19th February 2018
Minister Halligan announces the development of a Space Strategy for Enterprise with a dedicated focus on commercial enterprise activity
Irish firm developing space technology announces €2.6m contract
The Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, has announced the development of Ireland’s first national Space Strategy for Enterprise by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The Strategy will set out how Ireland can maximise the benefit of its investment in the European Space Agency (ESA) and in the European Union’s (EU) flagship space programmes, Copernicus, Galileo and Horizon 2020.
The Minister made this announcement at InnaLabs headquarters in Blanchardstown, a technology company which today also announced its biggest contract to date with ESA.
A steering group will be established in the coming weeks to oversee the development of the Space Strategy. This will include a consultation process to seek views from interested parties on how Ireland can best exploit opportunities in the space enterprise sector. Making the announcement, Minister Halligan said “The space sector is undergoing a significant and rapid transformation. It’s evolving from a sector where activities are funded purely by governments to one that relies more on private investments to fund commercial activities.
More than sixty Irish companies are currently benefiting from contracts with ESA, with five new companies expected to enter the sector each year between now and 2020. Employment in Irish companies which benefit from ESA contracts is expected to double from 2,000 in 2014 to over 4,500 in 2020. By developing this Strategy, the Department will ensure that companies already working in this sector can expand, and that opportunities for new entrants are identified. The Strategy will also seek to identify and explore potential synergies with other sectors, such as ICT and Aerospace.”
One of the Irish companies working in the space sector, InnaLabs, today announced a €2.6m contract with ESA. The objective of the contract is to design, develop, manufacture and test a highly reliable radiation-hardened 3-axis gyroscope used for measuring angular velocity or maintaining orientation of satellites. While the initial opportunity is for science mission applications, the technology will serve a large spectrum of commercial space activities including Earth observation, communications and navigation satellites. InnaLabs’ gyroscope cutting edge technology is also applied in a wide range of terrestrial applications such as air transportation, autonomous vehicles, marine, civil engineering projects, rail transportation systems and the oil and gas industries.
This contract follows the successful completion by InnaLabs of ESA space projects worth €980k that was secured after an Enterprise Ireland trade mission to ESA’s main technology development and test facility, ESTEC, in The Netherlands in 2017.
Welcoming the news Minister Halligan said “Today’s announcement is yet another example of the growing number of Irish companies benefitting from Ireland’s membership of ESA. Through our continued investment in the European Space Agency and with the support of my Department and Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s space sector will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Speaking about InnaLabs’ success, CEO of InnaLabs John O’Leary said “We are delighted to announce this contract with ESA which validates our products internationally and gives us the opportunity to offer our CVG technology to the space market segment. We are also pleased to learn that a national Space Strategy for Enterprise is under development. We believe this will be an invaluable resource for Ireland to continue to succeed in the space sector, but also to facilitate Irish companies to expand into related commercial markets following ESA validation.”
Welcoming the announcement, Gearóid Mooney, Divisional Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s Research and Innovation Business Unit, said “the InnaLabs contract is further evidence of the growing capabilities of Irish firms to develop high performance and high reliability technologies for the global space market, with the support of the European Space Agency”.
The steering group for the Space Strategy for Enterprise will set out details about the process for producing the strategy when it meets in the coming weeks. This will include details about the public consultation that it will organise and which will be accessible on the websites of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact:
Press Office, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
23 Kildare Street
Tel: +353 1 631 2200
Notes to the Editor
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an international organisation, comprised of 22 Member States. ESA works to coordinate the financial and intellectual resources of its Member States in order to undertake programmes and activities beyond the capabilities of any single European country. ESA’s mission is to shape the development of Europe’s Space capability and ensure that investment in Space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. Investment into ESA works on the basis or geographical return. Essentially, the amount Ireland invests in ESA Irish companies will receive back in contracts. Ireland joined ESA in 1975.
For more information on the ESA, visit: www.esa.int
The Copernicus programme is the European Union’s earth observation programme, coordinated by the European Commission. The development of the observation infrastructure is performed under the aegis of the European Space Agency for the Space component and of the European Environment Agency and the Member States for the in-situ component. Copernicus has been specifically designed to meet user requirements. Through satellite and in situ observations, the services deliver near-real-time data on a global level which can also be used for local and regional needs, to help better understand the planet and sustainably manage the environment. Ireland recently signed an agreement with ESA, providing access to near-real time earth observation data.
For more information on Copernicus, visit: www.copernicus.eu
The Galileo Programme is also coordinated and managed by the European Commission. It is the European Union’s Global Satellite Navigation System. Galileo provides accurate positioning and timing information. It is a programme under civilian control and its data can be used for a broad range of applications. Currently, data is derived from a constellation of 18 satellites.
For more information on Galileo, visit: www.gsa.europa.eu
Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the European Union’s Framework for Research and Innovation, offering nearly €80 billion in funding between 2014 and 2020. H2020 acts as the financial instrument to implement the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative. By implementing the Innovation Union, H2020 aims to secure Europe’s global competitiveness by fostering more breakthroughs and discoveries, in addition to achieving excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. Within H2020 there is a dedicated space programme as part of the Industrial Leadership pillar.
For more information on Horizon 2020, visit: www.ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020
Back to Department News