B-LiFE, SES and GovSat Deploy Mobile COVID-19 Testing Laboratory to Italy

B-LiFE, SES and GovSat Deploy Mobile COVID-19 Testing Laboratory to Italy

The mobile laboratory will move across Piedmont region to support regional government’s effort of large-scale COVID-19 testing

Brussels/Luxembourg, 24 June 2020 – The Piedmont regional government in Italy and healthcare professionals will be using the satellite-enabled mobile Biological Light Fieldable Laboratory for Emergencies, known as B-LiFE, to scale COVID-19 screening operations. The mobile laboratory will be deployed to one of the worst-hit regions in Italy and will support COVID-19 testing of frontline healthcare staff, civil protection volunteers and police forces. B-LiFE deployment is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Luxembourg Department of Defence, and led by the Université Catholique de Louvain with the support of the project partners including the Belgian Civil Protection, SES and GovSat.

The mobile laboratory relies on an end-to-end, satellite-enabled connectivity solution put in place by SES and builds on the previous successful projects under the ESA Space Solutions framework and the company’s extensive expertise in the emergency and humanitarian domain. The mission in Piedmont is supported by the Luxembourg Department of Defence, together with GovSat, by leveraging portable terminals as well as the high-performance capabilities of the GovSat-1 satellite. The solution, based on a lightweight portable manpack, enables secure 10 Mbps duplex connectivity for health data processing, real-time data transmission and communication with remote experts.

B-LiFE/Mobile Laboratory
Photo credit: B-LiFE/Mobile Laboratory


B-LiFE has been developed under ESA Space Solutions (formerly known as Business Applications) framework with the participation of the Belgium and Luxembourg governments. Since its inception in 2012, it has been used during the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and has been supporting a number of test cases for Belgium authorities. A portable satellite-enabled data platform, B-LiFE can be deployed in a matter of days to the most remote locations and can relay information to reference laboratories in Europe. Secured high-throughput satellite communication service guarantees the connectivity required for the operations when and where needed. B-LiFE is ideal for supporting healthcare services during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, including for large-scale testing.

“In times of the pandemic, joining forces to save lives and bring life back to normal is critical. Supported by space capabilities, B-LiFE’s missions and joint exercises with partners from across Europe serve exactly that purpose, enabling the medical professionals with the necessary tools to respond to the threat, when it’s needed most,” said Arnaud Runge, medical engineer overseeing the mission at ESA. “We are grateful to everyone involved in the mission in Piedmont for their outstanding support of this effort.”

“In these crucial times, it was important for the Luxembourg Directorate of Defence to support the effort engaged by ESA, SES and GovSat and provide the B-LiFE mission the necessary equipment and secure satellite connectivity on our national GovSat-1 system to ensure safe processing and transmission of data,” said Geoffroy Beaudot, Head of Space and Cyber at the Luxembourg Directorate of Defence.

Nicole Robinson, Senior Vice President, Global Government at SES Networks said, “As countries continue to fight or recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, satellite connectivity again proves to be a key tool in connecting healthcare workers and strengthening telemedicine networks, as well as reinforcing the solidarity between countries. The B-LiFE deployment in Italy underscores the reliability and scalability of the satellite services, enabling governments to respond to the pandemic and protect their nations.”

“Supporting the deployment with secure connectivity is crucial, as it concerns transmission of the sensitive healthcare data. Not only does the service need to be high-performance, reliable and rapidly deployed, it also requires additional layers of security. GovSat-1 is ideally positioned to provide the government-level of security, agility and throughput, and we are humbled it plays a part in this meaningful cause,” said Patrick Biewer, CEO of GovSat.

For further information please contact:

Roland Gueubel
B-LiFE Director, Center for Applied Molecular Technologies – CTMA, Université Catholique de Louvain
Tel. + 32 498 49 71 26
[email protected]

Suzanne Ong    
External Communications
Tel. +352 710 725 500
[email protected]

Melanie Delannoy
Marketing & Communications, GovSat
Tel. +352 710 725 329
[email protected]


About SES

SES has a bold vision to deliver amazing experiences everywhere on earth by distributing the highest quality video content and providing seamless connectivity around the world. As the leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the unique combination of global coverage and high performance, including the commercially-proven, low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system. By leveraging a vast and intelligent, cloud-enabled network, SES is able to deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air, and is a trusted partner to the world’s leading telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’s video network carries over 8,300 channels and has an unparalleled reach of 367 million households, delivering managed media services for both linear and non-linear content. The company is listed on Paris and Luxembourg stock exchanges (Ticker: SESG). Further information is available at: www.ses.com

About GovSat

GovSat is a Luxembourg-based satellite operator, created out of a partnership between the Luxembourg government and SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions. Its mission is to provide secure, reliable and accessible governmental satellite communication services to address the demand resulting from defence and institutional security applications. The company’s first satellite, GovSat-1, is a multi-mission satellite that uses X-band and Military Ka-band frequencies on high-power and fully steerable mission beams to support multiple operations. It is equipped with anti-jamming features, encrypted telemetry and control, and uses assured frequencies. Due to its orbital position at 21.5° East, GovSat-1’s coverage reaches from 50°W to 90°E and 70°N to 70°S. Further information is available here: www.govsat.lu

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member. ESA has established formal cooperation with seven Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement. Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int. Contact: [email protected]


ESA Space Solutions

ESA Space Solutions is the go-to-place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. Funding typically ranges from 50KEuro to 2MEuro and supports everything from early stage incubation programs, feasibility studies to large-scale demonstration projects. http://business.esa.int