Irish minister commends InCubed contribution to entrepreneurial space sector

During a visit yesterday to ESA’s ESRIN establishment, the Irish National Delegation to ESA took a tour of Φ-lab and discussed the importance of the ESA InCubed programme. The day’s schedule also included the signing of a contract for the InCubed-supported PROTELUM activity.

The Irish Delegation was received yesterday at ESRIN by Simonetta Cheli, Director of Earth Observation Programmes and head of the establishment. The visitors were given a tour of the site’s facilities and participated in a number of sessions covering ESA’s Earth observation (EO) programmes, Ireland’s space policy and technical discussions with the Earth Observation Directorate management team.

The tour featured a visit to Φ-lab, where Division Head Giuseppe Borghi explained the lab’s mission and highlighted some of its flagship programmes. Φ-lab’s focus on transformational innovation in commercial EO was a key theme of the day, with a number of managers from Irish space-sector businesses among the guests. Several of these companies have benefited directly from Φ-lab support with the co-funding of development activities through InCubed.

“Ireland has a strong tradition of entrepreneurship in many sectors and, as our industry representatives showed during the visit to ESRIN, New Space is no exception,” commented Damien English TD, Irish Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail. “We continue to be impressed by the work that Φ-lab and its InCubed programme are doing in nurturing private-sector Research and Development in Earth observation. It is enabling Irish companies to realise their potential by accelerating the commercialisation of their products and services, which is a key deliverable highlighted in Ireland’s National Space Strategy for Enterprise.”

One such InCubed initiative is the PROTELUM activity, which was launched yesterday at a signing ceremony during the visit. Developed by Dublin-based Davra, PROTELUM is a management tool for the ongoing compliance assessment and monitoring of mining sites. The platform will cover the entire mining life cycle and will enable operators and regulators to continually identify safety risks, both underground and at the surface. The solution will apply analytical methods to data from sources such as industrial Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, EO satellites and drones in order to provide actionable insights and predictive modelling.

County Cork’s Treemetrics also attended the event and gave a brief overview of its Satforcert product in one of the technical sessions. Satforcert uses EO-derived data in combination with Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) to create more efficient and transparent processes for sustainable forest management certification. Currently enjoying its second stint of InCubed co-funding, the product has successfully completed end-user validation and is now being expanded to include features related to forest carbon storage and credits.

Other InCubed-supported companies present during the visit included mBryonics, Skytek, TechWorks Marine and Icon Geo.

Simonetta Cheli added: “It has been a pleasure to welcome the Irish Delegation today in what has been an extremely fruitful exchange of ideas on the current status and future direction of European Earth observation. The contribution from industry partners has been particularly stimulating, with for example Davra and Treemetrics both demonstrating how commercial EO can contribute to sustainable development by providing vital monitoring tools. We are therefore delighted to support the PROTELUM and Satforcert initiatives through the ESA InCubed programme.”

To know more: ESA InCubed, Davra, Treemetrics, mBryonics, Skytek, TechWorks Marine, Icon Geo