Since 2019, Luis Gomes has been the CEO of AAC Clyde Space, a company headquartered in Sweden, but with operations in the UK, US, Netherlands, and South Africa. The company supplies components for satellites manufactured by third parties, designs and builds its own fully integrated satellites, and increasingly sells services and data from its own in-orbit constellation. Before that, he spent 21 years at Surrey Satellite Technology, starting as an engineer, moving into project management, and in the second half of my period there, he ran the Earth Observation and Science business unit, and later he became the CCO and then the CTO of the company. At SSTL, Luis worked on more than 30 satellite missions, was responsible for starting new businesses for the company and set the overall strategy for the company.
During his years in the space industry, Luis always believed that it is what technology delivers that makes a difference. Most of his career in the industry has been spent developing new commercial concepts to make better use of the technology that we develop. At SSTL, Luis set up and ran teams dedicated to using their satellite technology and instruments to better serve the market. As an example, his small EO team pushed the limits in high-resolution performance, creating the SSTL 300S1 product, under his directive of “get me the biggest camera that fits” on an existing platform. That allowed the company to start a new business selling high-resolution images from four satellites, earning in excess of £150M. In a similar manner, he drove the development of the first SAR satellite for the company, with the aim to build a low-cost constellation dedicated to maritime services – the satellite was launched, despite a lot of dedication over the years to finance the constellation that proved elusive, although they are now working on a follow on mission. Together with the engineering director, Luis set up a small team to run a very fast development of a new commercial offering, called Carbonite. That is now a product line being used by SSTL, underpinning among others the Satellite Vu constellation of infrared imaging satellites that recently started to be launched.
Luis’s move to AAC Clyde Space was motivated by the desire to progress further the focus on what the market needs, without the constraints of a big owner who had its own (often differing) strategy. AAC Clyde Space needed a new direction and a new plan, and over the past four years Luis and his team have been growing the company, acquiring companies and founding
new ones. They are developing two new business lines selling data and services, one for the maritime sector and one for the agricultural sector. This is very much what Luis enjoys doing: looking at what technology and capabilities a company has, match that with what are the market opportunities for growth and build a business around that.
Luis has a master’s in satellite technology from the University of Surrey and a bachelor’s in applied physics from the University of Lisbon.