Two entrepreneurs from La Línea, Carlos Moreira (founder of WISeKey) and Julián Fernández (CEO of Fossa Systems), plan to set up a WISeSat manufacturing centre as well as a ground station in their hometown.
According to the two businessmen, who announced this project in March 2021, in the not-too-distant future, La Línea de la Concepción could very well become a tech hub for the manufacturing of commercialised low-cost communication satellites.
Juan Franco, Mayor of La Línea (Cádiz) and David Abad, who is a founder at WISeKey also made an appearance during the virtual presentation.
Moreira and Fernández have developed a business plan to take advantage of the “strategic location of La Línea, its location and its proximity to Gibraltar”, stating that they believe that this would position the company as a “link between Europe and Africa in this field.”
During the announcement, Carlos Moreira said that a significant agreement has been reached with investor Julián Fernández, who commented that Moreira is “a young innovator with a great vision for the future”.
In a press briefing, the City Council of La Línea stated that the objective is to bring in investment into the city by developing a “viability plan in several stages, with strategic planning at municipal level, preparatory works, brading the project so that it is internationally appealing and networking with other large companies, which would allow the creation of an “IOT” (Internet of Things) microsatellite factory, with the involvement of WISeKey as the attraction for other investors”.
Initially there might even be the possibility that the municipality could develop a ground station for the WiseSat satellite to connect with other satellites, which they have announced will be launched into space by the end of this year.
As Carlos Moreira explained, the satellite receiver will be the cornerstone for the creation of a tech hub which would better connect Spain with Gibraltar and Africa.
WISeKey, a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ, will be providing the first investment, both for the launch of the array of micro-satellites and for the construction of a receiver in La Línea – and there is further support from other investors and other potential clients.
Contact with the Government of Gibraltar
During the online press conference, Moreira explained that he has been in conversations with the government of Gibraltar in relation collaboration “based on their needs in having access to this kind of technology and to help resolve the difficulties it is currently facing due to Brexit, as is the case in granting of European certifications in this field”.
The decision to construct a satellite manufacturing facility locally could also see the development of a cyber security centre; an even larger project whereby certain conditions within the municipality would need to be created in areas such as training, the creation of platforms and centres for dissemination within universities as well as essential political involvement.
“Our objective is to develop a constellation of low-cost satellites which would allow all kinds of secure lines of communication”. According to Carlos Moreira, this is an industry which currently has “enormous potential for growth”.
The founder of WISeKey highlighted his involvement within the “Malaga Valley” project, which has been going for 10 years to enable the creation of a Tech Park with a more international vision.
FossaSat-1: The First Mini Satellite that was Sent into Space in December 2019
Julián Fernández said that, for a young company such as his, “synergy” between entrepreneurs within the field is essential, using the deal which was struck with the founder of WISeKey as an example, who he publicly thanked for his involvement in the project and the experience he has provided.
In December 2019, Fernández sent a mini satellite called the FossaSat-1, which was designed by him and his partners at Fossa Systems, into space. The satellite’s internet signal is now able to reach even the most remote corners of the planet. According to Moreira, this was achieved with “very few resources”, using materials he got online, which he completed even before he had finished his university degree.
The Mayor of La Línea, Juan Franco said that he is delighted with the project and that he “feels very proud to have two Linenses leading the way in the field of technology” and thanked them for their “determination” to invest in the city. From his encouraging words, it is clear that this project has the full support and involvement from the City Council of La Línea… a factor that could soon make this project a reality.