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Galileo & Satellite Communications

14:30 - 16:30

This session will explore two of the main activities in the space sector: Navigation and Communication. A huge majority of the population is making use of space applications on a daily basis, just by using their smartphones. Since many years, Europe is developing its own navigation system: GALILEO.


This service will soon be operational and surpass the performances of the commonly known GPS system, opening the door to innovative applications. As concerns satellite communications, they account for the largest share of the space sector with their associated satellite services and applications. This sector drives many innovative applications to which Belgium is largely contributing.


Introduction of the session

Peter Grognard, Managing Director, von Karman Institute 


Galileo: a European Programme shaping
the future of GNSS

Xavier Maufroid, Project Manager,
European Commission


Galileo Integrated Logistics Centre: A real opportunity to develop value-added services

Riccardo Grazi, CEO, Vitrosicet Belgium


Satellite navigation: the challenge of tomorrow's GNSS systems

Olivier Desenfans, Managing Director, M3Systems


Photonics and Inter-Satellite Links

Koen Puimège, Managing Director, Antwerp Space


How New Space and Satellites will play a vital role in the successful roll-out of 5G

Geert Adams, VP of R&D programs & competences, Newtec

16:20 – 16:30

Q&A and Panel discussion


Peter Grognard

Peter Grognard is Managing Director of the von Karman Institute since beginning of 2018.

He holds an engineering degree in Applied Physics from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and a Master of Science in Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology.

Starting has assistant at VUB (1988-19991) he was then Delegate to the European Space Agency (1992–1994) and Science Advisor at the Embassy of Belgium in Washington (1994-1998). For 14 years Peter Grognard was CEO of Septentrio, which he founded in 2000 as a spin-off company following an 18-month stay at IMEC. Since November 2014, he was managing director at Thales Alenia Space (TAS) and senior strategic advisor since July 2017.

Managing Director, von Karman Institute 

Xavier Maufroid

Xavier Maufroid graduated in electrical engineering from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and holds master in space engineering from ISAE (France). He started his career as a telecommunications engineer in Thales Belgium. From 2002 to 2006 he worked at the European Space Agency on satellite telecom R&D projects. He then joined Newtec as a project manager for the deployment of IP networks over satellite. Since 2008, he has been working within the Galileo Programme Directorate of the European Commission where he supervises the procurement of the Galileo satellites.

Project Manager, European Commission

Riccardo Grazi

Ricardo Grazi has been sole administrator of Vitrociset France since 1996 and Vitrociset Belgium since 2008. He is now the President and CEO of Vitrociset Belgium.

In 1977 he joined Vitrociset, where he initially worked as System Engineer. Since 1982, he has operated in Vitrociset space sector, holding a variety of increasingly responsible positions, ranging from technical to commercial roles, culminating to Director of the Space Strategic Business Area (ASA Spazio). Over the years, he served as Managing Director of LAREP, and as Member of the Board of Directors at Ciset International and at e-Geos.

CEO, Vitrosicet Belgium

Olivier Desenfans

Olivier Desenfans graduated in mechanical engineering from the « Université catholique de Louvain » (UCL, Belgium) in 2004. He is specialized in aeronautical engineering. He has joined M3 Systems in 2010 as R&D project engineer. He spent a couple of years as coordinator of European-level projects aiming at the development of innovative applications based on GALILEO, leading multi-disciplinary / multi-cultural teams of engineers. He then became R&D program manager and more recently managing director of M3 Systems Belgium.

Managing Director, M3Systems

Koen Puimège

Koen Puimège has been working in the space industry for more than 22 years, holding positions in engineering, project management, operations management and business development before he became the managing director of Antwerp Space.  With a background in electronics and business administration he has been involved in many space missions and lead several multi-disciplinary engineering teams carrying out developments of high technical complexity.

Managing Director, Antwerp Space

Geert Adams

Geert Adams holds a civil engineering degree from the University of Ghent, Belgium and a postgraduate in  business management from the  Catholic University of Leuven. He started his career at Alcatel Bell, as a design engineer involved with the R&D of ATM networks, later he joined KPN Belgium (former Unisource Belgium) where as sales engineer manager his responsibilities covered network designs for Voice, Data and Internet Services for large customers. From 2001, he joined Newtec taking up the program management  of Newtec’s  2 Way-Sat  DVB-RCS system; currently he is VP of R&D programs & competences within Newtec.

VP of R&D programs & competences, Newtec

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