In the last few years, the University Research Group gAGE/UPC acquired a good position at the Space Market segment with an important growing potential, and with a business volume that exceeded the possibilities of this university group. On the other hand, gAGE/UPC has weak chances to get expanded within the University Departments with certain stability. In most of the cases, when the doctorate students formed in the group reach the required high level skills to become professionals, they must leave the group because there aren't future perspectives for them within the University. Consequently, that leads to a constant decapitalization in terms of qualified manpower and accumulated know-how of the group. The creation of a new company implies a significant increase of projects, and more ambitious plans and projects (that can be easier to get as a private company than as a university group) can be undertaken. At the same time, the formation investment on doctorate students would be profitable by giving them a stable job according to their acquired abilities.
The company gAGE-NAV S.L. is offering technological consulting services in the Space sector in general, and more specifically, in global satellite navigation systems (GNSS) and Earth observation. The potential customers are European Public Institutions such as the European Space Agency (ESA), Eurocontrol, the GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA), and also other private firms collaborating either as subcontractors or in consortium. Given that gAGE-NAV is a spin-off company, there will be a continuity of the gAGE/UPC activities in Technology Transference with the above mentioned institutions and companies. In this context, the main activities of the consulting company are related to the following three strategic lines:
It is worth mentioning that WARTK is a new approach to high precision global navigation (with positioning errors at the centimeter level). It has been devised and developed by gAGE/UPC and it is protected by several patents (many of them with ESA). At the moment, feasibility studies are mostly completed (in projects funded by ESA and GSA) in order to implement WARTK as a commercial service. At the same time the gAGE authors have developed an Enhanced Precise Point Positioning technique, which has been recently granted ESA to be registered as international patent application (Fast PPP international patent application, registered in April 2011).
The Space Market is almost entirely institutional, being the contribution of the public sector fundamental for both offer and demand. Moreover, it acts as manager of the Space Programs and, at the same time, as representative of the users that benefit from them. Apart from that, the public sector provides subsidies to companies, technological centers and universities that invest on R+D+i. In fact, most of these grants consist on the industrial returns to the companies, through ESA, of the investments made by every State on the European Space Programs. The expected investment of the Spanish Government in the "Strategic Plan for the Space Sector" amounts to 1220 M€ for the period 2007-2011. That implies that the Spanish Industry should benefit of a proportional quantity in return, as stated in the corresponding ESA normative.