the project was to create closer ties between research and commercial activity within satellite communication technology.[35]



  1. ^ a b c Jaklin, Asbjørn (27 May 1992). "Spacetec". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 12. 
  2. ^ Tjelmeland: 374
  3. ^ "Kongsberg Spacetec AS" (in Norwegian). Proff. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Johannessen, Bjørn E. (10 March 1994). "Spacetec A/S overta". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 18. 
  5. ^ "Norsk romfart". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 14 September 1985. p. 10. 
  6. ^ "Spacetec i Tromsø får millionstøtte". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 7 April 1986. p. 10. 
  7. ^ Jaklin, Asbjørn (10 September 1988). "Rombyen Tromsø". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 36. 
  8. ^ Olsen, Claude R. (27 August 1988). "Norge inn i romalderen". Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). p. 22. 
  9. ^ Vik, Kjetil (16 July 1988). "Millionkontrakter". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 5. 
  10. ^ Olsen, Claude R. (12 January 1989). "Norspace sikrer romkontrakter". Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). p. 2. 
  11. ^ Vik, Kjetil (22 December 1989). "Ingen sfæriske". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 3. 
  12. ^ Larsen, Rolf L. (29 December 1989). "Satellittbilder på rekordtid". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 22. 
  13. ^ Olsen, Claude R. (8 August 1990). "ND og FFI med superdatamaskin". Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). p. 4. 
  14. ^ "Ariane-kontrakt til Spacetec". Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). 2 November 1990. p. 2. 
  15. ^ Heimark, Kjell Gunnar (20 November 1990). "Overvåker været fra rommet". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 16. 
  16. ^ Mogård, Lars Egil (16 October 1993). "Spacetec". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 7. 
  17. ^ "NFT trekker tilbud". Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). 24 December 1993. p. 15. 
  18. ^ "Spacetec kontrakt". Nordlys (in Norwegian). 10 August 1994. p. 8. 
  19. ^ "NTF-selskap samarbeider med fransk selskap" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 29 September 1995. 
  20. ^ Johanessen, Bjørn E. (22 November 1995). "Spacetec med røntgen". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 8. 
  21. ^ Larsen, Rolf L. (24 November 1995). "Solens hemmeligheter skal avsløres". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 11. 
  22. ^ Wormdal (2011): 38
  23. ^ "Nytt selskap for satellittdata" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 14 November 1997. 
  24. ^ Mogård, Lars Egil (22 November 1997). "Spacetec ser mot Østen og Svalbard". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 29. 
  25. ^ Mathisen, Mona C. (26 February 1998). "Spacetec – et bedriftseventyr". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 10. 
  26. ^ Ballari, Aslak (16 July 2002). "Stor omsetningsøkning for Spacetec". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 12. 
  27. ^ Endresen, Rune (10 September 2002). "Kongsberg Spacetec fikk kontrakt". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 16. 
  28. ^ "Delplan for Svalbard Satellittstasjon (SvalSat), Platåberget" (in Norwegian). Kongsberg Satellite Services. 12 October 2005. Archived from the original on 12 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  29. ^ Wormdal (2011): 44
  30. ^ Skatteboe, R.; Kjeldsen, A. A. (2004). "Interoperability reduces cost and risk at Svalbard Satellite Station" (PDF). American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  31. ^ Endresen, Rune (12 April 2005). "Spacetec-kutt i Tromsø". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 5. 
  32. ^ Endresen, Rune (30 May 2005). "Tidligere Spacetek-ansatte kritiserer ledere". Nordlys (in Norwegian). p. 14. 
  33. ^ Heggelund, Trond (7 September 2006). "Skjøt blink hos Nasa". Teknisk Ukeblad (in Norwegian). 
  34. ^ "Mer solskinn for Spacetec". Bladet Tromsø (in Norwegian). 27 April 2007. 
  35. ^ "Verden sett fra Tromsø". Bladet Tromsø (in Norwegian). 22 February 2008. 
  36. ^ Data User Element
  37. ^ News - Kongsberg Gruppen
  38. ^ Norway and Canada Continue Earth Observation Co-operation with Radarsat-2 Program | Earth Today
  39. ^ SAR processing algorithms in the KSPT ENVISAT ASAR processor
  40. ^ Eomag!: Important NASA contract awarded Kongsberg Spacetec
  41. ^ EOS Operations Systems: Planned and Proposed Changes to Reduce Operations Costs
  42. ^ Using MODIS at met.no
  43. ^ NFR-prosjekter
  44. ^ Kongsberg Spacetec news
  45. ^ Data User Element
  46. ^ Kongsberg Spacetec AS wins satellite ground station system contract in China. | Nordic Business Report (February, 2003)
  47. ^ NR - Norwegian Computing Center
  48. ^ KNMI HDF5 Data Format Specification
  49. ^ Monitoring the Arctic Sea Ice
  50. ^ The ESA/ESRIN ATSR Browse Generation System (ABS)
  51. ^ ICEMON project page at NERSC
  52. ^ EuroClim
  53. ^ BarentsWatch

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 69°39′43″N 18°56′32″E / 69.66196°N 18.94225°E / 69.66196; 18.94225