In mid-November 2023, the Polish company Thorium Space S.A., headquartered in Wroclaw, Poland, was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) for a project1 to build a next-generation telecommunications satellite and launch it into space in geostationary orbit (GEO)2.

Thorium Space S.A. has been included in the HummingSAT3 program, a new product line of European small telecommunications satellites launched into geostationary orbit. Joining this project is tantamount to starting work on a national telecommunications satellite with the working name Small GEO. The Polish company will be responsible for defining the requirements of the entire mission, along with the plan for constructing the Small GEO satellite, as well as for the development and construction of a fully digital telecommunications payload in the Ku/Ka4 band. Thorium Space S.A also plans to cooperate with German company OHB with and Airbus-owned Defence & Space unit SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd)5.

“(…) we have been selected for an ESA project that begins a new era. This is the beginning of a Polish telecommunications satellite mission to GEO. Our role is to build the payload, the heart of the whole mission, while the other part, the platform, will be provided by our partners from Switzerland. Together we are creating the latest generation microsatellite for geostationary orbit. This is definitely a breakthrough!” reported Thorium Space CEO Pawel Rymaszewski in an interview with Space246. “(…) this is a very big distinction and confirmation of many years of work by all engineers. It is also a moment to show the world that we know what we are doing. Now we are the ones dealing the cards,” he continued7.

The estimated value of the entire project is about €75 million. It is to consist of five phases called phases A, B, C, D, E. In the first two phases – A and B – the satellite’s telecommunications payload will be designed and built by Thorium Space. Its implementation is scheduled for the first two years of the program, and ESA funding for these phases amounted to 8 million euros. Planning for phases C, D, E, on the other hand, still needs to clarify the details of the projects to be undertaken. It is assumed that work on them will take another three years, and ESA funding will amount to 25 million euros8.

It is worth mentioning that the HummingSAT initiative is part of the strategy pursued under the ESA Partnership. It represents a space program aimed at guaranteeing the right environment for the satellite communications industry to bring innovative space solutions to the commercial market. The European Space Agency has already implemented significant partnership projects under the Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program. The scope of the program includes different types of satellites – from large geostationary objects to U-class spacecraft (CubeSats)9. These projects are of great importance for the development of the space industry, providing innovative solutions and supporting the competitiveness of the satellite telecommunications industry in Europe and Canada10.


1 Official website of Thorium Space Technology company, Polish telecommunications satellite. Announcing a groundbreaking project, online – [accessed: 18.12.2023].

2 Geostationary orbit – a type of Earth orbit that provides a fixed position for artificial space objects moving through it relative to the equator. These characteristics create opportunities for launching communications, navigation, weather satellites with non-military purposes, as well as technologies dedicated exclusively to military applications, such as tracking, navigation, communications and reconnaissance, which would be used in encrypted radio frequency bands.

3 HummingSat – an ESA partnership project to build a new product line for the commercial geostationary space telecommunications market. The volume of HummingSats is just over one and a half cubic meters, which is one-tenth the size of conventional satellites placed in geostationary orbit at an altitude of about 36,000 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.

4 Space24 official website, Polish telecommunications satellite. Thorium Space announces groundbreaking project, online – [accessed: 18.12.2023].

5 K. Bakuła, Thorium Space announces Polish geostationary satellite [RELATION], online – [accessed: 18.12.2023].

6 M. Mitkow, Thorium Space: we are starting work on a Polish telecommunications satellite [VIDEO], online – [accessed: 18.12.2023].

7 Ibidem.

8 Space24 official website, Polish telecommunications satellite. Thorium Space announces groundbreaking project, op. cit.

9 CubeSat – a type of miniature artificial satellite of the nanosatellite family. It has a constant mass and shape, usually a cube. CubeSats are built using commercially available, off-the-shelf electronic components. The creator of such a project can be any person or institution with a budget suitable for such needs.

10 MikroKontroler official website, Thorium Space i ESA rozpoczynają prace nad polskim satelitą telekomunikacyjnym Small GEO, online – [accessed: 18.12.2023].

Photo: PIRO4D, Satellite Earth Planet Free Photo, online – [accessed: 21.12.2023].

Tekst powstał w ramach realizacji zadania publicznego zleconego w ramach Rządowego Programu Rozwoju Organizacji Obywatelskich na lata 2018–2030 r. „Bezpieczna Polska jutra – rozwój działań misyjnych Alioth Foundation”.