Beyond Gravity 2022 Management Report
Beyond Gravity won important contracts for the Amazon satellite project in 2022 and was part of major space missions.
RUAG International’s Space segment looks back over a mixed year in 2022. The business unit saw sales rise 11.6% from CHF 319 million to CHF 356 million. However, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell from CHF 14 million to CHF –5 million. Additional costs for the capacity expansion in the Launchers division and lower margins in the Satellite business led to the lowerthan- expected result. As in the previous year, new orders from large commercial space providers – such as Amazon – led to a robust order intake at Beyond Gravity as well as a considerable increase of CHF 69 million in the order backlog (CHF 744 million), allowing us to look to the future with confidence.
From RUAG Space to Beyond Gravity
Since spring 2022, the Space segment has no longer been operating as RUAG Space, but as Beyond Gravity. The new name and brand identity position the company even more consistently as a global player in the international space market. As of 1 May 2022, André Wall has taken over the operational management of Beyond Gravity. In the course of his 100-day programme, Beyond Gravity’s organisational structure was expanded in October to include the Lithography division. The previously independent functions of Sales, Engineering and Operations were integrated into the three divisions. In addition, the support functions were split into Finance/Legal/M&A/IT Security, HR and Corporate Strategy & Transformation. In the summer, Beyond Gravity also launched a space incubator. The cooperation with start-ups ensures the early identification of promising ideas and concepts as well as their acceleration.
The Launchers division, with around 660 employees and business units in Switzerland, the USA and Sweden, focused on further development with a view to profitable growth. Alongside organisational adjustments, the business unit concentrated heavily on the development and expansion of the two sites in Decatur and Linköping, which will manufacture payload fairings and satellite dispensers for Amazon’s Kuiper satellite project. The orders secured in this context in the reporting year are among the largest in Beyond Gravity’s corporate history and offer the opportunity for new jobs and further orders. Beyond Gravity’s payload fairings are used not only on the American Vulcan launch vehicles, but also on the European Ariane 5 and 6 and the Japanese H3. Since autumn 2022, the division has been headed up by Paul Horstink, who was previously responsible for RUAG Aerostructures Switzerland.
In the booming market for new space products, the Satellites division, with 750 employees and sites in Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, the USA and Finland, won significant orders from new and established customers and was able to support important projects. For NASA’s Gateway space station, the division will supply drive alignment mechanisms and network electronics. NASA’s Artemis missions will also use solar array drive mechanisms, structures and slip rings from the Satellites division. Investments in new product developments such as the OnBoard computers for satellite constellations and a family of modular mechanisms are paying off, particularly because several leading satellite companies are choosing these products as the standard for all future missions. The Satellites division is headed up by Anders Linder.
In October 2022, the new Lithography division was established within Beyond Gravity. The business area, with 185 employees and departments at the two sites in Zurich (CH) and Coswig (DE), develops and produces special actuators as well as apertures required for nanometre- precise semiconductor production. The mechanisms that support laser optics and other optical systems are used worldwide in machines for the production of microchips and form the basis for a variety of high-tech applications such as smartphones or artificial intelligence. Dr. Oliver Kunz, who was previously responsible for global engineering at Beyond Gravity, manages the division.
The market for space products is growing and demand for microchips remains high. An important focus for Beyond Gravity in the coming years will be the profitable completion of the major projects secured, the consistent quality assurance and adherence to deadlines for the customers and the profitable implementation of the investments initiated in the reporting year. Additional orders can also be expected due to the increase in the ESA budget for the planning period 2023-2025.
In future, the Space segment will focus even more clearly on strategic customer partnerships, profitable projects and new areas of business. Investments are also flowing into the expansion of digital platforms, increased production and enhancing the attractiveness of the working environment. As already communicated, the privatisation of the Space business area should take place by end of 2025 at the latest.
About RUAG International
In a challenging market environment, aerospace company RUAG International achieved earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of CHF 178 million in 2022 (previous year CHF 70 million) – also thanks to three successfully divested business units. The Space business, rebranded as Beyond Gravity since March 2022, secured important orders in connection with the Amazon-Kuiper satellite constellation and further expanded its business. The aerostructures business stabilised and once again recorded more orders from the main customer Airbus.