Irish Firms Secure European Space Agency Funding

Three Irish companies have secured co-funding under the European Space Agency's Earth Observation Programme, with a collective value of over €1.5million.

The announcement comes as Minister John Halligan leads eight Enterprise Ireland supported companies and seven public bodies on a visit to ESRIN, the European Space Agency's (ESA) centre for Earth Observation. The visit is focused upon maximising business opportunities for Irish companies and driving greater awareness of ESA's Earth Observation programme, and the opportunities it presents, among public bodies.

During this visit, Minister Halligan announced the ESA funding support. Two of the firms secured the co-funding through Ireland's investment in the InCubed programme, which supports industry to develop new commercial Earth Observation based products by providing rapid co-funding.

mBryonics, a Galway based company which specialise in photonics, has secured co-funding of €800,000 under ESA's InCubed programme to support the development of a software defined optical transport network to deliver very high throughput Earth Observation data downloads. The system addresses the issue of cloud blockage that has previously prevented reliable high capacity optical data downlinks. The project aims to validate hardware and software for the commercial roll out of an optical network service.

A second company, Skytek, has achieved co-funding under ESA's InCubed programme for €470,000. Building on their Marine Aggregate Tool (MAT), Skytek received InCubed funding support to develop an advanced application to allow insurers to assess the real time scale of cargo in ports, hence, enabling them to effectively manage risks. The application is based on advanced analytic techniques such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Davra, Dublin, has also secured 50 percent co-funding for a €570,000 project to develop an integrated satellite and distributed ground sensor system to monitor mining Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs) in remote locations.

Minister Halligan congratulated the companies on their success: "I am delighted to be announcing more contracts between Irish companies and the European Space Agency. I am particularly pleased that these contracts will support our companies to strengthen their capabilities in the field of Earth Observation, enabling us to achieve the goals of Ireland's National Space Strategy for Enterprise, 2019-2025, in addition to supporting the aims of Future Jobs Ireland, which places a focus on embracing innovation and technological change, transitioning to a low carbon economy and developing talent and enhancing skills in areas including big data analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence."

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