Belgian industry plays a prominent role in the aerospace sector. Many aircraft and spacecraft bear the stamp of Belgian know-how, including Airbus and Boeing planes, F-16, Rafale and Falcon 7X jet aircraft, the Ariane 4 and 5 launch systems and SPOT earth observation satellites.
Belgium has an extensive range of infrastructure, including several international airports, the European Space Agency (ESA) satellite tracking station at Redu and the space telecommunications centre at Lessive.
Major industrial players operate in Belgium, namely Newtec, Alcatel ETCA, Verhaert Space, SABCA, Spacebel, Tracys, Techspace Aero and Sonaca.
Belgium is also home to some key professional aerospace associations, whose goals include:
- Helping to match scientists’ supply of technology to the industry’s demand;
- Involving their members in international R&D programmes;
- Efficiently monitoring technological advances;
Taking part in European technological innovation programmes.
Wallonia’s aerospace competitiveness centre
The Walloon Region supports innovative aerospace projects that allow businesses to develop in the following domains:
- Composite aircraft design;
- Smarter aircraft;
- Applications and services specifically related to the space sector.
Proba 2: In-orbit innovation made in Belgium
In 2009, the Belgian aerospace sector demonstrated the full extent of its know-how and capacity for innovation when the Belgian mini-satellite Proba-2 was launched. This satellite the size of a washing machine weighs 120 kg, making it one of the smallest craft sent into space by the ESA. By enabling low-cost missions to be carried out it gives small businesses access to space.