Hispasat's Amazonas Nexus satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space, is also carrying a payload for the U.S. Space Force. Credit: Thales Alenia Space

TAMPA, Fla. — After recently investing in Spain’s largest reforestation project, Madrid-based operator Hispasat hopes to use a satellite SpaceX is launching next month to support other sustainability projects across Latin America.

Hispasat announced last week it had bought a 10.85% stake in Sylvestris, a sustainability-focused subsidiary of Spanish energy and petrochemical company Repsol.

Sylvestris’ Green Engine project seeks to offset carbon dioxide emissions produced by industrials such as Repsol — and Spanish power company Red Eléctrica which owns Hispasat — by reforesting burned or wasted land.

While financial details of the investment were not disclosed, Hispasat chief strategy and transformation officer Ana Molina said it is “a multi-million” dollar deal that reinforces the operator’s commitment to Spain’s rural areas. 

Hispasat launched a 100 megabit per second wholesale broadband service throughout the Spanish territory as part of this drive in 2021, Molina said.

Through Green Engine, the operator aims to provide connectivity and solutions for monitoring remote environments outside terrestrial networks, including measuring the carbon that trees absorb and protecting them from fires.

Green Engine “also represents a great opportunity to be at the state-of-the-art in the development of solutions applied to these environments,” Molina added, which “can be exported to other similar projects and to other regions.”

SpaceX is slated to launch Hispasat’s latest geostationary satellite, the 4,500-kilogram Thales Alenia Space-built Amazonas Nexus, Feb. 5 on a Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Molina said the Ku-band spacecraft, which also has Ka-band feeder links for telemetry and control, is designed to offer “advanced connectivity services” over both American continents, Greenland, and North Atlantic transportation routes.

Using broadband and narrowband, Hispasat said the satellite could support a mix of sensor devices for monitoring remote forests, including surveillance cameras.

“Therefore, throughout its lifetime it will be able to offer [sustainability-focused] services in regions of interest to Repsol or Hispasat, such as Latin America,” she said.

The majority of Hispasat’s revenues come from the Americas, mainly Latin America, where the company is also seeing growing demand from government and commercial aviation customers.

Hispasat’s push into sustainability projects is part of a strategy forged after its 2019 sale to Red Eléctrica to become a satellite solutions provider, instead of just a capacity wholesaler.

The strategy in 2021 saw Hispasat take over the management and signal transport business of Media Networks Latin America, a multimedia-focused subsidiary of Spanish telco Telefónica that uses Hispasat’s satellites to provide TV services.

In 2022, Hispasat snapped up Spain-based managed services provider AXESS Networks to bolster solutions for corporate customers in Latin America.

Hispasat also last year purchased the fifth of its Brazil-based Hispamar subsidiary that it didn’t already own in another push into the region, which is becoming increasingly competitive as multiple operators plot their own satellites to meet growing demand for connectivity.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...